Celebrating the GNSS surveying community

20 March 2020
Users in the geomatics community are already very aware of the benefits that EGNSS offers.
Users in the geomatics community are already very aware of the benefits that EGNSS offers.

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) joins the 2020 Global Surveyors Day, to celebrate the men and women of the surveying profession and their valuable work across a wide range of geomatics applications including land surveying (cadastral, construction, mapping and GIS, mining and infrastructure monitoring) and offshore surveying. The surveying industry and community have been an early adopter of Galileo and EGNOS leveraging on the high-precision positioning to develop new services and applications. 

The geomatics community has always supported and trusted the European GNSS, and this is confirmed by the gradual penetration of Galileo in GNSS receivers for surveying and mapping. Currently around 55% of GNSS surveying receivers already support Galileo and around 90% are EGNOS-enabled. Moreover, most RTK providers in Europe have already upgraded to Galileo or are starting to do so, and major PPP and PPP-RTK providers are following their example.

The 2019 GSA GNSS Market Report highlights the benefits of GNSS for the geomatics community, noting that geomatics professionals already benefit from EGNSS in a multi-constellation environment, where it provides higher availability, continuity, reliability and better results in harsh conditions. 

Watch this: EGNOS and Galileo for Mapping

“Geomatics is a key user segment for EGNSS, in which the added accuracy and reliability that Galileo and EGNOS bring to the table are a key driver of innovative services and solutions,” said GSA Head of Market Development Fiammetta Diani. “We are working continuously with this user community to understand their needs and requirements, so we can ensure that future EGNSS evolutions adequately reflect these needs,” she said.

Research and development

A number of Horizon 2020-funded research projects aim to harness the benefits of EGNSS in targeted geomatics solutions. One such project is GIMS, which is building an advanced low-cost system based on EGNSS, Copernicus Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and other in-situ sensors to monitor ground deformations, with a focus on landslides and subsidence. 

The project’s goal is to provide detailed and timely knowledge of the geophysical behaviour of parts of the Earth surface, and its impact on structures, in order to prevent injury to the public in the event of landslides, for instance, and to better plan preventative maintenance. The system will report deformations with millimetre-level accuracy and the integration of in-situ accelerometers will give real-time alerts in case of sudden movements. 

Another project, GISCAD-OV, covers the entire cadastral value chain and aims to design, develop and validate an innovative and cost-effective High Accuracy Service (HAS) for Cadastral Surveying applications, based on GPS+Galileo E6 HAS and Precise Point Positioning-Ambiguity Resolution (PPP-AR) quick convergence techniques. 

It will achieve this by upgrading commercial GNSS receivers for decoding and applying Galileo E6 corrections and integrating them into the PPP solution. It will also use PPP-RTK Multiple Constellation and Multiple Carrier Ambiguity Resolution and instantaneous fixing, along with cost effective solutions using low-cost augmentation services and receivers, paving the way for “Smartphone Surveying”.

Success stories

While ongoing research is set to deliver some exciting developments for the geomatics community, EGNSS is already being successfully used in the sector. One success story is at Eustream, the operator of a high-pressure gas transmission system in the Slovak Republic. The company operates gas pipelines with an overall length of 2,273 km, which are regularly inspected. The operator’s field operators use handheld GNSS devices to directly locate specific pipes with the required precision.

Read this: Galileo and EGNOS: supporting effective disaster management

“Our pipelines are routed through rural areas and there are sites with no GPRS coverage. EGNOS helps us to achieve the required precision and fulfil our task even without Internet connection,” said Branislav Reťkovský, head of Eustream’s GIS department. “For us, EGNOS means a reliable, open and free-of-charge back-up solution that brings confidence to our land survey practice,” he said.

The Portuguese Cycling Federation is also aware of the benefits that EGNOS has to offer and has recommended the use of EGNOS for the creation of cycling tracks and marking of paths, thanks to the higher-precision geolocation it offers, in its Regulation for the Homologation of cycling routes and ‘Cyclin’ Portugal’ Centres”.

Engaging with stakeholders

The GSA engages in a systematic process of consultation with the surveying community, and based on this consultation, it produces The Report on Surveying User Needs and Requirements, which can be downloaded here.

On the occasion of Global Surveyors Day, the GSA would like to congratulate the men and women of the surveying profession. We thank you for your dedicated service and we look forward to our ongoing mutually-beneficial cooperation in the future.

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

Updated: Mar 21, 2020