WalkEGNOS: a social web 2.0 mapping solution generating and leveraging on the brand “EGNOS Powered”
Background & Objectives
In outdoor applications, a critical issue in using GNSS is the availability of reliable maps of routes and paths. Three approaches were taken to deal with this issue: digital maps based on available traditional maps (very inaccurate, not up-to-date); surveys of tracks with geodetic GPS terminals (very expensive); voluntary upload of tracks by users (not validated, not using EGNOS).
Why this project is important for EGNOS/GSA/SatNav?
The WalkEGNOS project will strengthen the use of EGNOS in the outdoor sectors: both leisure and professional, leveraging on all its augmentation services and raising awareness about its potential.
WalkEGNOS aims at creating a solution consisting of a web site, www.walkEGNOS.com, to collect and share routes and tracks acquired by hikers using GPS and a post processing EGNOS/EDAS-based server to post-process raw GPS data supplied by users, measuring the “reliability” of the data provided, and evaluating the quality of tracks. This information will form the core of a section for leisure users with free tracks available, and a section for professional users targeted at private/institutional users requiring security, higher precision and/or additional info.
An aggressive marketing approach will foster the diffusion of EGNOS/EDAS concepts, by offering free low-cost receivers to institutions (e.g. rescue services) in exchange for a certain number of “walks” to reach a critical tracks mass; at the same time, these institutions can profit from WalkEGNOS to map paths of interest to them; an “EGNOS Powered” brand will be promoted via a web community and value added and/or consulting services will be offered to professional users (i.e., map providers, regional/national chapters of mountaineering associations, Civil Protection Agencies, mountain rescue teams, etc.) as a way to generate revenue in addition to the revenue from the consumer segment.
How does it work?
The full exploitation of EGNOS in a mountainous environment requires the tracks to be elaborated by a Post Processing Engine (PPE) by applying EDAS information to the raw data (pseudo-ranges) recorded by the user on the path (using a device with the required capability). The project also foresees the development of a simple device for this purpose. The whole system is based on the WalkEGNOS portal that collects user data, provides them to the PPE and makes available the results.
Increasing awareness about the website and the whole WalkEGNOS system in order to increase the number of tracks in the database.
Work performed & results
The system includes a database containing information on reliable routes that will open new opportunities for high quality leisure/tourist services and will be of great value for search and rescue operations. Organisations entrusted with the maintenance of paths will also profit from this database.
From a scientific perspective, the project will provide an interesting study about the use of Safety of Life information in an environment totally different from the aviation one for which EGNOS was conceived.