"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, September 07, 2006

EGNOS - EU wide pinpoint GPS data and the Tour de France

The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is Europe’s first venture into satellite navigation. It sits alongside the US GPS and Russian GLONASS systems and physically consists of 3 geostationary satellites and a network of ground stations.(see final illustration)

EGNOS is a precursor to Galileo, the full global satellite navigation system under joint development by European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission (EC) and Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation.

It comprises a network of around 40 ground stations distributed throughout Europe to record, adjust and improve data from the American GPS system. By calculating and transmitting a signal containing information on the reliability and accuracy of the positioning signals sent out by the US GPS and the Rusian GLONASS it enables users to determine their position to better than 2m compared with about 20 m at present - and with guaranteed signal quality.


The principal objective when Galileo is fully functional is an independent European system which is not reliant on third party (US / Russian) satellite systems.

As such commercial markets are seen in providing aircraft navigation in increasingly crowded skies - a doubling of commercial airliners is expected in 20 years. The potential for fuel savings, improvements in safety and reducing unecessary air and ground movements could save many millions of Euros.

Mercantile fleets can expect benefits as Galileo augments current maritime radio beacons providing improved navigational aids / traffic and port managment / safety and casualty analysis plus an aid to increasing offshore mineral / gas / oil exploration and exploitation as well as fisheries control.

EGNOS is seem to be a major factor in managing European surface transport, road / rail / and inland waterways. Precise location of vehicles and assets aid and improve commercial companies but also emergency services

EGNOS can also be a good tool for Road Management including virtual tolling, Highway emergency alerts and so on. A major plus is seen eventually that EGNOS together with Galileo will form the key to a pan-European electronic road toll system.

EGNOS can aid control over farming payments, border security,(see previous story about immigration control at EU borders - FRONTEX) blind pedestrians, and as a European independent alternative to all the uses of GPS positiong tools for leisure activities such as hiking, sailing and climbing. EGNOS will also be able to broadcast a reliable time standard with unprecedented accuracy.

Unlike GPS, it will of course be a commercial enterprise - the US view the system with jaundiced eyes because they currently enjoy a monopoly. Which they can disrupt at will or reconfigure so that only it's encrypted military signals can be used. The US are also very apprehensive about it's sale to China.


As a showcase the Tour de France has been used this year to exhibit the accuracy and use of the signals.

Riders in the Tour de France were tracked by EGNOS. This is the 3rd year that the European Space Agency has been involved in tests of satellite localisation during the Tour de France.

This year, the trials took place over 2 of the tour’s stages: the 18th – descending from Morzine, in the Alps, to Macon, in Bourgogne, and the 19th – a time-trial between Le Creusot and Montceau-les-Mines.

20 cyclists (including the first 15 in the listings) wore jerseys incorporating a 95 grams transceiver, receiving positional / time data from satellites and relaying them for processing by a computer in The Netherlands.

Using this data, Dutch company Sport-Track, which is developing the tracking software, and Trimaran of France, who specialise in the production of 3D images could provide an on screen real time display of the race positions.(must see)

The paradox is that all this hi-tech drama gave a live view of American Floyd Landis take the yellow from Spaniard Oscar Pereiro and Germany’s Andreas Kloden grab second place from Carlos Sastre of Spain. We now know that this incredible performance by Landis was helped by drugs.

Pic is Floyd Landis approaching Montceau-les-Mines.

The elements that make up the EGNOS system include:

RIMS (Ranging and Integrity Monitoring Stations) which pick up GPS signals,
MCCs (Master Control Centres) to process the data delivered by the RIMS and uplink stations which send the signal to three geostationary satellites to then relay it back to users on the ground.
NLESs (Navigation Land Earth Stations) Units that transmit the calculated time/ position data locally.
Deployments so far include all MCCs, all Navigation Land Earth Stations (NLESs) and 31 of the 34 RIMS.(CLICK ON MAP TO VIEW ENLARGED VERSION)


Anonymous said...

"Thus, for the US, GPS are a form of sovereignty! It is hardly surprising, then, that the EU has proposed its own GPS in order to be able to localise and to compete with the American GPS. As I have said before, sovereignty no longer resides in the territory itself, but in the control of the territory. And localisation is an inherent part of that territorial control. As I pointed out in The Art of the Motor and elsewhere, from now on we need two watches: a wristwatch to tell us what time it is and a GPS watch to tell us what space it is!" Paul Virilio

ziz said...

Fascinating link - link to Shadrach Woods etc., but that Badrillard stuff ...oh my!!!

Anonymous said...

I make sense of Baudrillard by re-phrasing what he says to something like, 'for the vast majority of people on this planet the Gulf war only took place on television. It wasn't real for them, it had no discernible impact upon their lives.'

ziz said...

Many thanks ... and Ditto Gulf War Mk II. Afghan War Marks I and II, although the TV images from the latter are a bit sparse in this neck of the world.

Given the current interest in shutting down Al Arabiya in Baghdad, it won't be long before the moving (in more senses than one) images from from Iraq become less frequent and more controlled.

I must apologise to Ms. Baudrillard for spelling her name wrong.

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish