The Galileo Application Village was a success with the public during Galileo Application Days (GAD) that took place in Brussels in early March.
Camped out around the public esplanade beside the Commission’s Berlaymont building were some 32 cutting-edge location-based applications funded through various European Commission, European Space Agency, and national and regional initiatives. The weather was sunny, if cool, and the Village welcomed a large number of interested members of the public as well as participants of the conference.
In welcoming delegates to the main conference, Pedro Pedreira, Executive Director of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA), described the Application Village as allowing the event to “break through the walls of the conference room to show the citizens, the taxpayers, what benefits GNSS satellite applications can bring.”
The Village was officially opened by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, on the afternoon of 3 March. Tajani visited a number of the exhibits, including the PERNASVIP project where he experienced for himself how visually impaired citizens can be helped to guide themselves using a high-precision satellite navigation device that provided vocal instructions.
The Village was also the venue for the second European Galileo Concert on the evening of 4 March. Concert pianist Elena Misirkova performed compositions from Chopin, Pirchner and Nikolovski while delegates and the public were kept warm with hot glühwein and other refreshments during the concert and networking reception.
The Application Village was divided into six themed zones to illustrate the wide range of location-based services and systems being developed for use in various aspects of our everyday life.
The zones covered applications on the Road, in the City, in the Port or at sea, in your Neighbourhood, Outdoors and on the Farm.
The Road theme demonstrated a variety of projects, including GSW’s simulation of its intelligent speed adaptation solution. Visitors were able to experiment with a prototype to measure their speed, earn points and get a prize when operates within the speed limit.
The SIGNATURE project team demonstrated their road user charging system using EGNOS. Visitors were able to see measurements displayed that show the more precise performance of GPS when augmented by EGNOS.
The SATELLIC project focused on applying satellite navigation to solve congestion and greenhouse gas emissions issues by helping drivers use their cars more efficiently and burn less fuel at the same time. GALAPAGOS presented its satellite navigation logistics application for tracking containers, while the MENTORE/SCUTUM project showed how it could make roads safer by tracking dangerous goods in real time.
A particular innovation for the global traveller is the mobile TaxiPal application, which puts users in touch with trusted taxi companies wherever they are in the world.
Coupling information with satellite navigation
In the City section, the OPTI-TRANS project showed how citizens can navigate efficiently across major European cities using various modes of public and private transport. The project brings together information from public transport authorities and also private vehicle owners who are prepared to share their journey with travellers.
Meanwhile, iOpener presented a challenge to those who dared to test their driving skills using the virtual racing game. Using a gaming console, iOpener simulated racing against real drivers in real time at the stand.
The ImaGeo, Mobzili projects all showed variations on how location-based services can build and bring information about tourist sites, services and shopping – and much more – to mobile phone users as and when they need it.
Another project demonstrated a Galileo-enabled mobile environment monitoring system for urban pollution detection. The TIGER demo involved a token that only allows access to a computer in certain locations and detects any attempts at spoofing the navigation signal.
PUNCHBYTE-G-DIAG leveraged satellite navigation to allow companies to track staff doing maintenance and inspection work. OSMOGRAFO provided a solution to assist search and rescue dogs and their handlers by mapping the dogs’ range of smell – and their coverage area – in real time.
Making a splash!
A particularly popular demonstration and exhibit in the Port area, next to the European Maritime Safety Agency’s booth, was the Sci-Tech POB (Person Over Board) System – overall winner of the European Satetlltie Navigation Competion, the 'Galileo Masters' as well as the GSA Special Topic Prize for the 'most promising EGNOS Application' in 2008.
Live demonstrations of the POB system showed how a crew overboard alarm was activated when a member of the Sci-Tech team wearing the device was plunged into the cold water of the Village’s model ‘port’. Using an EGNOS-enabled device, the system can accurately track the person overboard to quickly retrieve the luckless crew member.
The Sci-Tech team were very enthusiastic about the Application Village concept. “Being in the Village helped us meet some extremely interesting contacts,” said David Lewin of Sci-Tech. “A number of industry people came to see us who could be very useful for the next stage of the commercial development of our system.”
The knowledge that the project would be demonstrating in the village also ensured that project deadlines were met. “The fact that we had to have a working prototype of the system in order to be able to ‘show and tell’ in Brussels certainly focused our minds,” explained Lewin.
The Neighbourhood focused on applications to help the vulnerable people in society. IEGLO-MODIS and AiperCare examined looked at systems to remotely monitor elderly people, while INCLUSION showed how satnav technology can improve the autonomy of wheelchair users.
The LIVELINE demonstration looked at tracking vulnerable people – both old and young – with a combination of advanced satellite navigation and a social networking website. Visitors were able to track a representative family group as they moved around the Berlaymont area.
The LIVELINE demonstration looked at tracking vulnerable people – the elderly and the very young – by combining advanced satellite navigation on a mobile device communicating information with a social networking website. Visitors were able to track a representative family group played by students as they moved about the Berlaymont area.
“The event was a great opportunity to show the possibilities of the project,” said Wim Lahaye of DKE Aerospace, the project’s coordinator. “The project has only just started, but our demonstration gave visitors a good taste of what we are aiming to achieve.”
Nearby was the European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP), a company based in Toulouse, France and founded by seven European air navigation service providers. ESSP has the contract for the operational management and maintenance of EGNOS and demonstrated how it is developing an EGNOS performance monitoring application to track satellite signals and show performance in real-time.
Mow-by-Sat, demonstrated the use of precision navigation with an autonomous satellite-guided lawn mower.
United Maps, which produces highly detailed, enriched mapping for comprehensive guidance and information provision, demonstrated a ‘Walk & Ride’ application for pedestrians.
Farm and Outdoors
The biggest individual piece of kit on show at the Application Village was an EGNOS-enabled tractor developed by the CLAAS company. This massive, state-of-the-art machine can be remotely guided with a precision of 15 to 30 cms enabling farmers to reduce the use of agrichemicals. Also in the farm area, AGRISTA showed its online platform for the delivery of production finance to farmers in emerging economies. The platform enables farmers to store their maps and farm data online and connects them with suppliers in their region.
Applications for the outdoors featured an Avalanche Rescue Navigator (ARN) to help locate victims. The GALILEOCAST booth demonstrated how the project is collecting positioning data from migrating birds and processing it for supplementing high resolution local weather forecasts.
Two applications using mini-helicopters (CENALO) and (CLOSESEARCH) showed how “eyes in the sky” combined with accurate positioning can help in search and rescue operations and other critical situations.
Finally SportsCurve showed how satellite technology can help skiers, cyclists, runners and other outdoors enthusiasts keep track of their performance in real-time.
Galileo Application Days, held on 3-5 March, kicked off this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC). The event was hosted by the European Commission and organised by the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA) and the Application Centre for Satellite Navigation in Oberpfaffenhofen, the managing organisation for ESNC. It was sponsored by the European Space Agency's Technology Transfer Programme.
The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), Europe’s first venture into satellite navigation, improves the accuracy of the open public service offered by the USA’s Global Positioning System (GPS). Galileo, a global navigation satellite system being developed by the EU, is scheduled to be operational by 2014.
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