Maritime Getting Ready for Galileo

08 July 2014

Already an active user of satellite navigation technology – including EGNOS – the maritime sector is warming up for the launch of Galileo Early Services, which will provide even better performance.

Europe’s maritime traffic is increasing and, as a result, its ports and inland waterwaysAccurate and reliable positioning are key elements for a range of satellite systems capable of streamlining port operations, improving safety and protecting maritime environments. are becoming more and more congested. This growth requires new solutions to improve efficiency and safety and minimize the impact that maritime traffic has on the environment.

Satellite-based systems are fundamentally changing maritime navigation. From small sailing boats to super tankers, vessels of all types are now equipped with on-board systems that rely on satellites for positioning. Accurate and reliable positioning are key features for of satellite systems – including EGNOS and Galileo – capable of streamlining port operations, improving safety and protecting maritime environments.

Tailor Made for Maritime Needs

Today, EGNOS is providing the maritime sector with the accurate and reliable positioning it demands. Complementing the existing maritime navigation infrastructure, EGNOS assists vessels in safely navigating through coastal and inland waterways. However, even with the many benefits that EGNOS brings, it is still not being fully exploited.

“We need to formalize the process of using EGNOS and that the mariner clearly understands the benefits of using it,” said Mike Fairbanks of the European Maritime Radionavigation Forum, speaking during the Maritime session at the European Space Solutions Conference in Prague.

To remedy this, future versions of EGNOS will be even further tailored to the maritime sector, taking into consideration the most stringent requirements of marinas and thus making its service offering even more valuable.

“Maritime users are one of the targets for EGNOS evolution,” said FDC’s Emmanuel Schielin. “To meet the sector’s needs, next versions of EGNOS will support navigation applications for harbour entrances, harbour approaches and coastal waters.”

More Capabilities with Galileo

The deployment of Galileo will further enhance positioning accuracy by adding additional satellites to the currently available constellations. “With Galileo, marinas will have even more solutions at their disposal,” said Pedro Lourenco of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

For example, in the case of an emergency at sea, time is of the essence. Galileo, in combination with other GNSS systems, will allow for faster alert localization and message detection, a more precise localization of the distress beacon and higher availability.

Through its Search and Rescue service, Galileo will offer a return link confirming the distress signal was received – which has proven to drastically improve the chances of survival.

Differential GNSS (D-GNSS) provide additional improvements for maritime applications with an additional need of precision.
“The D-Galileo service will be essential for the use of Galileo in many maritime applications,” noted Kongsberg’s Stig Erik Christiansen.

“GNSS is a core maritime technology and, with Galileo added to the system, we will have a global network of multiple GNSS systems capable of providing the corrections needed for the improved accuracy, reliability and availability the sector demands,” concluded Christiansen. 

“We need to formalize the process of using EGNOS so the mariner clearly understands the benefits of using it.”
Mike Fairbanks of the European Maritime Radionavigation Forum


Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website (

More information:

The European GNSS Agency
EGNOS and the Maritime Sector
European Space Solutions Conference 2014

Read more:

Space As A Solution: European Space Solutions 2014 Opens In Prague

Updated: Jul 08, 2014