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European Commission


Brussels, 24 July 2013

Galileo, Europe’s GPS, opens up business opportunities and makes life easier for citizens

Today a public demonstration of how the four satellites of the EU’s satellite navigation system Galileo can independently and highly accurately determine a position on the Earth’s surface took place in the Galileo Control Centre in Fucino, Italy.

This position fix1 of longitude, latitude and altitude is a concrete proof of Galileo's ability to provide highly accurate positioning data. The availability of this data is crucial to providers who will create the derived services we ultimately expect from Galileo. As the benefits of Galileo become tangible the next step is for industry providers to start preparing for future market opportunities.

Galileo underpins Europe’s economy

Europe needs Galileo to strengthen its economic development and reinforce the resilience of the European economic structure, especially against the current context of the European economic crisis.

Today, positioning and timing signals provided by satellite navigation systems are used in many critical areas of the economy, including power grid synchronization, electronic trading and mobile phone networks, effective road, sea and air traffic management, in-car navigation, search and rescue service to mention but a few examples.

According to market studies, it is estimated that already 6-7% of Europe's GDP in 2009, or €800 billion, relies on satellite navigation signals provided currently by the US GPS and this dependency is increasing. With Galileo, Europe is will be able to exploit the opportunities provided by satellite navigation to a much greater extent than otherwise possible.

Galileo in short: accuracy, innovative services, availability, precision

Better accuracy: Galileo offers three Open Service signals, each of them providing more information and in larger bands than the unique narrow-band current GPS civil signal. These improvements allow better accuracy and better signal tracking for end users, so better navigation.

Boost the growth of innovative services: The diversity of the Galileo open signals will permit even more innovation in navigation receivers and applications, from cell-phones to very high accuracy navigation and time receivers, from standalone to assisted and hybridised navigation, from fixed to real-time high-speed usage. Galileo will boost the growth of satellite navigation services.

Availabiliy of signals: In a combined GPS-Galileo use, as compared to GPS alone, the higher number of satellites available to the user will improve the availability of signals in high-rise cities as well as in mountain regions where buildings/hills can obstruct signals from satellites that are low on the horizon.

High precision: Galileo offers also a Commercial Service signal that will allow global high-end and innovative applications based on few centimetres accuracy and signal.

€124 bn market value to increase to €244 bn by 2020

The global annual market for global navigation satellite products and services is currently valued at 124 billion Euros and is expected to grow over the next decade, leading to an estimated market size of €244 billion in 2020.

Like the Internet, a global navigation satellite system is a service enabler rather than a standalone service. It acts as a catalyst for economic activities, leading to the creation of added value and jobs in a wide range of connected sectors (upstream and downstream markets) and at macroeconomic level through socio-economic benefits for society as a whole.

The expected benefits of Galileo and EGNOS can be divided into three main components:

  • Thanks to global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), new business opportunities are developing. Innovative uses of satellite navigation are emerging, such as advanced driver assistance systems, assistance for the elderly and the blind, transport vehicle fleet management and road user charging systems. Most of these applications will only become possible with the increased precision of Galileo. The cumulative direct benefits emanating from the GNSS downstream market are estimated to amount to €14 billion over the next 20 years.

  • Thanks to new applications made possible by Galileo, businesses will benefit from more efficient production processes. For example, agriculture will gain increased crop productivity through more accurate seeding and spraying of fertilizers which in turn helps protect the environment and can lead to increased food production.

  • All sectors of the economy will gain from increased speed of delivery of goods to customers, with reduced impact on the environment as well as greater safety for road users.

  • Investment in the development of Galileo supports hundreds of European companies ranging from multi-billion-euro conglomerates to specialised SMEs. Most of the funds spent on the Galileo and EGNOS programmes flow directly into the European economy.

