EGNOS Service Extension to South Africa
Background & Objectives
Africa’s civil aviation community has had a long-running interest in implementing SBAS. In line with the ICAO’s recommendations, Africa’s regional ICAO group, APIRG, agreed on a GNSS Regional Strategy in 2001 that included the introduction of SBAS technologies from 2006 onwards.
The civil aviation community in South Africa has strongly supported the implementation of ISA. At a Potential Investors’ Workshop held in Cairo in February 2006, ATNS South Africa – the company that offers ATC services in South Africa – expressed their interest in implementing and operating a regional ISA hub in Southern Africa.
Very recently it has come to light that initial, reduced EGNOS services are already available over most of the African continent. Following the ICAO Navigation System Panel meeting in October 2008, the idea to extend the RNP 0.3 and/or RNP 0.15 area to the entire footprint of SBAS geo satellites has been debated. This would require modifying the SBAS message so that GPS/SBAS receivers out of the SBAS corrections computed area could take into account available data. GPS integrity data could then be available in the extended area, even if no ionospheric corrections are provided.
Other users’ communities may be also interested in South Africa, notably in maritime, rail, precision farming and surveying.
The overall approach for ESESA is to carry, in parallel, the tasks related on the one hand to the institutional and financial framework (WP 2), and on the other hand to the operational framework (WP 4), with all coordination ensured at ESESA management level (WP 1). These tasks will be fed by EC and ESA inputs and by the consortium’s knowledge of the EGNOS institutional background in Africa, as well as market, economic and institutional information provided by the CSIR (Partner No. 4).
Within these activities it is necessary to dedicate significant effort to improve the adherence of GNSS stakeholders in South Africa and SADC to the EGNOS extension with market and benefits analysis and cost-benefit analysis for the aviation community which will strengthen the institutional and financial plan, and with EGNOS training activities for service providers’ staff who need a deeper knowledge of the EGNOS system and operations to better apprehend the operational framework. The RIMS sites survey will be a practical step towards the implementation of infrastructure.
To improve awareness of EGNOS and Galileo programmes and to support the market uptake and the necessary networking with local GNSS stakeholders, a third activity focusing on networking and dissemination (WP 3) will be used as a promotion vector and an exchange and validation tool.
The key objective of ESESA is to provide the EU and South African authorities with an overall service implementation plan for the initial extension of EGNOS services to Southern Africa (SADC), including a roadmap, an action plan and recommendations. The four main objectives are:
- to elaborate an institutional and financial framework taking account of the market perspectives, and a cost-benefit analysis for aviation in SADC and surrounding pan-African issues;
- to set up an operational framework able to safely sustain the service provision;
- to undertake an efficient networking with GNSS stakeholders (users’ communities, potential service providers and investors, regulatory authorities, etc.) in order to improve their awareness and adherence to GNSS applications, as well as to validate an EGNOS service provision scheme that could be easily implemented;
- to conduct preparatory actions to the implementation in order to provide the basic system knowledge to actors who will operate the infrastructure and to carry out the site survey of the RIMS to be deployed.
As a side objective regarding EGNOS service extension projects for the African continent, ESESA will look at relaying the EC’s strong signals to the GNSS market and stakeholders showing the Southern African case as an incentive for the other African regions.
Work performed & results
The ESESA project, when completed, will allow the following results to be made available to European and South African stakeholders:
- market knowledge and civil aviation cost-benefit analysis for the SADC;
- institutional and financial options for EGNOS service implementation;
- organisation of the EGNOS service provision in South Africa, with views on the regional service provision;
- initial implementation activities completed (staff training, RIMS site surveys)
- users’ communities feedback;
- overall roadmap for EGNOS service implementation.
Regarding the potential impact of ESESA, the EGNOS implementation in South Africa would represent a kick start for implementing regional systems elsewhere in Africa. As well as the civil aviation sector benefitting from EGNOS, other sectors in South Africa and SADC may experience significant improvements. The availability of an EGNOS signal is key for the initial development or improvement of GNSS applications. While the South African civil aviation community is the most prepared to start EGNOS, the rail, maritime, surveying and precision agriculture sectors will take advantage of this new service as soon as it available in in the country.