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Communications United States

EU and US Agree on Galileo 201

An anonymous reader writes "The EU and USA have reached an agreement over the Galileo satellite positioning system, ending several years of negotiations." We had some good Galileo information in a story last month.
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EU and US Agree on Galileo

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    to add more layers of foil to your hats folks!
  • Its about time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:29PM (#9496904) Homepage
    It's about time that the US give up on what was clearly becoming an impossible task: stopping the surge of demand for high accuracy civilian GPS. Kudos to them for reaching an agreement. :)
    • Re:Its about time (Score:3, Interesting)

      by justanyone ( 308934 )
      You touch on some issues:

      1. I believe (according to the article) the goal of US policy is preventing radio frequency (technical) interference with existing US GPS frequencies. These High Accuracy signals are separate from the main civilian ones and carry info that increases the signals' accuracy.
      2. The assertion that US policy is to restrict availability of high accuracy civilian-available positioning devices is not mentioned in the article. However, I believe you are probably correct. High accuracy c
    • by pbox ( 146337 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:28PM (#9497624) Journal
      "Under the terms of the agreement, the two sides agreed on key points including:
      • a common signal structure for so-called "open" services, and a suitable signal structure for the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS).
      • a process allowing improvements, either jointly or individually, of the baseline signal structures in order to further improve performances.
      • confirmation of inter-operable time and standards to facilitate the joint use of GPS and Galileo."

      Now I am 100% sure that the above in plain Engrish just says: US is happy announce that they already have the technology to effectively suppress and/or interfere with the Galileo signals, so now these Franch bastard can proceed.
    • Re:Its about time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:55PM (#9497978) Homepage
      Kudos to them for reaching an agreement. :)

      Bah. The entire spat was the US (my government) bitching about wanting control high resolution signals for military use and being able to shut down or jam the normal public signals.

      The US failed to stop the EU from putting up their own system, but did get the EU to "compromize" by redesigning the system the way the US wanted - to be a clone of the US design. That way the US and EU can either agree and both shut off the public signal or the non-encrypted public singnal can be unilaterally JAMMED.

      It was never about preventing interference or improving features of the public signal. Why the hell would you need to pressure the EU to "compromise" about improving the the system?

      -
  • Why duplication? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Omega1045 ( 584264 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:31PM (#9496924)
    After ReadingTFA and looking at some of the past stuff on this issue, there is still not a clear reason (at least for me) to duplicate GPS. Why does Europe want to spend all that money? Couldn't they put up other sats with the money, like Internet, etc? Is it just a control thing i.e. the EU doesn't want to be at the mercy of the US on this (wouldn't blame them)?
    • by Damiano ( 113039 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:34PM (#9496961)
      The base reason is that US wants the ability to turn off civilain GPS when they want to. If Europe puts up a system that US doesn't have control over than turning off GPS becomes useless and they lose )what they believe to be) a tactical advantage.
      • The base reason is that US wants the ability to turn off civilain GPS when they want to. If Europe puts up a system that US doesn't have control over than turning off GPS becomes useless and they lose )what they believe to be) a tactical advantage.

        I wouldn't be too surprised if signal degradation as reuqested by US officials were part of the current agreement.
        • It is, the US gets the ability to degrade Galileos signal whenever they want, and Galileos owners dont get any such access to the US GPS system. Whey to fucking go, Europe!

        • I wouldn't be too surprised if signal degradation as reuqested by US officials were part of the current agreement.


          That was my thought as well... But if it was, why would they be going ahead with the duplication? What sort of compromised was reached? I wish we could find that out. Of course, some sort of ratification process would be necessary if it was legally binding, and this would open it up to public scrutiny. Then I re-read the article....

          As far as I can tell, they are looking at interop stand
    • Re:Why duplication? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Mondak ( 775074 )
      ....US State Department official told reporters, calling the deal a "landmark" accord that would reap "profound benefits" for both the United States and Europe in the highly competitive satellite positioning market. I am having trouble figuring out how this market is highly competitive. There is one system today and it is free to use. Where is the competition? I don't understand this official's point of view.
    • GPS is not accurate enough for some critical operations like automated boats and trains.

