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Galileo positioning services will improve surveying

Initial services of the European Galileo global navigation satellite system (GNSS) were officially taken into use on 14 December 2016.

Galileo provides free and open positioning and navigational services and services to precisely measure time. The Finnish Geospatial Research Institute at the National Land Survey has been an active participant in the development of Galileo, and the services provided by Galileo are going to change the operations of the National Land Survey.

Galileo satellites have been designed to be compatible with GPS satellites. Galileo services improve the precision and reliability of positioning. The first Galileo compatible smartphones have been available since the autumn. By 2018, Galileo will feature in every new car model sold in Europe. This will make the automatic eCall system practical and it will provide more accurate positioning and timing information for navigation equipment installed in vehicles.

Professor Heidi Kuusniemi, head of the Department of Navigation and Positioning at the FGI describes the significance of Galileo services as follows: ─ This is an extremely important milestone in the self-sufficiency of European satellite navigation, when services are officially introduced.

─ Thanks to the introduction of the Galileo system, positional accuracy will be improved, particularly in environments that are challenging for satellite positioning, such as cities where signals are blocked by tall buildings. From the point of view of driverless cars, for example, the improvement in positional reliability thanks to the use of several independent satellite navigation systems is even more important, says Laura Ruotsalainen from FGI. She participated in the development work.

─ Galileo satellites improve measurements, particularly in poor terrain conditions, says Marko Ollikainen, senior specialist at the National Land Survey.

─ The National Land Survey has to measure many boundary markers in forested areas and it is crucial to measure accurate coordinates for these markers. As the number of satellites increases, the success rate of measurements is considerably improved.

Additional information

Head of Department Heidi Kuusniemi, +358 40 653 2228
Research Manager Laura Ruotsalainen +358 50 433 6552
Ministry of Transport and Communications press release about the introduction of Galileo services (in Finnish)
EC press release: Galileo goes live!

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