On Wednesday, 16 May Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) opened the Galileo Reference Centre in Noordwijk. This centre will be monitoring the quality of data generated by the European satellite navigation system Galileo. An important role, considering that services operating on the basis of this satellite data are used by virtually everyone. In addition to monitoring the quality of the Galileo services, the Reference Centre will also coordinate with the American GPS and Russian GLONASS systems.
Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management): ‘I am proud of the fact that the Galileo Reference Centre is located in the Netherlands. The data provided by Galileo will enable us to navigate with an accuracy to within 20 cm. In rescue operations, this sharp reduction in response time is going to save human lives.’
Carlo des Dorides (GSA Executive Director): “The Galileo Reference Centre is a state of the art facility that underpins Galileo service provision. The GRC will be instrumental in monitoring the performance of the system and of the service operator, ensuring that users benefit from the most reliable satellite data and, at the same time, disclosing new service potential.”
Accurate to within 20 centimetres
Galileo is a European system that determines location and time. It is similar to the (military) GPS system but more accurate in indicating time and place. A combination of Galileo and GPS will enhance the services provided to users. In the near future Galileo will be able to provide location data with an accuracy to within 20 centimetres. This is of important relevance to the location-based services that are used in many apps, such as automobile navigation, orientation services for the visually impaired, and emergency signal systems.
Response time reduced from an hour to 10 minutes
Response times for emergency calls will go down significantly, from an occasional hour to 10 minutes. Galileo will make a significant contribution to the worldwide search and rescue system. Furthermore, Galileo will transmit a signal that the call has been received and is being processed.
Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen opened the Galileo Reference Centre by revealing a work of art created by those present using the new “Painted Earth” app. The opening marks the official presentation of the Galileo Reference Centre to the European satellite navigation agency. The Galileo Reference Centre is located in the vicinity of the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), the largest facility of the European Space Organisation ESA. In 2016, the Netherlands signed the agreement to host the centre.