The GSA recently showcased the many benefits that European GNSS – EGNOS and Galileo– bring to the mapping and surveying sector during INTERGEO 2015 – one of the leading international trade fairs in surveying and geo-information.
At this year’s edition, held in Stuttgart, Germany, the GSA shared a stand with the European Space Agency (ESA), COPERNICUS, and a number of innovative companies.
Speaking at a workshop during the congress, GSA Market Development Officer Reinhard Blasi emphasized the benefits of European GNSS (E-GNSS) in general, with particular emphasis on surveying applications. Referring to the GSA’s 2015 GNSS Market Report, which shows surveying accounting for 4.5% of the projected E-GNSS market from 2013-2023, he noted the sector represents a major opportunity for the GSA. For example, 50% of all GNSS receivers currently on the global market are Galileo-enabled, with 45% of receivers being equipped for all GNSS constellations.
The market will be heavily influenced by rapid urbanisation in emerging countries, and the need for construction and surveying activities across the globe. According GSA Market Development Innovation Officer Alina Hriscu, construction in Asia-Pacific and North America will drive E-GNSS growth. Moreover, the reduction of GNSS receiver prices and increases in accuracy are transforming mapping into more accessible activities – which also contributes to growth in the GNSS market.
Commitment to the End User
According to Blasi, it is a priority to maximise the return on the investment in E-GNSS by the European Union, understood in terms of benefits to users and industry competitiveness. “This means matching design and enabling services to users’ needs,” he said.
This commitment to user needs is particularly prevalent in the surveying sector, where the use of E-GNSS brings improvement in many parameters. Those needs are mostly covered and met by GALILEO Open Service (OS) and Commercial Service (CS).
Watch This: EGNOS for Mapping
The Open Service, which will be free of charge for all users, will feature excellent positioning and timing performance. Benefits will include easier mitigation of multipath errors, higher signal-to-noise ratio, improved coverage at high latitudes, better results in such harsh environments as urban canyons and tree canopies and enhanced protection against spoofing attacks.
The Commercial Service, on the other hand, is dedicated to high precision applications and will additionally provide the first ever GNSS spreading code encryption for purely civil purposes. CS High Accuracy (CS-HA) will deliver corrections via Galileo E6 across the globe (PPP- precise point positioning) for cm-level positioning precision for applications across all segments, and is comparable to differential positioning techniques. Moreover, CS-HA will offer triple frequency, enabling faster convergence time for surveying applications and accuracy comparable to RTK. Users can also benefit from CS Authentication service, which allows for an increase to the civil security of professional applications. This addition provides a level of trust to users, assuring them that they are tracking signals and data from actual satellites and not from any other source (anti-spoofing).
Blasi moreover underlined that the Galileo E6b signal will be unencrypted, which brings new opportunities for trilaning – or choice for a 3rd frequency – further improving positioning accuracy without augmentation and bringing greater reliability.
The GSA also highlighted that E-GNSS can be used in synergy with Copernicus data, as they are complementary for a wide range of applications across different segments. For example, measurements of Ground Control Points with GNSS equipment support the geo-referencing process of Copernicus data, resulting in more accurate maps. Another example can be found in agriculture, where Copernicus Earth Observation data can serve as input for VRT (Variable Rate Technology) ‘’application maps’’ for fertilisers and/or pesticides, and E-GNSS indicates locate the areas in the field where the applications needs to be used. Many other examples cover the road, maritime, energy and emergency and disaster risk management segments.
Around the Exhibition
INTERGEO serves as the ideal platform for networking and sharing knowledge with this important sector. “The event is the most important geospatial event in Europe, and maybe even worldwide,” said Hriscu. “It’s a global who’s who of geospatial, with key leading industries exhibiting and exchanging experiences in the many workshops.”
This is a sentiment shared by many exhibiting companies. “We are excited to return to INTERGEO and share our comprehensive portfolio of solutions with geospatial professionals from around the world,” said Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollén. “This event offers a great platform to speak face-to-face and learn how we can best support the end-users, while also discussing current trends affecting the industry.”
Hexagon and its company Leica Geosystems were promoting several E-GNSS enabled products during the event.
Javad, another company exhibiting at INTERGEO, was displaying several versions of its Triumph receivers. “When located in difficult environments, all GNSS receivers are prone to give bad fixed solutions that may appear to be acceptable if they are not verified,” explains company representative Matt Johnson. “Existing methods to verify GNSS solutions include ‘dumping’ the receiver, turning it upside down to cause the RTK engines to reset, and re-observing the point at a later time. Our Triumph receivers, which track all satellite systems, including Galileo, automate these processes with its built-in software features of Verify and Validate.”
Javad Ashjaee, president and CEO of JAVAD, also shared his views with the GSA on the future of GNSS technology trends. His views will be reflected in the upcoming GSA GNSS Market Report, along with inputs from other leading GNSS receiver manufacturers.
In addition to the multitude of companies exhibiting at INTERGEO, numerous government organisations were also present, as well as members of the media and related services. As a central point of the 2015 edition of INTERGEO were Unmanned Arial Systems (UAS) and their many applications for the surveying and mapping sector for data collection, analysis and applications. For example, the GSA-funded H2020 project mapKITE uses a UAS and a terrestrial vehicle to develop an end-to-end solution for 3-D high-resolution corridor mapping.
The GSA took advantage of the event to proactively approach end-users to fill in the questionnaire that will be used to help the GSA better understand user needs and E-GNSS readiness. The final results of this survey will be published soon on the GSA website – stay tuned!
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