      And IIRC GPS is less accurate in Europ than in US.
    • Is it just a control thing i.e. the EU doesn't want to be at the mercy of the US on this (wouldn't blame them)?

      Correct. The US will gladly shut down civilian GPS in case of some "national emergency" so it wouldn't be used against them. If the US ever goes to war with the EU then they will need their own GPS to defend themselves with.
      • <joke>
        Why do you need a GPS to surrender?
        </joke>
        • So you can make sure you're really in France!
      • by gsfprez ( 27403 ) *
        if you think the US will gladly let anyone build a world-wide targeting system that anyone (North Korea, China, Iran, etc) can use at will, then you're dellusional.

        You don't know the whole story. I guarantee it.

        Besides - who's going to be able to build a guaranteed system [computerworld.com]? If you think the Euros can, then you're just fooling yourself further.
        • most intersting: which countries are - according to you - likely aggressors. Has any of them fight you (or an ally) in the past?
        • by Anonymous Coward
          You're double-stupid.

          First, the EU has no interest in giving the 'bad guy' nations an advantage. Simply put, these 'bad guy' nations already know that civilian GPS can be disabled at a moments notice and they would assume the same about this new GPS. Ergo, they would totally ignore any GPS guided munitions and go with the dozen or so other guidance methods out there.

          Second, regarding that article you posted, GPS jammers are totally useless in a war. Here are the two scenarios you'll see with them in us
    • Re:Why duplication? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Clinoti ( 696723 ) * on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:39PM (#9497039)
      Politically, the EU despite it's slow start and setbacks is stepping up in it's own right as blocks of countries merge to become a formidable competitor/ally/balance for the U.S.

      Having them rely on an outside source for GPS, Military or other electronic systems places the disadvantage in their court. Also remember the havoc that went on in the EU when the US switched GPS channels for Iraq? Germany's reliance on the GPS system for their Mercedes cars were thrown off kilter for a bit.

      Having read the article, I wonder what the 'open' system will be like? Competition is the friend of all technology, so hopefully we will benefit rather than have 1cm rfid's. :) We will see. -eol

    • Re:Why duplication? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pixel_K ( 717294 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:50PM (#9497183)
      No they can't "just put up other sats".
      - The sats have to be daily checked and correted by people on earth, like giving to each sat the positions of others sats ( this information is transmitted to the GPS receiver, to know how much sats it should be able to "see" ). This need a common agreement and cooperation.
      - Signals must not overlaps or corrupt other signals ( not as easy as it seems, the usable frequency window is quite narrow ).
      - the EU Gallileo will be free for personal use. You must pay a fixed fee ( payed when you pruchase the receiver ) to use the US GPS
      - USA can decide at ANY TIME to reduce the precision of the GPS signal delivered to cityzens in any zone ( by a ratio of 1 to 100 ) making it totally useless.
      - GPS sats become older and older, their lifespan is limited and a few should be replaced ( 27 are needed to give a good global coverage, some of the ones in the sky are not fully functionnal anymore ). It would be a good time to change a few ( some don't even got a good ol' cesium atomic clock ).
      - Galileo will provide more different levels of precision than GPS with different prices and secured and garanteed precisions for the most expensive ones.
      • You didn't get my comment. The point was that the money could be spent on, say, communication satellites instead.
      • Re:Why duplication? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BitterOak ( 537666 )
        You must pay a fixed fee ( payed when you pruchase the receiver ) to use the US GPS

        Care to provide a reference for this assertion? Any documentation I've read says the civilian bands are free for anyone to use.

    • by Stack_13 ( 619071 )
      Being dependant on another nations goodwill on the accuracy of your navigation is most likely the primary reason for Galileo system . Granted, most of the EU is headed NATO way - but things may change, relationships can get cooler etc. EU wants to keep its options open.

      Another goal is to generate new EU aerospace and tech business. Wildest estimates are around $10bn of revenue per year, growing to $300bn by 2020 [theregister.co.uk]

    • Satellite positioning networks have many applications, but most of them are military. They are used to guide cruise missiles and modern smart bombs, they are used to coordinate air-strikes and artillery barrages. A modern armed force would be quite stuck without this technology. While it is not likely that there will be a war between any European country and the US any time soon, relations between these two areas have become fairly shaky of late. Many right wing US politicians denounce the French and German
    • Try the same issue in reverse. Assuming that you are an American, would you want France or Germany to control the only GPS system in the world? Sure, they are your friends, but still.

      What I don't understand is why the European Union even cares what the US thinks. We're the ones paying for the bloody thing, don't tell us how to spend our money. The US don't seem to care much about the opinions of the EU, why should we care what you think? Just build Galileo as originaly planned, it's not like we don't know
  • by mfh ( 56 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:33PM (#9496949) Homepage Journal
    "We have reached completion of a GPS-Galileo cooperation agreement," a US State Department official told reporters, calling the deal a "landmark" accord that would reap "profound benefits" for both the United States and Europe in the highly competitive satellite positioning market.

    Let me first say that it's nice to see the USA cooperating with Europe, but I have to wonder how much Blair's involvement in the Iraq war had to do with this agreement. Either way, it's nice to see the USA and other countries (like France) getting along.

    - a common signal structure for so-called "open" services, and a suitable signal structure for the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS).

    This should be nice to see at work. I'd like to hear more about those open services, and what they will be exactly.

    - a process allowing improvements, either jointly or individually, of the baseline signal structures in order to further improve performances.

    Nice feature of the agreement. I think this will benefit all involved if nobody tries to improve their side into incompatibility.

    - confirmation of inter-operable time and standards to facilitate the joint use of GPS and Galileo.

    Does this mean they'll use the UNIX timestamp, with micro time enabled? Or is this something else entirely?

    All in all, this almost appears like these governments are using the Open Source philosophy, or at least a small part of it. Hey, any step towards progress sounds great to me!
    • Micro time? Nano time would be more fun. :) (And provide the potential for much better accuracy.)
    • Doesnt the Unix timestamp run out of space sometime in the next 30 years? I think it would be stupid to put up a system that dies a death in just 30 years, I mean the GPS system has been going for 20 years now, 30 years would be nothing.
    • Let me first say that it's nice to see the USA cooperating with Europe, but I have to wonder how much Blair's involvement in the Iraq war had to do with this agreement. Either way, it's nice to see the USA and other countries (like France) getting along.

      I can assure you that it is not in the spirit of friendship that the US is cooperating. Galileo gives potential US adversaries like China assured precision weapons guidance. Since the US cannot prevent the system from being created it only makes sense

    • Let me first say that it's nice to see the USA cooperating with Europe

      You mean bullying Europe.

      "- a common signal structure for so-called 'open' services, and a suitable signal structure for the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS)."
      This should be nice to see at work. I'd like to hear more about those open services, and what they will be exactly.


      Like the EU was opposed to any of that? No, that's not what they had to "compromise" about. It was about stuff like the Public Regulated Service - a complet
  • by vg30e ( 779871 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:34PM (#9496955)
    As different systems evolve, maybe we will see more devices hit the civilian market and prices drop, which could mean a win-win for all consumers.
    • GPS equipment prices have been dropping already, many cell phones include it for emergency location.

      However, GPS has never been a subscription service, so having an additional system will only increase the cost of intergrating the new system. If anything this may temporally increase the price of GPS/Galileo equipement, as some manufacturers will try to build dual compatability. I predict that over the short term Galileo will be considered a commerical failure as it is commercially unneeded. It was built

  • Win-win scenario (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zeux ( 129034 ) * on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:34PM (#9496956)
    It's a win-win scenario because Galileo will greatly improve GPS accuracy and Galileo will benefit from the experience of the GPS system.

    Too bad it took so long to reach an agreement and too bad the US never stopped to criticize a project that they are finally supporting.
    • It's a win-win scenario because Galileo will greatly improve GPS accuracy and Galileo will benefit from the experience of the GPS system.

