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Joint venture expands SBAS for business development in Africa

July 23, 2021  - By

A team of companies and government agencies is developing satellite services provided by ASECNA’s A-SBAS (Satellite-Based Augmentation System) for Africa and the Indian Ocean. Besides the current SBAS, the joint venture will deliver precise point positioning (PPP, through CNES and Geoflex) and danger warnings for a wide range of applications in Africa.

Working together are the Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd. (NIGCOMSAT) and Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%). The project is backed by Geoflex, a provider of cloud services that deliver improvements to GPS/GNSS applications to achieve positioning accuracy to within 4 centimeters on land, at sea and in the air.

The new SBAS services are expected to aid agriculture and other sectors in Africa. Here,volcanic cinder cones and farming in rich volcanic soils on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. (Photo: iStock/Getty Images Plus)

The new SBAS services are expected to aid agriculture and other sectors in Africa. Here,volcanic cinder cones and farming in rich volcanic soils on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. (Photo: iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Demonstrations

The three partners successfully demonstrated the additional services on July 7 and 8 in Brazzaville, Congo, by calling on the SBAS signal they have broadcast over the Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI) region since September 2020 to provide the first SBAS open service in this part of the world via the NigComSat-1R satellite. This trial follows successful flight demonstrations this year in Lomé in January and Douala in June.

The first demonstration of the special urgent situation warning service via satellite showed the system’s ability to broadcast a warning message via the A-SBAS signal to mobile phones, without requiring a terrestrial network. This service sends a message to the populations concerned, providing information on the type of danger and instructions to be followed.

The second demonstration entailed the transmission of GNSS corrections based on CNES/Geoflex PPP technology and also using the A-SBAS signal. This approach showed the system’s ability to achieve positioning accuracy to within centimeters across the entire African continent.

The new satellite service paves the way for applications in a broad range of sectors, including precision agriculture, land and maritime transport, rail safety, drone navigation, mapping and surveying. The ASECNA SBAS was developed as part of the ‘’SBAS for Africa & Indian Ocean’’ programme as a first step towards providing robust navigation services in the aviation sector.

ASECNA’s 18 Member States are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo.

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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