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GPS data gets boost from new EU service

The European Data Access Service aims to keep GPS data accessible even if satellite signals are unavailable.

The European Commission has taken the wraps off a project aimed at improving the reliability of GPS data, with a new internet-based GPS augmentation service.

The new European scheme may lower the pressure placed on satellite GPS systems. European Commission

The European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, launched the new European Data Access Service (EDAS) in Brussels on Thursday.

EDAS uses information from Europe's European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS). EGNOS gives precise GPS data for "safety-critical applications", and can improve the accuracy of GPS position measurements from five down to two meters, inform a user of errors in their position and warn of satellite signal disruptions within six seconds.

By making EGNOS data accessible via the Internet, as well as by satellite, EDAS can ensure such information is always available -- useful on the occasions where signals from the EGNOS satellites may get disrupted.

By improving its reliability, the EC is aiming to make GPS more effective for use in commercial applications in difficult surroundings.

EDAS will also support new services including fleet management, automatic road-tolling, high-precision fertiliser spraying, inland waterway navigation and dangerous goods transportation.

Tajani said:

This third EGNOS service once again proves the European Commission's commitment to delivering improved services to the EU's businesses and citizens. So much of our day-to-day private and business lives are dependent on satellite navigation technology. With EDAS, we have a reliable performance level which can in turn support the creation of new and innovative products and thus help to overcome the current economic crisis.