Out in Front: Good News for Modern Nav

May 1, 2015  - By

This year’s European Navigation Conference in Bordeaux, France, got underway with “Good news from up there .…”

Galileo’s seventh and eighth satellites launched successfully in late March, the European Space Agency (ESA) plans four more satellites to reach orbit in 2015, and space maneuvers for Galileo 5 and 6 have been completed, with a recovery plan currently under study. ESA happily confirms that satellites 7 and 8 are in good position, under control, and behaving very well.

Fiammetta Diani, deputy head of Market Development for the European GNSS Agency (GSA), followed her keynote opener with “… some good news also from down here.”

Galileo_Ionospheric_Model-WThe GSA has just published a new document on the NeQuick Ionospheric Model to compensate for ionospheric errors on Galileo and other GNSS signals. The document, “European GNSS (Galileo) Open Service Ionospheric Correction Algorithm for Galileo Single Frequency Users,” contains detailed description and results from years of research. NeQuick improves accuracy levels globally when using single-frequency services, even during hyperactive periods of the 11-year solar cycle, according to the GSA. This document gets further discussion in my April GNSS Design & Test e-newsletter column.

The GSA predicts that the installed base of GNSS devices will triple by 2023, with per capita rates of 2.5 in North America, and 2.3 in Europe and Russia. Around the rest of the world, in eight years nearly every person, on average, will possess a GNSS device.

Axelle Pomies of Galileo Services, an association of industry players active in GNSS applications, stressed the need for a comprehensive, assertive industry policy to support the development of EGNOS/Galileo downstream sector, leading to growth, job creation and autonomy for Europe. She previewed the mid-May publication of a draft position paper in this regard, for wide consultation within the European downstream sector. Follow www.galileo-services.org for its first appearance.

Concluding the ENC plenary, Florence Ghiron of Topos Aquitaine, a regional council of satnav and intelligent transport companies in southwest France, focused on opportunities and risks for small-to-medium enterprises. One of her points: the long development paths of public and regulatory policy do not help SMEs grow.

The Galileo Services and Topos Aquitaine presentations receive more lengthy treatment in my online column mentioned above.

Diani and Ghiron closed with a call to return to Bordeaux in October for the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress, themed “Towards Intelligent Mobility: Better Use of Space.” GNSS looks to take a more central role than ever in this far-reaching economic segment. Good news — for us — indeed.

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About the Author: Alan Cameron

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