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Why Galileo?

GPS (US), GLONASS (Russia) and other regional systems (e.g. BeiDou) are military positioning systems under military control – indeed they provide a civil service, but that service could be switched off or made less precise when desired (e.g. in case of conflict). European independence is the chief reason for taking the major step of operating a satellite-based positioning system. Inter-operable with GPS and GLONASS, Galileo will be the cornerstone of a new system of global navigation satellite systems. Henceforth, it will be under civilian control.

With its full fleet of satellites, larger than current GNSS systems, Galileo will allow positioning to be determined accurately even in high-rise cities where buildings obscure signals from today’s satellites. Thanks to the location and inclination of the satellites, it will achieve better coverage at high latitudes than other systems. Thanks to signal enhancements, the satellite signal will be easier to track and acquire, and more resistant against interference and reflections. Galileo will improve the overall availability and coverage of GNSS signals.  European GNSS will deliver more precise and more reliable services than the American and Russian systems. This means Galileo (and EGNOS) will make a whole new and virtually limitless range of ‘reliability-critical’ services, applications and business opportunities possible.

With Galileo, Europe and the world can exploit opportunities provided by satellite navigation to a greater extent than currently possible. Consequentially, European and global GNSS receiver and equipment manufacturers, application providers and service operators will benefit from new business opportunities.

Galileo in short: precision, availability, coverage

  • Precision : By combining the use of other GNSS signals with Galileo, users receive higher precision. the higher number of satellites available to the user, the higher precision. From most locations, six to eight Galileo satellites will be visible. In combination with GPS signals, this will allow positions to be determined within a few centimetres.
  • Availability : The high number of satellites will also improve the availability of the signals in high-rise cities, where buildings can obstruct signals from satellites that are low on the horizon.
  • Coverage: Thanks to the location and inclination of the satellites, Galileo will provide better coverage at higher latitudes than GPS.