The 2011 Munich Satellite Navigation Summit featured concise updates on main activities in worldwide GNSS, including GPS, Glonass, China's Compass and Europe's EGNOS and Galileo programmes.
"Understanding the needs of our users is one of our primary tasks at this point in time," said GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. "But we also have to be sure that those users also understand EGNOS and Galileo, the new services and applications and that they are ready to take full advantage of them. This is why we are fostering a close dialog with user markets and working to support new ideas and applications."
Other bases being covered by the GSA, explained des Dorides, include market development, identifying potential new users, updating EGNOS and Galileo security policies, threats and vulnerabilities analysis, and risk assessment; and supporting the exploitation and commercialisation of the programmes.
Among the recent success stories for European GNSS, says des Dorides, is the completion of the EU-funded 'Progress' project, developing new guidelines and standards for Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) receivers. "The GSA has been given the responsibility for all security aspects of the future Galileo system," he said, "including the Galileo Security Centre, security accreditation, and the preparation and launch of the PRS."
Developments across the globe
One of the very clear trends apparent at the Summit is the drive towards compatibility and interoperability among all of the world's satellite navigation systems. Bernie Gruber, Director of the GPS Directorate, Space and Missile Systems, US Air Force Space Command, expressed satisfaction at how GPS services, once reserved for US military users, now encompass the globe. "GPS is currently undergoing significant modernisation," he explained. "Moving towards the 'next generation' GPS-III, our aim is improving accuracy and decreasing errors. It is truly amazing to see how this thing has developed – today, we are working together with 53 international partners, and our government continues to be committed to no selective access. This is an open system and it will remain so for all civil and commercial users everywhere."
Meanwhile, the Russian Glonass system is also undergoing a revitalisation. "We have had some setbacks," admitted Sergey Revnivykh of The Russian federal Space Agnecy, Roscosmos, referring to a 2010 launch failure, "but we have also seen a five-fold increase in accuracy in the past three years and Glonass now covers more than 90% of the globe. Our system is available, it is accurate, reliable and robust, and we have strong political backing."
The Russian government, said Revnivykh, sees GNSS as a key area for international co-operation. "Glonass will serve military, civil and commercial users, free of charge. It is to be part of the world GNSS system, fully compatible and interoperable."
China's emerging satellite navigation system, Compass, is also making progress. According to Yang Dongkai of China's Satellite Navigation Office, Compass is a free and open system that also includes an authorised service. It is compatible with other worldwide systems, with a current accuracy of about 10 metres. Yang cited several co-operative meeting with international GNSS partners. "China sees this as a strategic emerging industry," he said.
Michel Bosco, Deputy Head of Unit in charge of Satellite Navigation International Relations at the European Commission, Directorate for Industry and Entrepreneurship, also highlighted the importance of not working in isolation: "Among the major challenges today is managing relations with other GNSS systems – and what we've been hearing at this meeting only confirms this."
Bosco then laid out recent milestones achieved by EGNOS, including the launch of the Safety-of-Life service for aviation, and by Galileo, including the certification of the service provider ESSP, contracts signed for a number of key Galileo work packages and progress on ground and space-based elements.
EGNOS is now
Another key achievement for EGNOS was the recent announcement by the French government that an EGNOS-enabled road tolling scheme has won the Eco Tax Heavy Goods Vehicle project. Giuseppe Viriglio of Telespazio cited the announcement as evidence that EGNOS is moving from the theoretical to the exploitation phase. "And we can say the same thing about its aviation services," he added. "With the Safety-of-Life signal now operational, we are ready to see EGNOS applications moving out of the pilot phase and into operation in real cases."