      Since when was the accuracy of GPS bad
    • it's a win-win scenario because Galileo will greatly improve GPS accuracy and Galileo will benefit from the experience of the GPS system.

      Irony is: the Russian GLONASS system was always more accurate than GPS. Just those guys had a hard time fighting off the huge army of Super Reagans and couldn't implement it fully.
  • End of GPS lockout? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thedillybar ( 677116 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:35PM (#9496978)
    I hope that with the up-and-coming availability of accurate Galileo positioning, the US will finally give away it's "extra accuracy" currently available only through the "encrypted channels" to the US military. They have already moved towards this, but still have some distance to go (literally).

    If people can get very accurate readings with Galileo anyway, where's the problem with supplying GPS at the same level of accuracy?

    • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:37PM (#9497005)
      The "lockout" is already ended. During the first Gulf War, there was such a shortage of military GPS units that soldiers brought their own, and the military bought piles of civilian ones. At the same time, they turned off the intentional perterbatio of the signal, so that all the GPSes would work with the same degree of accuracy.
      • by Azghoul ( 25786 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:45PM (#9497114) Homepage
        While I understand what you're trying to say, you're not entirely correct.

        The "lockout" is known as selective availability (SA) and has been shut off since 1996 or so, not "at the same time" as the first Gulf War.

        However, there is an extra band for military use only (someone else can get the exact details). There are also "survey grade" GPS devices that manage much greater accuracy than your $100 Garmin.

        All GPSes don't work with the same degree of accuracy.
        • I dont want to be a kill joy, but how accurate do you really need?

          I have the $100 garmin, and on a normal day reading from inside my car it can differentiate parking spots in the lot outside my office (total about 18 spots and it can tell me which i am in). it can tell the difference in which lane I drive home in, and can easily tell my front door from my garage door and tell me exactly where i would have to go to get to the other. in the little onboard map thingie, it picks up the size of my car if i wa
        • It's better than the $100 models, sure, however my $250 Garmin is just as accurate as those "survey-grade" GPS's you are talking about. My Garmin Rino 120 with WAAS support and a quad-helix antenna regularly picks up 8-10 satellites (translating to accuracy of ~2m).

          However, all you need to do is plug your GPS into your laptop and record all of the data it collects. Then you can purchase/download differential GPS correction data (roughly, this indicate how far off the GPS system was at a given time in a gi
          • Can't argue what you've added, except to say that I wouldn't bet against the multi-thousand dollar devices. More powerful antennae, better in-the-field processing...

            If I'm building a railroad and I need to know exactly where the tracks are going, I don't think I'd buy a $250 Garmin to figure it out, DGPS notwithstanding.

        • "There are also "survey grade" GPS devices that manage much greater accuracy than your $100 Garmin."

          I believe that's called "differential GPS". It exploits the fact that positional noise injected into the signal is correlated between receivers. That is, if receiver A gives an absolute positional error of 10 feet to the left at time t, then receiver B will give the same error at the same time. Thus even though the absolute positions reported by any pair of recievers will be inaccurate, at any given insta
          • DGPS is indeed the basic way to achieve much higher accuracy, though getting it is any sort of real-time is very difficult, indeed (otherwise, all airlines would use it).

            There is also WAAS (Wide Area something something :)), which uses a number of other tricks to improve real-time accuracy so that airplanes can take advantage of it.

            Better GPS devices also have much more sensitive antennae, which makes a huge difference when you're GPSing in terrain other than a meadow.

            As for why DGPS is not a battlefield
      • Actually, the Selective Availability option is still enabled in certain parts of the world (the middle east). But even with the SA turned on, my Garmin GPS still has an accuracy of around 10m. The military also shifts satellites to provide the greatest accuracy in areas of conflict. This degrades accuracy in the rest of the world (another reason for the EU satellite cluster).
      • by ApharmdB ( 572578 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:01PM (#9497305)
        Not quite right.

