Article of the Month - May 2022

EU Space Programmes for Geomatics

Maria RUIZ MOLINA, Teresa MARTINEZ RECHE, Ana SENADO GARCÍA, Eduard ESCALONA, Spain
Eduard Escalona
(EUSPA)
Ana Senado
(Galileo)
Maria Ruiz
(EGNOS)
  Teresa Martinez (Copernicus)

This article in .pdf-format (27 pages)

This article provides an overview about the EU Space Programmes Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus, their synergies and applications for geomatics' users. This article will be presented at the FIG Congress 2022 in Warsaw, Poland.

SUMMARY

The evolution of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) into the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) sets the start of a new era for EU Space. EUSPA will create even more opportunities for EU citizens and the economy, in particular by leveraging synergies between the space programme components on the downstream market, especially for GNSS and Earth observation, playing a key role in the development of downstream applications.
This article provides an overview about the EU Space Programmes Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus, their synergies and applications for geomatics’ users.

2. Galileo

2.1 What is Galileo

Galileo is the European Global Navigation Satellite System (EGNSS) that provides satellite positioning services worldwide. The Galileo system was designed focusing on the civil citizens, making it independent from military entities and allowing the provision of a full range of services that ease the development of multiple applications at user level.

Galileo is currently providing three different services: Galileo Open Service (OS) and Galileo Search and Rescue (SAR), which are accessible to civil users, and the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) which is delivered to governmental and authorized users.

2.2  Galileo Services

Galileo Open Service (OS)

Galileo OS is a free of charge positioning and timing service available worldwide. Galileo OS offers the Galileo OS Ranging Service, allowing users to estimate their distance to the satellite, the Galileo OS UTC Time Determination Service, providing with a direct and accurate access to Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) and the Galileo OS Positioning Service which allows Galileo receivers to estimate their position through combination of ranging and timing measurements.

Galileo provides ranging signals in three different frequency bands, enabling single- and dual- frequency positioning for users equipped with suitable receivers. The receivers may be single frequency (SF) or double frequency (DF). SF receivers extract navigation information from any of the three frequencies (E1, E5a and E5b) while a DF receiver extracts information from a combination of E1 and E5a or E1 and E5b. A DF solution allows compensation of the ionospheric errors, thus provides better performance to the user. How the receiver understands the Galileo OS signals is explained in the Galileo OS Signal In Space Interface Control Document (OS SIS ICD).

Figure 1: Galileo OS positioning and timing service

Galileo Search and Rescue (SAR)

Galileo offers a significant contribution to the Search and Rescue service (SAR), an international life-saving service managed by COSPAS-SARSAT. Contribution from Galileo to SAR service is twofold. In the first place, Galileo satellites re-transmit distress alert signals from SAR beacons to the corresponding rescue centers in ground. This is crucial for a fast detection of distress beacons.

On the second place, with the Galileo Return link service, Galileo will also provide a return signal, letting people know that their signal has been received. This acknowledge message reduces the stress of people while they wait for the rescue team.

 

Figure 2: Galileo contribution to COSPAS-SARSAT

2.3 Future Galileo Services

Once fully deployed, Galileo will offer two new services: Galileo Open Service Navigation Message Authentication (OSNMA), which will allow users to authenticate Galileo navigation messages and Galileo High Accuracy Service (HAS), which will offer orbit and clock corrections to be processed by users‘ receivers and obtain decimeter accuracies.

2.4 Galileo in Geomatics

Geomatics professionals are already benefitting from using EGNSS in a multi-constellation and multi-frequency environment, providing higher availability, continuity and better results in harsh conditions. This is the result of new developments in receiver technologies, evolution in terms of price and usability and proliferation of augmentation services which are diverse, accurate and profitable.

The stringent accuracy demands across the various surveying applications such as land surveying (cadastral, construction and mine), mapping and marine surveying (marine cadastre, hydrographic and offshore surveys) benefit from the proliferation of high accuracy GNSS-based solutions.  This is due to the number of differential correction networks/services and the increased affordability of high-accuracy receivers. The future Galileo HAS- which will target decimetre-level accuracy-will be a good candidate to cover accuracy demand on applications such as GIS and mapping.

2.5  Success stories

Below there is an example of projects where EGNSS, and in particular Galileo, is a key enabler to develop innovative applications:

3. EGNOS

3.1 What is EGNOS

EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is the European regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) which provides corrections and integrity information to GPS signals. Although it was initially designed for aviation, it has proved to be useful in other markets such as geomatics, maritime and agriculture.

EGNOS provides three services offering different performances adapted to satisfy each user´s requirements. Geomatics activities can benefit from both the EGNOS Open Service (OS) and EGNOS Data Access Service (EDAS) while the EGNOS Safety of Life Service provides integrity and it is tailored to safety-critical transport applications.

3.2 EGNOS Services

The EGNOS Open Service is accessible free-of-charge in Europe to any user equipped with an appropriate GPS/SBAS compatible receiver for which no specific receiver certification is required. Neither a base station nor internet connection is needed, just access to the EGNOS Signal in Space.

The next picture shows an example of the values of the EGNOS Open Service accuracy in Europe, measured at Ranging Integrity Monitoring Stations (RIMS) during 6 months. HPE refers to the Horizontal Position Error and, as it can be seen, it is common to reach sub-metric accuracies (expressed as 95% percentile) when using EGNOS.

Source: EGNOS Open Service (OS) Service Definition Document

In particular, EDAS provides ground-based access to EGNOS data through a collection of services. The most common services in geomatics are:

Source: EDAS DGNSS Coverage Map

3.3 EGNOS Visibility Maps

EGNOS is available over all Europe, but the terrain orography and artificial obstacles such as high buildings could affect the visibility of EGNOS geostationary satellites broadcasting the GPS corrections. In order to support the users to identify EGNOS “shadow areas”, the EGNOS Visibility Maps allow visualizing natural and urban areas where there is no visibility of one or both EGNOS operational geostationary satellites.

