EUSPA launches EGNOS Safety of Life Assisted Service

April 9, 2024  - By
Image: EUSPA

Image: EUSPA

The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), Europe’s regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS), has added Safety of Life Assisted Service (ESMAS) for maritime users. 

 Designed to complement ground-based augmented signals, ESMAS aims to add a layer of protection against GNSS signal errors while increasing signal accuracy and ensuring integrity. 

 While GNSS remains the primary means of obtaining positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) information while at sea, users in the maritime realm generally employ augmentation services provided by ground-based technologies such as Differential Global Navigation Satellite System (DGNSS), which correct GNSS errors to provide more accurate positioning information. 

ESMAS is delivered via existing EGNOS space-based and ground-based facilities and does not require any additional infrastructure. It is well-positioned to support navigation on the open sea and in coastal waters, covering harbor approaches and entrances. 

 ESMAS is provided openly and is accessible without any direct charge. It is available via all satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) enabled GNSS receivers developed following International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. With such a receiver, users can navigate with increased accuracy and get GNSS error warnings. 

EGNOS also interfaces with NAVAREA coordinators to provide timely maritime safety information (MSI), including navigation warnings and other urgent safety-related messages that are broadcast to ships through conventional channels. 

According to Rodrigo da CostaDa Costa, EUSPA executive director, ESMAS is targeted towards aiding merchant vessels, but it is also available to all other SOLAS-conforming vessels from EU Member member States states and EGNOS contributing countries, including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Unlike other EGNOS services — which are delivered by European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP) under contract with EUSPA, ESMAS is to be delivered directly by EUSPA.