Fulfilling enhanced Location Accuracy in the Mass-market through Initial GalileO services
Background & Objectives
FLAMINGO (Fulfilling enhanced Location Accuracy in the Mass-market through Initial GalileO services) is a project part funded through the European GNSS Agency, and a collaborative venture comprising key European GNSS organisations, NSL (as lead organization), Telespazio France, University of Nottingham, Rokubun, Thales Alenia Space France, VVA, ECLEXYS and Blue Dot Solutions.
The purpose of FLAMINGO has been to develop the infrastructure, solutions, and services to enable the use of highly accurate and precise GNSS within the mass-market, particularly using Smartphones and IoT devices. High accuracy Smartphone positioning is very much an emerging technology and throughout the 31-month duration of the project, our consortium has kept abreast with the technology changes and accommodated support for the new devices within our solution. We have created a positioning service with enhanced accuracy for Smartphones, lowering accuracy from circa 3 to 10 metres down to 0.5 to 1 metre which enhances user experience, creates new and improved features in location based Apps and allows new Apps to be developed that introduce GNSS into new markets.
Our adventure began with a market analysis, where more than 30 applications were screened based on their maximum market potential and their required horizontal accuracy. Target applications were identified as those requiring a horizontal accuracy between 20 and up to 100 cm and expected market size above 1 million users.
The team then set about the research and development to create an operation service to be used by these applications. Key features were to use existing GNSS formats and protocols and to be readily usable by those who have no prior knowledge of our technologies. We developed and built a hosting and interface server, software to interface with the GNSS measurements in the devices, high accuracy GNSS data products, server and device side positioning engines, and an Application Programming Interface which is the gateway of FLAMINGO to the developers of mass market Apps. Iterative development and testing ensured we met the requirements, albeit when certain conditions related to the operational environment are met.
The FLAMINGO service, solution and potential has been demonstrated to mass market App developers through a series of hackathons and demonstration events. These activities were faced with the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic with many of the workshops and activities changing from face to face to online events. We successfully held a face to face demonstration event in Barcelona and several online localised events, including a dedicated FLAMINGO hackathon, targeting users and potential stakeholders across Europe.
Our consortium are proud to have created the world’s first sub-metre accuracy positioning service for Smartphones and to be the sole and award winning initiative to create first-generation products which the early adopters to this emerging technology are beginning to investigate. When Smartphones with the required GNSS capability become more prolific, the FLAMINGO consortium will be in a good place to exploit the potential as we are known for having the first mover advantage.