Monday, 22 February 2010

Why Galileo?

Together with the American GPS, the Russian Glonass and other future newcomers, Galileo will provide more precise and reliable positioning and timing signals to citizens in Europe and around the globe.

Precision : High precision will come from the technological characteristics of the system, as well as the number of satellites. From most locations, six to eight satellites will always be visible, allowing positions to be determined up to within a few centimetres.

Availability/Coverage : The high number of satellites will also improve the availability of the service in high rise cities, where buildings can obstruct signals from satellites that are low on the horizon. Thanks to the location and inclination of the satellites, Galileo will also achieve a better coverage at high latitudes than other systems. This will be particularly interesting for northern Europe, an area not well covered by GPS.

Reliability : An integrity function that will be part of the Safety-of-Life Service will inform the user within a few seconds of a failure of any of the satellites. In addition, the civilian nature of Galileo provides the guarantee to maintain an uninterrupted service. Given the already widespread use of satellite navigation, the implications of an interruption would be huge, jeopardising the efficient running of transport systems but also human safety.

With Galileo, Europe will be able to exploit the opportunities provided by satellite navigation to a much greater extent than currently possible. European receiver manufacturers, application providers and service operators will all benefit from novel business opportunities. European citizens will enjoy more and better applications as well as less traffic congestion and pollution, safer transports and more effective rescue operations. The availability of a European navigation system will also ensure that Europe does not need to rely on other regions, avoiding the economical, social and political risks inherent to such a dependency.

Independent surveys and market forecasting indicate that the expected value of the additional business in receivers, applications and services, of the additional revenues for the space industry and of the positive externalities in terms of public utility will amount to 90 billion euros between 2010 and 2027. This is far greater than the cost of building, operating and maintaining the system and does not take into account the monetary value of European independence in this economically-critical field.

Extract from EU Commission on Transport web site.

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