Europe’s Spring Season for GNSS

February 26, 2014  - By

EUResidencePermit-WThe hounds of spring are on winter’s traces. As Galileo emerges from its long, cold slumber, the energy of a new constellation radiates through the skies to encourage blossoms across Europe. ESA’s recent declaration of in-orbit validation means the downstream satnav market can now truly get going.

If a lot of demand has yet to be demonstrated, certainly a lot of pioneer applications have been developed, and the pent-up current is about to flow. Witness a plethora of GNSS and geospatial conferences in March, April, May, and June, from Munich to Rotterdam to Geneva to London, and on to Prague. The presentations at these gatherings no longer lean so heavily on academic and technical projections and predictions, but embody real-world applications and actual products. Long awaited, Europe’s GNSS spring has finally sprung.

Brad Parkinson, the chief and original architect of GPS, fittingly kicked off the season this month in London, where he told a UK conference that GNSS needs to be made more robust to ensure worldwide availability of services to users. His concerns over signal availability relate to threats such as the loss of authorized frequency spectrum (implicitly creating licensed jammers), space weather due to hyperactive ionospheric conditions, and deliberate or inadvertent jamming of GNSS signals. Parkinson made his remarks as the keynote speech at GNSS Vulnerabilities and Resilient PNT 2014, hosted by the Royal Institute of Navigation.

Coming up soon, Dr. Parkinson will also deliver the keynote address for the European Navigation Conference on April 15 in the Netherlands — but more on that anon.

Munich Satellite Navigation Summit, Munich, March 25–27

The scene now shifts southward to Bavaria, where the long-running Munich Summit gathers government, financial, industrial, and scientific dignitaries for high-level perspective on all GNSS, certainly with a Galileo emphasis but prominently featuring GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, QZSS, IRNSS, and SBAS.

The technical program of the Munich Satellite Navigation Summit includes a multitude of panel discussions involving invited speakers on further topics such as the legal issues of privacy devices and GNSS re-transmitters, achieving precise point positioning (PPP) on a global scale, the role of other autonomous sensors in future navigation, monitoring of climate and natural disasters, and integrated applications of GNSS and Earth observation.

The summit will also officially open the European Satellite Navigation and provide a parallel track on Copernicus, the European Commission´s Earth observation program.

GPS World’s contributing editor Tony Murfin will file a complete report on the Munich Summit in the inaugural issue of EAGER, the European GNSS and Earth Observation Report. Subscriptions are free to this new quarterly email newsletter at the preceding link.

EAGER will feature news of European industry, agency, and scientific developments in satellite-based positioning, navigation, and timing; geospatial technology; Earth observation from space; digital mapping; and location-based services. EAGER focuses on the EU programs Galileo, EGNOS, and Copernicus along with their applications, but also encompasses European involvement in the other GNSSs and their geospatial applications of all kinds. Knowledgeable reporting from European sources, and interviews with and articles by European GNSS/geospatial community leaders. The latest technologies, launch schedules, applications, equipment, and industry and policy developments.

ENC GNSS 2014, Rotterdam, April 14–17

More than 120 technical papers will be presented at the European Navigation Conference (ENC 2014), under the thematic header Technology, Innovation, Business. As previously mentioned, Bradford Parkinson will deliver one of the two keynotes on “Assured PNT – Assured World Economic Benefits,” joined on the podium by Prof. Erik Theunissen of Delft Technical University, speaking on “So You Think You Are Safe.”

The program continues with a Galileo session, in which ESA will present the latest results of Galileo IOV and future plans for FOC.

Preliminary meetings will be held by the European Maritime Radionavigation Forum (EMRF), the Resilient PNT Forum, EUGIN, IAIN, and European Journal of Navigation. On Tuesday, another kick-off (!!) of the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) 2014 will take place.

The Netherlands Institute of Navigation’s organizing committee chair Jac Spaans (also a long-time Editorial Advisory Board member of this magazine, and furthermore a knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau) is pleased to invite all satnav enthusiasts to the conference, taking place the week before Easter, allowing you to extend your stay and enjoy the tulip fields, the windmills, and other objects of interest in The Netherlands. Host-city Rotterdam, one of the biggest ports in the world, gives proof the Dutch saying, “In Rotterdam they do not sell shirts with long sleeves, because they roll them up anyway.”

Another of GPS World’s contributing editors, Don Jewell, will attend and report on the conference, either in his Defense PNT newsletter in May or as a guest columnist in this GNSS Design & Test newsletter of that month. To be sure, his column will also appear prominently in the second (June) issue of EAGER, the European GNSS and Earth Observation Report. Subscriptions are free to this new quarterly email newsletter at the preceding link.

Geospatial World Forum, Geneva, May 5–9

Geo-World-ForumNow in its sixth edition, the Geospatial World Forum concentrates on geographic information systems (GIS) in mapping, remote sensing, satellite navigation as applied to the electricity sector and energy distribution; architecture, engineering, and construction; sustainable agricultural industrialization; smart cities, municipal management; disaster preparedness and coping, natural hazard monitoring; big data as a competitive business asset, business intelligence, and market analysis; multi-sensor integration for monitoring; geospatial’s role in healthcare; global peace and prosperity; and last but by no means least, in fact probably the most important in our long term, climate change.

If I’m lucky, I’ll make it there myself. Did I mention that coverage will surely feature in EAGER, the European GNSS and Earth Observation Report? Subscriptions are free!

GEO Business 2014, London, May 28–29

Next up on our busy travel schedule — and nothing says an industry is growing like the launch of another new conference — comes GEO Business, primarily an exhibition but also conference featuring industrial training and demonstrations featuring the technology and services used by those working with spatial data.

GEO Business boasts that it was born out of consultation with key industry leaders, and as a result the show is organized in collaboration with the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), The Survey Association (TSA), and the Association for Geographic Information (AGI). This is a joint cooperative event involving major players, both organizational and industrial, in the geospatial community.

Presentations will be given by Leica Geosystems (Mobile GIS), Esri UK, Carlson Software, Fugro (Advanced airborne survey), Trimble, GeoPlace (spatial addressing), Altus Positioning Systems (single- and dual-frequency data collection), Topcon (global-scope monitoring), Spectra Precision, Ordnance Survey (geospatial data management), iXBlue, and others.

GPS World publisher Steve Copley will attend, and you can bet I will lean on him for reportage in the June issue of EAGER, the European GNSS and Earth Observation Report.

By this point, I should start charging a subscription fee to anyone who has failed to sign up for EAGER.

European Space Solutions 2014, Prague, June 11–13


photo: European Space Solutions

Finally, the European Space Solutions conference in Prague has yet to be formally announced by the European GNSS Agency, but a pre-registration page is open.

The 2013 generation of this conference featured sessions on indoor location-based services and solutions, environmental protection, emergency response and disaster management, mobile applications, sustainable energy, road and traffic management, and the future of the Galileo Public Regulated Service, an encrypted navigation service designed to be more resistant to jamming, involuntary interference and spoofing, designated for authorized users.

Tim Reynolds, GPS World’s newest contributing editor, will likely report from Prague on this, as he will from several of the earlier spring shows. Based in Brussels for the last decade-plus, Tim will provide in-depth and up-close perspective on Galileo, Copernicus, and all things Europe connected with space and satellite navigation. His main public forum will be EAGER, the European GNSS and Earth Observation Report, but he will also furnish regular stories for the Navigate! e-newsletter and this one.

Turn on and tune in!

For winter’s rains and ruins are over,

And all the season of snows and sins;

The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins;

And time remember’d is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,

And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

 Algernon Charles Swinburne, 1837–1909

About the Author: Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.