The EU-funded TestCase project has delivered a web-based interface, GSTI (GNSS Simulation and Testing Infrastructure), which delivers key support to anybody involved in the testing of GNSS equipment or applications.
GSTI provides access to detailed information about testing tools or infrastructure, including location, technical features, conditions of use, typical use cases and points of contact. It is a free service open to anyone.
"Today, expectations are higher than ever regarding the performance of GNSS technologies," says Eric Guyader, project officer at European Commission in charge of the initiative. "User needs are increasing, which generates more demanding specifications at the development stage, but the multiplication of navigation signals and frequencies means technology validation or application testing has also become more complex."
Guyader says increasing complexity also underlines the need to ensure interoperability between various GNSS elements, and to ensure that available satellite signals are used in combination to the best advantage.
With new GNSS signals and constellations set to arrive in the coming years, featuring new services and improved performance, the EU, through projects like Testcase, is hoping to promote access to new tools and facilities that reproduce the use environment or replicate signals, to support the European GNSS downstream industry.
"Until recently," says Guyader, "the developers of new GNSS technologies have had to rely almost exclusively on the only presently active open signals, the American GPS and Russia's Glonass. Now, with the emergence of several other constellations, the portfolio of tools and simulation equipment has grown to satisfy a more diverse set of user needs. It is therefore important that we do everything possible to help technology- and application-developers find the most appropriate tools, and that we support the development of a new generation of simulation tools."
The main aims of the GSTI platform are to:
- Provide European users with simplified access to GNSS testing services
- Enhance communication and coordination of actors, i.e. users, GNSS centres, etc.
- Manage dynamically all available information on European GNSS testing facilities
- Provide a web-based helpdesk service
- Provide a hosting platform for publicly owned GNSS analysis and simulation tools
The GSTI database provides an open window to all existing testing capacities in Europe. A helpdesk provides general or user-specific advice and recommendations on testing issues, e.g. which testing strategies and tools are best suited to the user's needs. A discussion platform is also featured, where users can exchange views and share experiences, and where working groups can provide analyses and conclusions on specific subjects of particular interest to users, e.g. standards, models, missing functions. Additionally, software simulation tools are also available for download.