Source: EGNOS Visibility Maps (left on country side, right on urban environment)

3.4 EGNOS in Geomatics

GNSS is a key enabler for geomatics applications which involve the geo-data collection means and techniques used in land surveying (including cadastral, construction, mining or infrastructure monitoring), photogrammetry, remote sensing, marine surveying and other emerging applications, such as those based on drones or mobile mapping.  

EGNOS in particular may support geospatial data acquisition in those scenarios in open space, with sub metric accuracy requirements and without internet access. That is the case of the following applications in geomatics:

To sum up, the main advantages of EGNOS in geomatics are:

3.5 Succes stories

There are many success stories which evidence the benefits of EGNOS. Some examples are detailed below.

Source: EGNOS User Support Website

4. COPERNICUS

4.1 What is Copernicus

Copernicus, previously known as Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), is the European Union's Earth observation programme coordinated and managed by the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), the EU Member States and EU agencies.

One of the main goals of EUSPA is to foster the use of EU space technologies. In particular, for Copernicus, EUSPA will focus on increasing the downstream market uptake of Copernicus, leveraging the synergies with the European Navigation Satellite Systems (EGNSS), Galileo and EGNOS.

The main objective of Copernicus is to achieve a global, continuous, autonomous, high quality and large amount of reliable and up to date information on the status of our planet. Copernicus observes the environment, collects, stores, analyses data and provides products to enable effective decision-making. The data are analysed in a way that generate indicators useful for researchers and end users providing information on past, present and future trends. Therefore, Copernicus contributes to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.

The vast majority of data delivered by Copernicus is made available and accessible to any citizen, and any organisation around the world on a free, full, and open basis, delivering 20 terabytes per day of data and information.

4.2 Components of Copernicus

The implementation of the programme is under the responsibility of the European Commission for its three components: Space, Services and In-situ.

Source: ESA

 

Source: Copernicus Services

Source: Copernicus In SItu

   

4.3 Access to data

There are different points to access Copernicus data.

DIAS ("Data and Information Access Services") are five new access points available to users. All DIAS platforms provide access to Copernicus Sentinel data, as well as to the information products from the six operational services of Copernicus, together with cloud-based tools (open source and/or on a pay-per-use basis)

Source: Copernicus Access Data

4.4 Applications of Copernicus: synergies with EGNSS

The wide availability of EO data has led to increased opportunities in different markets. The opportunities could be divided in different Copernicus sectors and can be explored in the Copernicus_market_report_2019 .

 

The main Copernicus applications in mapping and surveying activities are:

Although there are applications that uses Copernicus or EGNSS individually, there are already a number of applications that already use both,  integrated as a whole, adding value to users.

On the one hand, Copernicus often needs its data georeferenced by GNSS, and on the other hand, typical GNSS applications can be complemented with imagery and maps to provide context information.

In particular, below it is presented some graphic examples that show how Copernicus and EGNSS contribute to mapping and surveying applications:

4.5 Success stories of Copernicus and EGNSS

There are already some examples that show the benefits of the combined use of Copernicus and EGNSS. They are detailed below:

Source: European GNSS Service Centre

Source: EGNOS User Support Website

5. Conclusions

6. REFERENCES

https://www.euspa.europa.eu/
https://www.gsc-europa.eu/
https://egnos-user-support.essp-sas.eu/new_egnos_ops/
https://www.euspa.europa.eu/european-space/copernicus/what-copernicus
https://www.copernicus.eu/en

7. BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES and CONTACTS

Eduard Escalona Zorita, from EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), PhD, is Space Downstream Market Officer at EUSPA since 2019 contributing to the downstream market development of Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus. Dr. Escalona obtained his MSc and PhD degrees in telecommunications engineering from the Polytechnical University of Catalonia (UPC). He is co‐author of over 70 scientific articles in topics related to Future Internet architectures and services.

Ana Senado García, from Galileo Service Centre, is Telecommunications Engineer from the University of Alcalá (Spain) with about 8 years of experience in the positioning technology sector (GNSS), in particular, EGNOS and Galileo. Currently, her main activities are related to Galileo service provision, Galileo system evolutions and improvement of Galileo services to users. She has worked in transport sector, specifically aviation and maritime. She is currently working on the promotion and adoption of Galileo services (Open Service and Search and Rescue Service) as well as preparing for the provision of future services (Galileo High Accuracy Service and Open Service Navigation Message Authentication service).

Maria Ruiz Molina, from EGNOS Service Provider holds a Master´s degree in Telecommunications Engineering by the Technical University of Madrid (Spain). She has been working for more than ten years in R&D European programmes, initially in the aviation sector, contributing to SESAR programme and afterwards in GNSS. Since 2017 she has been working at the EGNOS Service Provider in aviation domain and currently in agriculture and geomatics.

Teresa Martinez Reche, from EGNOS Service Provider is Degree in Physics by University of Granada (Spain) with postgraduates studies in Earth Observation (EO). Teresa has worked as Technical Manager in Remote Sensing and Cartography projects. Currently she is working for the EGNOS Service Provider, in the frame of the EGNOS Service Adoption contract for the European Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), focused in Agriculture and Geomatics market segments. The main activities are to promote the adoption of EGNOS and assist its users in the use of EGNOS, as well as to promote synergies between EGNOS and Copernicus among potential interested users

Contacts

https://egnos-user-support.essp-sas.eu/
https://www.gsc-europa.eu/


©2022 FIG