        The "lockout" was known as selective availability which was used to intentionally make the civilian code, called C/A for coarse acquisition, less accurate than it could be.

        But there is still P(Y), p for precision, code which is military only. The encryption keys for using this code are classified. P(Y) code is more accurate than C/A code because it is a much, much longer sequence before it repeats.

        C/A code repeats every 1 ms. P(Y) code lasts 1 week (it doesn't repeat every week, but the difference is not important here). Therefore, the pseudorandom number sequence that the GPS receiver correlates against is much, much longer allowing for better accuracy.
        • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @04:07PM (#9499692)
          But there is still P(Y), p for precision, code which is military only. The encryption keys for using this code are classified. P(Y) code is more accurate than C/A code because it is a much, much longer sequence before it repeats.

          You're partly correct. The P(Y) codes do allow greater precision in position, but not because the PRN codes are longer. The long PRN codes are primarily for security. The reason you get better accuracy with the P(Y) codes is they are dual frequency, unlike the C/A codes which operate on a single frequency. The dual freqency system allows the receiver to make corrections for ionospheric delays, as the two frequencies are delayed by different amounts by the ionosphere. By correcting for these delays, more accurate positioning is possible.

          • If dual-frequency system is so significantly better, could similar approach be used to get higher precision from a dual GPS-Galileo system?
            • If dual-frequency system is so significantly better, could similar approach be used to get higher precision from a dual GPS-Galileo system?

              In principle yes, but even better is the fact that Galileo itself will offer dual frequency for civilian use.

    • If by literally, you mean not literally.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:38PM (#9497024)
    I can easily see products that incorporate both systems and pull coordinates from both at the same time - any GPS types here want to theorize on what hypothetical dual system devices can do for spatial accuracy in the field without having to do the whole fixed station - correct back at the lab stuff to get sub-meter resolutions?
  • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:39PM (#9497028)

    Europe and the USA acting together could do this world a hell of a lot of good. Shame things have been so negative of late.

    What I'd really like to see is co-operation on reducing arms sales globally. The USA and Europe are currently the world's biggest arms merchants. And the mad thing is, we're selling them to countries that could easily turn around and bite us on the ass. Saudi Arabia for instance. If they turn against us - which isn't outside the realms of possibility at the moment - they will be able to put up one hell of a battle because we've been selling them advanced weaponary for decades. Madness.
    • If they turn against us - which isn't outside the realms of possibility at the moment - they will be able to put up one hell of a battle because we've been selling them advanced weaponary for decades.

      I'm sure that the contingency of American-weapons-buying friendly countries turning to enemies has been considered, if not from the beginning then since at least 1979, when the revolution in Iran occurred and replaced a pro-US government with a very anti-US one-- this after the Iranian Air Force had taken del
    • "What I'd really like to see is co-operation on reducing arms sales globally."

      I know you're a little off topic, buuuut,

      It all comes down to money. We get money selling weapons. There is nothing in the world that will stop the US and EU from selling weapons so long as they're making profits. That's actually what confuses me about the current move to make the galeleo sats. Unless they'll be able to sell missiles etc that use the galeleo protocol to compete with american versions. That's the only thing
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:40PM (#9497045)
    Seriously, I can understand Europe not wanting to be at the mercy of the US's whims for something that can become very important. But this is going to be a subscription service, and I can't imagine too many people are going to be willing to pay for something they already get free. Sure, they may have a slightly better accuracy, but I do not see that GPS is bad enough to be worth paying for slightly better service.

    aQazaQa
    • Sure, they may have a slightly better accuracy, but I do not see that GPS is bad enough to be worth paying for slightly better service.

