Less than one year on from the launch of Galileo Initial Services (IS) in December 2016, the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC) near Madrid was the venue for the very first Galileo User Assembly jointly organised by the European Commission and the European GNSS Agency (GSA). During this highly successful gathering of the Galileo community, the European GNSS User Consultation Platform (UCP) was officially launched to provide an open forum for users to discuss their needs, share experiences and provide feedback on the performance of European GNSS (EGNSS).
The First Galileo User Assembly was held on 28 and 29 November at the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC). Established within the secure site of Spain’s INTA (Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial) close to Madrid, the GSC welcomed more than 200 of Galileo users and stakeholders from all market segments and involved institutions.
In his opening speech Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director of the GSA, said the Assembly and the inauguration of the UCP marked a very special milestone for the Galileo programme: “The User Consultation Platform demonstrates the maturity of the programme,” he said before adding “Galileo is here and performing well.”
The UCP was introduced by Gian-Gherardo Calini, Head of Market Development at the GSA. “The UCP will have very high value and importance for all users and the Galileo community as a whole – creating concrete benefits for all,” he said. “Galileo and EGNOS must work in a user driven environment and interaction with users is imperative for the success of the programmes.”
The key concept of the UCP is to bring together as wide a range of users as possible in order to ensure that the community defines the strongest possible set of Position, Navigation, and Time (PNT) user requirements in their specific market segments. The UCP also allows users to share information on needs and market trends, and builds a strong and sustainable platform to exchange user perspectives.
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Linking space to user needs
“This will ensure that the GSA is truly fulfilling its mission to link space to user needs,” Calini concluded.
Fiammetta Diani of the GSA introduced the main working sessions of the UCP. She described how the Galileo User Requirements documentation is intended to serve as a reference for E-GNSS developments, emphasising that these were “living, dynamic documents”.
The main work of the UCP took place through nine parallel workshop sessions grouping users by market segment. The transport sector was split into four segments: Rail, Road, Maritime and Aviation. Professional and High Precision users were divided in three sessions: Agriculture, Surveying and Timing. In addition, one large group was convened for Mass Market and consumer applications and a specific session discussed issues around Research and Development.
Each session was given a set of tasks to complete and nominated a chairperson or spokesperson to report back to a final plenary session.
The topics tackled by each group included discussing and validating the user requirements for their market area or thematic topic, providing inputs to enhance EGNSS services both in general and specifically in their area, providing feedback on GSC user support, and identifying specific R&D priorities by market segment.
On the afternoon of 29 November, the nominated chairs reported back on the conclusions from the nine thematic sessions providing a substantial amount of ideas and input for the GSA team to work with.
Three panellists - Gian Gherardo Calini and Aitor Alvarez Rodriguez, GSC Coordinator, for GSA and María de las Flores Diaz Pulido for the European Commission commented on the presentations. At the end of the session each panellist was presented with a CD containing the User Requirements Documents.
All feedback will be considered and was recorded in comprehensive minutes of the meeting for all nine thematic sessions. The minutes will be distributed to the participants at the UCP along with the full set of presentations delivered at the event.
This information will feed a review of the EGNSS User Requirements Documents that will be shared widely during Q1 of 2018. At the 2018 UCP the GSA will report back on the implementation status of all the agreed actions.
Concluding the final session Justyna Redelkiewicz Musial from the GSA accurately commented that the atmosphere of the first UCP was that of a true family gathering. “This is just the start of the dialogue,” she said. “We can improve, and we look forward to the second UCP in 2018 with even more users and the wider community.”
This first UCP was clearly a success with all participants contributing in a truly collaborative and enthusiastic manner to ensure Galileo and other EGNSS can deliver substantial benefits and opportunities to society.
See you in 2018!
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