On the real Galileo benefits

Satellite Navigation cannot improve with just one system. No matter how well GPS has worked so far it is becoming antiquated and could be surpassed in terms of signals in space by GLONASS in the very near future. It is VERY difficult for any user community to have ANY impact on any decision in the GPS program, noted by the continued delays in the GPS III decisions and funding. How many comittes are there advising or supervising GPS?! and who has the final say …

There are good reasons for some of these GPS III delays and management complications, but lets face it for the past 20 yrs we have had the same signal, very similar spacecraft and a slowly improving mission control which has finally improved the navigation message when at the IGS we were doing it years before.

I am not complaining at all I love GPS and all the people that have made it happen but it is stuck and only thanks to Galileo being approved has real movement started to happen.

I am also confused by articles such as this from the Editors of GPSworld (Out in Front ) I like GPSworld very much and I like the article but come on, so Galileo is not exactly better than the GPS of the future in all its claims!! get a life … I am convinced we would probably NOT have a GPS of the future if Galileo had not been started.

The benefits of Galileo come from other places:

  1. It reduces the pressure on GPS and promotes healthy competition.
  2. It helps to push GPS stakeholders “to stay ahead” of Galileo developments, otherwise we would live in a C1, L1, L2, P2, P1 world for how much longer?
  3. It allows others to develop capabilities complementary to the ones in the US. In the long run having both continents with competent professionals and capable companies helps the overall climate of cooperation and understanding. Pretending GPS can solve all future problems leads us to a terrible state monopoly situation.
  4. Galileo will provide integrity for ALL constellations, after the EGNOS project Europe is a key player in both GPS and GLONASS integrity algorithms so we can get integrity for all from one signal. I doubt GPS or GLONASS would do the same now or in the future.
  5. We have already done it in Europe! following the models of INMARSAT, EUTELSAT and EUMETSAT we have already created large multi-national satellite operators at first fully dependant on ESA for technology and national governments for funding and control and later independent and even completely private. Galileo will follow this same model and all the better for it.

The Galileo discussion always has to be put in the context of what GPS is actually doing and as long as GPS III and Galileo developments are close to each other both projects will be OK. They will push each other through some tough financial and technical challenges ahead. In the end no-one will develop huge new mass-market applications until both systems offer similar levels of service so that redundancy is at a maximum.

Happy Positioning!

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