      But for some applications accuracy is very important. Think along the lines of GPS controlled airplanes, ships, and robotics. It would even be usable in construction if it were accurate enough (although a more local system is best for the latter).
  • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:42PM (#9497070)
    My Despair, Inc. calendar indicates that today is an auspicious anniversary date for Galileo:

    "Galileo recants absurd theory about the Earth revolving around the sun. (June 22, 1633)"

    I guess the Vatican used it influence to get Galileo to revolve around the Earth!
  • by jsebrech ( 525647 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:44PM (#9497103)
    Galileo used frequencies which were interleaved with the US military use of gps, meaning that the US couldn't jam galileo without jamming gps for their military at the same time. The US was adamant that this was unacceptable, that they wouldn't be able to disable galileo whenever they wanted, so the EU backed down, and promised to use frequencies which are more easily jammed.
    • Or in other words, the europeans didn't hold up against those U.S. suckers.
    • by Keebler71 ( 520908 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:54PM (#9497215) Journal
      It was more than that. The US was concerned that Galileo would interfere with the P-code portion of the GPS signal. It is one thing to claim that the decision was a cave allowing the US to 'jam' Galileo... quite a nother to point out that Galileo was designed to overlap channels with the US system, potentially interfering. How is this different than, say, another slashdot hot topic: the broadband over powerline controversy in that it interferes with HAM radio?
    • Actually, it sounds as if this new galileo system will be reconfigurable once it is in orbit. They may be able to change their frequencies around a little. Also, any jamming can easily be taken out by a missle. They already have missles that take out radar installations by following the radio waves back to the radar dish. It would be fairly simple to adapt a longer range version to take out the jamming aircraft or other vehicles by following the jamming signal. They may even have these. I am not up to date
    • Galileo used frequencies which were interleaved with the US military use of gps, meaning that the US couldn't jam galileo without jamming gps for their military at the same time. The US was adamant that this was unacceptable, that they wouldn't be able to disable galileo whenever they wanted, so the EU backed down, and promised to use frequencies which are more easily jammed.

      I know that Europe doesn't want to depend on the US system and that's fine. The US could conceivably block European access to the sy

  • Dual Band (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chaffed ( 672859 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:50PM (#9497175) Homepage
    This will be interesting because I think we will see dual band recievers. Often for one reason or another (interference most likely) GPS will give you incorrect position or non at all. However if you have a reciever that can switch over to galileo then this could greatly help all who use GPS. Just think of all the current applications currently using GPS. Shipping, personal aircraft, recreation, wardrivers! Suddenly WiGle will become a lot more accurate. [wigle.net]
    • While far from having detailed knowledge of GPS, I understand that it estimates position based on the delays of clock signals from the satellites. The more data available for the calculation, the better the estimate. Inaccuracy in the timing signals results in worse estimates. I believe that the degraded civilian GPS accuracy exists because satellites provide a less accurate time to civilian GPS receivers. A combined receiver using signals from both systems would yield higher accuracy, and a receiver can ap
  • competitive?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by theguywhosaid ( 751709 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:55PM (#9497237) Homepage
    "highly competitive satellite positioning market"

    who else is in the market? dont you need at least two players actually in the market to call it a competitive one?
    • Well, it seems you don't know much about the market then. Otherwise you would know that there are two players in it.

      GPS (first launch in 1978) and GLONASS [glonass-center.ru] (first launch in 1982). Both still operational (although GPS is the better system now due to lack of money for GLONASS)

      Here is a comparison [chalmers.se]
  • by dfn5 ( 524972 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:58PM (#9497272) Journal
    My impression from the article is that they want Galileo to interoperate with GPS. Does anyone know if this means that Galileo will work with existing GPS devices and that there will basically just be 60 GPS satelites in orbit? Or is it a completely seperate system that will require devices that support both? I'm hoping on the former.
    • You will need new equipment, and please note that Galileo differs from GPS in that it offers a 'for money' commercial high accuracy signal also. But don't get upset and just blame the Europeans because the US is also about to change the GPS system, adding a new second civilan signal to the L2 band where there was formerly only only a secure (p-code) signal and also adding the new L5 frequency. In short if you want to work with all the new signals available by the end of the decade then you will be buying ne
  • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:00PM (#9497292) Journal
    Whats the US going to do? shoot them down? I don't think so, Europe could have done better than this rather than just give in sheepishly. Ive seen bush standing next to the queen he looks a kid standing next to the head-mistress, she could have come in there and said "i think we would quite like these frequencies" and then just walked out. One of the major points of galileo is that it is a system not to undermined by the us gps, it needs an equal footing to say "were here, you're not the only country in the world, get over it".

