EGNOS proves its value in Maritime and Inland Waterways

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08 February 2013

A new report demonstrates that EGNOS can deliver the performance required for safe navigation in maritime and inland waterways. The report is based on results from comprehensive testing of the EGNOS service around a variety of ports across Europe. Implementing EGNOS for waterborne navigation can complement existing systems and provide additional benefits.

Applications using EGNOS in the maritime sector can help improve navigation, operations, traffic management and a wide variety of other waterborne services. Now the performance of EGNOS has been verified in a selection of maritime and inland waterway scenarios and presented to industry and national government stakeholders.

The study, commissioned by the European Commission, has compared the performance of EGNOS with incumbent Differential GPS (DGPS) technology. Nine test sites were selected across Europe representing a variety of geographies, port configurations and waterborne traffic situations. These sites varied from Bergen in Norway to Lisbon in Portugal and included Venice, Cologne and Kehl.

The study also developed a possible roadmap for the certification of EGNOS receivers for use in maritime operations – a vital step towards setting international standards for the service.

The equipment tested ranged across the EGNOS receivers available on the market from more expensive ‘high-end’ professional equipment to affordable ‘low-end’ kit for use on leisure craft.

Accurate results

The results analysed for both maritime and inland waterways showed that EGNOS receivers performed very well in all scenarios with the performance of low-end receivers often exceeding expectations. A key element for performance is a good quality antenna.

The trials showed that being able to use the EGNOS ability to provide improved integrity and accuracy enhances the user experience and safety. This is especially so for private craft owners with access to less expensive receivers.

Overall the performance of EGNOS in the tests was recognised as being very good and proved that it meets International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) requirements for coastal navigation in terms of accuracy. In terms of meeting the requirements for the horizontal alert limit EGNOS fulfilled the IMO requirements for navigation zones outside ports.  EGNOS also demonstrated an ability to meet IMO requirements for port navigation in some cases.

A combination of EGNOS with the current IALA (International Association of Marine aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities) beacon system could realise the benefits of both systems where they perform best.

Benefits for all

The study evaluated the benefits of increasing usage of EGNOS in waterborne transport. From an operator’s point of view these include very low or zero investment, improved safety of navigation (especially in restricted waters), potential to exploit regional coverage of EGNOS, the fact that EGNOS is part of a global satellite based augmentation system network and the ability to utilise new EGNOS-enabled applications for tracing and tracking, fleet management, logistics operations and enhanced queuing.

For national authorities and service providers the benefits include the very wide availability of EGNOS-enabled receivers, the fact that automatic identification system (AIS) ground-based infrastructure could transmit EGNOS correction signals, the complementary nature of EGNOS to existing technologies and infrastructure, and the ability of EGNOS to overcome current issues of signal availability in some inland waterways.

A number of recommendations were presented at a dedicated workshop for maritime stakeholders organized at the end of the study on 2nd October 2012. They include the need for the maritime community to propose some clear parameters for EGNOS accuracy requirements and to provide input to EGNOS service operators to further enhance the waterborne user experience. These discussions should consider input from maritime stakeholders to the new version of EGNOS that is scheduled to provide services from 2020.

The details of EGNOS test results can be downloaded below.

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More information:

The European GNSS Agency

EGNOS Portal

EGNOS Maritime Services

Updated: Sep 08, 2014