Galileo in the mainstream..

Adena at All Points Blog links to an article on Galileo in the UK’s WhatPC magazine. Now I am a little sceptical about the business model to operate Galileo, but technically i think it is an appropriate solution, but one that has been oversold.

While it is right to question the multitudes of “new” applications only possible with Galileo, it is a fact that the existing uses of Global Positioning constrained by the current GPS technology will be reduced, for example the OS surveyors maintaining our database find it almost impossible to use GPS in highly urban areas, or sometimes even too close to tree canopies – these limitations will be removed.

Other applications such as the use of precision landing systems for aircraft are possible today, but for safety reasons require the quality of location signal that Galileo will provide.

The WhatPC? article also seems to confuse the availability of good quality data and positioning, just because the UK has excellent large scale databases and a comprehensive system of postcodes does not mean that you don’t need accurate positioning technology – actually I would argue it means you actually are more reliant on positioning to provide useful services.

But at the end of the day we need to realise that Galileo is equally a political project, and who is to say that a future President McCain might not just switch of the GPS signal one day because of a potential security alert in Washington.

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