  • The SS1 effect ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FauxPasIII ( 75900 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:03PM (#9497346)
    I wonder how much this decision was spurred by the fact that, after yesterday's launch, the world's governments know
    that if they don't provide GPS someone else will?
  • "A large sand hourglass timer, a sextant, a compass, several long pieces of rope and a reliable cabin boy to turn the hourglass over will be more than anyone ever needs to determine their position"
  • Jamming (Score:4, Informative)

    by flossie ( 135232 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @02:01PM (#9498054) Homepage
    The article doesn't mention the real argument between the EU and the US. The US didn't want Galileo to be on a similar frequency to the military GPS signal because they wanted to be able to jam it with impunity.

    One part of the article almost gets it right,

    "Late last year, the Europeans agreed to modify the modulation of Galileo signals intended for government use so they would not disrupt encrypted GPS signals to be used by the US military and NATO".

    Unfortunately, it looks like the EU caved in, so it will not be safe to assume that Galileo will be operational for the safety critical applications which it is designed for, such as air traffic control.

  • by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @03:09PM (#9498871) Homepage
    A friend of mine and I had a discussion recently about what was available to cheaply and reliably implement a system to track in 3 dimensions muliple sensors (50-100 sensors) over a large area (say 100 x 100 x 30 feet in volume), with an accuracy of at least 1 foot (the smaller the better - a few inches would be perfect).

    We discussed RF tags, GPS, optical, ultrasonic. We discussed sensor costs ($50.00-100.00 per sensor seemed reasonable) and size (they need to be small and rugged). We discussed limiting the environment that the system would be used in to come up with a cheaper system. The system also couldn't interfere with other people outside the volume, nor did we want outside interference to be a problem. Non line-of-sight is also a priority (thus ruling out optical systems).

    Thinking about it, GPS seems like the only real option - but it seems to have its own set of issues: speed is an issue (update rates aren't that fast - the more samples-per-second, the better), accuracy for civilian use is poor, and it may not work in the indoors environment we are envisioning the system being used in (which is part of the application).

    It does have a pro side: Garmin makes small and cheap matchbook-sized OEM components which can send a serial stream to a microcontroller or PC via a serial port.

    Can a differential GPS signal be put in the area to increase the accuracy just for the volume being measured?

    Is there another solution? Because of the line-of-sight requirement, optical tracking solutions, while cheap and allowing for high-speed, large volume scanning - are not sufficient for our application.

    Something else I have thought about, similar to RF tag location (which seems to have dodgy accuracy and speed), is using radio (active FM) sensors, and low-power FM transmitters placed in the four corners of the upper portion of the volume - and measuring gain to compute intersection spheres to get the position (but I doubt it would be accurate).

    Can anybody tell me if such a system as needed, or technology, or white papers, etc - are available for such a system? I only need X/Y/Z coordinates, yaw/pitch/roll attitude measurements are not really needed.

    It seems like large volume position tracking (with fast sampling, great accuracy, and multitudes of sensors) is something that either doesn't exist - or that would satisfy a major market. GPS seems like the only possibility - am I missing something?

    • Google for "realtime kinetic GPS" or "RTK GPS"

      For your accuracy, it depends a bit if you want to have it *really* real-time or if it's ok to look at the data later (post-processing). You can get the GPS signals from your sensors and have another static GPS station with a powerful computer for doing the differential stuff.
      • Thank you - I will look into that.

        Unfortunately, the application has to be real-time, or near real-time sampling rates, for a large number of sensors. Post-processing the data is not an option.

  • A major US worry has been that when the US goes to war, the US controls the availability of GPS.

    Has that demand been dropped? Or is this language about Galileo "not disrupting" the US military signal a codeword for saying that the US military gets the same control over Galileo as it has over the US system?

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