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Galileo -- 3rd generation European consortium GPS

[mods feel free to move this to CB&G, if not enough equipment related]

A GIOVE-A satellite has successfully broadcast from orbit, and the Galileo Joint Undertaking is full-speed ahead. http://www.esa.int/esaNA/galileo.html

The system is spec'd to be GPS and GLONASS compatible, and able to provide sub 1m real-time accuracy plus other bells and whistles like value-added downlink data channels. The Chinese are in on this, too. Very interesting stuff that the US seems to be missing the boat with again. :(
Originally posted by David Wolfson
Very interesting stuff that the US seems to be missing the boat with again. :(

Well I'm not sure if that's a fair assesment, considering the US invented GPS, invested billions launching all the satellites, and eventually provided the data freely to everyone (well, most of it).

It's easy for somebody getting into the game now to include all kinds of new functionality in their system; not so easy to go back to your large infrastructure and redo it. Having said that, I'm sure we'll all see a lot of new functionality get developed in the near future.
I went to a GPS conference in England about a year ago and was extremely interested to hear of the advances in GPS technology. For example Galileo is specked to be sub 1 meter resolution when it goes live but when this new system is coupled with the proposed fixed land based GPS transmitters as well then resolution goes down to 10cm. The university of ready was also demonstrating GPS technology that would go down to 1cm!! Of course GPS downfall is the required line of sight to the satellites – perhaps one day we can overcome this and be able to use GPS inside?

One other interesting point that came out of the conference was that Europeans felt some what exposed in that the USA system could quite easily be turn off or the signal scrambled if the US felt threatened in any way.

Anyway were are all using the “oldâ€￾ US military system that was public enabled after the “92â€￾ Gulf war – I bet right now that the US military has a newer system that perhaps already goes down to 10cm already in operation.
I bet right now that the US military has a newer system that perhaps already goes down to 10cm already in operation.

Trust me, if youve seen the GPS based surveyor market, its already there!
Ive watched the numbers change as a unit was moved an inch!
Mike R.
I think the Europeans have very good motives in pressing forward with Galileo. It will be interesting to see the higher-resolution devices come on the market here in the U.S. I'm still carrying a Garmin III from 1998... maybe that will be the time to make the jump.

If the U.S. military would unlock that P-Y channel (or increase some of the significant bits) then it could be "competitive" with Galileo, but any consumer units wouldn't be able to use it right off the bat anyway.

BTW I have a backpack differential GPS that I've used once in a blue moon for precision surveying. The only problem is you have to be within about 100-150 miles of a LW DGPS station.... they're in Oklahoma and south Texas, but not where I live right now. But the accuracy with that is pretty impressive... certainly within one or two paces.

Super-high (one inch!) precision has been commercial for over ten years. I saw a Trimble brochure back then touting it for automatic ag machinery steering and machine-tool(!) guidance that blew me away.... And here it still is today: http://www.trimble.com/ag_gps.shtml

These systems basically use satellite/ground station GPS to get to one meter or so, then add a second frequency channel from a nearby ground station.
I think I've seen these.... a couple of times I've passed by a spot where a receiver & vertical antenna on a tripod is on top of a bench marker. I assumed that that meant there were surveyors nearby.

Those things are always there by themselves... it's a wonder they never get swiped.