GALILEO GNSS Now Available

Articles about GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, WAAS and other satellite navigation systems
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GALILEO GNSS Now Available

Postby jimh » Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:24 pm

On December 15, 2016, the European Commission declared that their global satellite navigation system (GNSS) GALILEO status was now at the INITIAL SERVICES phase. Initial Services means that signals from the GALILEO constellation are operational, can be used, and will be highly accurate. Due to the satellite constellation being incomplete, however, there will not always be four GALILEO satellites in view at all times from all points on Earth. GALILEO satellites can be used in conjunction with other GNSS systems like GPS and GLONASS to improve position fix accuracy by providing more sources.

There are now 18 GALILEO satellites in orbit and, of those, 16 are expected to be operational by early 2017. A good way to track status of GALILEO is by consulting THE ALMANAC at GPS World.

I am not aware of any mainstream marine recreational grade chart plotters that have internal GNSS receivers that can use GALILEO. It may take a year or two for GNSS receiver chips that can make use of GALILEO signals to become commonplace in recreational marine chart plotters.

A brief survey of the market for external marine GNSS receiver finds several ready for GALILEO. The GARMIN GPS 19x receiver is ready for GALILEO satellites. The SIMRAD GS25GPS receiver is also said to be able to use GALILEO. The LOWRANCE POINT-1 is said to be capable of using GALILEO when a future firmware update is available.

A study published in GPS WORLD found that among GNSS chip sets already in use, about 40-percent were already capable of using GALILEO signals. This suggests that some devices may now begin to receive and make use of the GALILEO satellites, and this may perhaps be a surprise to the owners of these devices.