Intergeo is the place to be for the geodesy, geoinformation and land management sector – and the 2016 edition, taking place in Hamburg, was no exception.
In the world of big data and smart cities, geodata, accurate positioning and location-based services (LBS) are key to enabling the development and implementation of new services to citizens. As such, the two main themes for Intergeo 2016 were digitisation and smart technologies for smart cities.
Among the 160 lecturers addressing these themes during the congress was a session on Trends in Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Positioning, where the European GNSS Agency (GSA) discussed using Galileo’s initial services. The session was chaired by Dr Jahn Cord-Hinrich of LGLN Niedersachsen and included presentations by GSA Market Development Officer Reinhard Blasi, Trimble Terrasat’s Dr Herbert Landau, Leica Geosystems’ Bernhard Richter, and Dr Gerhard Wübbena from Geo++.
Is the geodetic community ready for Galileo?
The GSA began the session by providing a status update on the Galileo programme and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and the future contributions expected from these two European GNSS. With Galileo initial services available by the end of the year and the first launch of four Galileo satellites by an Ariane 5 launcher set for 17 November, Reinhard says the establishment of the full constellation is well under way. He also noted the opening of the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC) – Galileo’s one-stop shop for system users –is reflective of the programme’s user-centric approach.
“The rapid deployment of the constellation signal will place Galileo in a leading position in terms of dual frequency L1/E1-L5/E5, particularly as these Galileo satellite launches are occurring in a period when GPS space vehicles are in the process of being gradually replaced,” says Blasi.
The geodetic community is very appreciative of the high accuracy brought by Galileo´s Commercial Service (CS). The CS is broadcasted from a moving GNSS constellation rather than the traditional geostationary approach (thus increasing continuity and availability, even in in harsh environments). In terms of authentication, either through CS or the Open Service, Galileo will be able to provide confirmation via what is effectively a stamp that shows a signal has not been manipulated.
Other benefits include the possibility that Galileo will play a role in reducing convergence times for precise point positioning (PPP) applications. For real-time kinematics (RTK), the addition of another GNSS constellation will make a big difference, for example in urban canyons and forests.
But is the geodetic community ready for Galileo? According to a recent GSA survey, for the majority, the answer appears to be ‘yes’. For example, 77 % of responding reference networks say they have enough information to integrate Galileo into their systems, while 41 % say they are already fully prepared to use Galileo signals. In total, 78 % of reference networks have plans in hand to upgrade to Galileo by 2017. More information on these findings can be found in the GSA’s recently published GNSS User Technology Report.
Young surveyor says Galileo is outstanding!
A regular feature of Intergeo is the Council of European Geodetic Surveyors’ (CLGE) young surveyor’s award ceremony. Now in its fifth year, the GSA again sponsored an award for student papers involving applications using Galileo, EGNOS or Copernicus signals.
This year’s winner was Cecile Deprez, a PhD student at the University of Liege in Belgium. Cecile’s idea stems from Google’s decision to give Android users access to GNSS code measurements, a move that could bring much greater precision to mass-market applications.
Furthermore, use of the Galileo E5 signal could, in theory, bring decimetre positioning precision into Android user applications. According to Cecile’s research, in general, Galileo signals are more precise than GPS alone.
You can assess the results yourself by visiting the CLGE website where Cecile’s and eight other high-quality papers from this year’s competition are freely available.
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