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AutoPi > Blog > Galileo (GPS) Explained

Galileo (GPS) Explained

Updated at 25 Oct, 2021

— The Galileo navigation system is owned and operated by the EU and currently owns more than €170bn share on the GNSS market.

Galileo (GPS) Explained
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Galileo is a navigation system owned and operated by the European Union. Its purpose is to improve the infrastructure within Europe and deliver as precise data as possible.

European GPS boosts its innovation by contributing to the creation of new products and services. Galileo owns a great share of the EUR 175 billion global Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) market.

It is intended primarily for civilian use and is used by millions of people daily. Galileo navigation system is one of several navigation systems out there, such as GPS, GLONASS, NavIC, QZSS and BDS. They all fall under the Global Navigation Satellite Systems.

Galileo GPS keeps people moving forward.

What is Galileo GPS navigation system?

Galileo is the European global navigation satellite system ( GNSS ) that provides PNT services – positioning, navigation, and timing. It provides improved and accurate data for many European services and users.

Police and First Responders benefits from Galileo GPS in Europe due to its efficiency and precision. The technology makes roads in Europe safer and more efficient.

It allows its users to navigate from point A to point B while proving them with very precise information (greater than most of other satellite systems).

Galileo programme was designed by the European Union and the European Space Agency on May 26, 2003. Its use was created for civilian use, unlike other navigation systems, such as GPS, GLONASS or BeiDou. In case of extreme circumstances, the European system will be shut down for military purposes.

Italy and Germany contribute the most to the Galileo project currently. The Galileo headquarters can be found in Prague, Czech Republic.

Key findings of Galileo navigation system

  1. European’s GPS

  2. Provides 24+ satellites

  3. Helps European cities and roads to become safer and more efficient

  4. Intended to provide high quality and precise information for civilian use

How does Galileo work?

Unlike other systems, Galileo is under civilian control and has been designed based on the needs of different user communities. Galileo consists of four services – Open Service, Commercial Service, Search and Rescue, and Public Regulated Service.

Open Service – It is available for anyone for free with appropriate mass-market equipment (simple timing, positioning down to one metre).

Commercial Service (now called High Accuracy Service) – Provides accuracy down to one centimetre for free.

Public Regulated Service – Its purpose is to be more robust, ani-jamming mechanisms and reliable problem detection.

Search and Rescue – Galileo’s data helps locating beacons and rescue people in critical situations in any environment.

Each satellite emits coded radio signal, which is being transmitted to receivers. The receiver uses signals from four satellites to calculate the position using longitude, latitude, and time. Galileo navigation system uses 30 satellites when fully operational.

It consists of three orbital planes, orbiting at 23,222 km from the Earth surface.





Galileo Navigation System Accuracy

As all other navigation systems, the accuracy of Galileo depends on many other aspects, such as surrounding buildings, trees, weather conditions, number of satellites and more. For professionals, the accuracy is within 1 metre range and for general public it is within 5 metres.

Galileo system has a greater accuracy than GPS. Galileo offers less than one metre accuracy when using broadcast ephemeris, while GPS offers three metres.

Based on numbers, Galileo is the most accurate navigation system out there. However, it is also the youngest and not 100% completed project yet.

Galileo GPS vs U.S. GPS?

Galileo is European’s global navigation satellite system that provides accurate global positioning service under civilian control. By numbers, Galileo GPS is more accurate than US GPS. The technology offers dual frequencies as a standard and delivers real-time positioning accuracy down to one metre.

Article by

Dragoş Ionescu

Software Developer / Support

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