In addition, the technological advances that come about as a result of research & development investment in the space industry are transferred to firms in other sectors in the form of ‘spill-over’ effects. Research by Oxford Economics2 suggests that such spill-over effects are very large, with R&D investment by the aerospace sector generating a social return of around 70% - i.e. every €100 million invested in R&D leads to an increase in GDP of €70 million in the longer term in other sectors (e.g. health and medicine, transport, computer science).

The overall economic impact is estimated to be around 90 billion euro over the next 20 years (source: GSA studies Market Monitoring and Forecasting).

Galileo applications: from transport to power grids

Global Navigation Satellite Systems such as Galileo allow users worldwide to pinpoint their locations or the locations of other people or objects at any given moment. A simple concept, perhaps, but the range of possible uses for this sort of capability is enormous, spanning many domains, both public and private. Numerous potential applications have already been identified, based on the quality and reliability of Galileo signals, but the list is certain to grow, limited only by the imaginations of innovative entrepreneurs and service providers.

Location-based services

  1. The integration of accurate positioning signal receivers within mobile telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), mp3 players, portable computers, cameras and video devices, will bring Galileo services directly to individuals, making possible a fundamental transformation of the way we live and work.

  2. Location Based Services (LBS), identified as the main initial market for Galileo, include a broad range of applications such as ‘Mobile Yellow Pages' or ‘Proximity Services', providing users, wherever they are, with information and advertising about nearby businesses and services.

  3. Dedicated positioning devices will be available for tourists or hikers, for amusement park and museum visitors, and people within large shopping centres.

Emergency, security and humanitarian services

  1. Galileo-ready devices will enable new security-related applications, permitting the location of stolen property, for example, or lost pets or individuals.

  2. Galileo signals facilitate civil protection operations in harsh environments, speed up rescue operations for people in distress, and provide tools for coastguards and border control authorities.


  1. Satellite navigation can increase traffic safety and efficiency by improving the way we use vehicles. Highly accurate and reliable Galileo signals will serve fleet management, enabling the delivery of detailed maps or voice notifications to locate specific shipments and containers in road transport. It will deliver similar benefits in aviation, maritime and rail transport, and even for pedestrian traffic.


  1. By integrating Galileo signals with other technologies, the agriculture community can benefit from improved monitoring of the distribution and dilution of chemicals, improved parcel yield thanks to customised treatment and more efficient property management.


  1. Wireless telecommunication networks will use this timing signal of Galileo satellites for network management, for time tagging and for synchronisation of frequency references.

Finance, banking, insurance

  1. Galileo's extremely accurate clock makes it formidable instrument for authentication and ‘time stamping' of financial transactions. In today's information society, security, data integrity, authenticity and confidentiality have emerged as major issues in the exchange of electronic documents and computer files. Certified time stamps are necessary for applications such as electronic banking, e-commerce, stock transactions, quality assurance systems and services. Galileo will play a key role in the protection of such information, using the latest authentication techniques.


  1. Accurate location systems are indispensable in the design, construction and operation of modern energy networks. Power grids must be continuously monitored, and when a power line breaks or a failure occurs, it is vital that monitoring instruments are synchronised with maximum accuracy. The high-quality of time synchronisation represented by Galileo will mean better services for energy transport and distribution.

  2. Similarly, in the oil and gas sector, marine seismic exploration will increasingly profit from Galileo services to seismic acquisition vessels and seismic streamer arrays and gun arrays. High-resolution surveys of new sites and identification of any geomorphologic or geophysical risks will also increase the safety of drilling activities.

As already stated, the list of possible applications is still to be completed and the full potential for user services and devices unknown. It will be noted that GPS-based services already exist in many of the areas mentioned above. The key point is that Galileo will increase the levels of accuracy and reliability, making possible a new range of more beneficial and commercially profitable products and services.

Achievements of the Galileo programme

At present there are four operational satellites in space, launched successfully on 21 October 2011 (IP/11/1220) and on 12 October 2012 (IP/12/1098). These satellites in combination with ground infrastructure are used to assess the system performance and validate the system design.

Progress has also been made with regard to the ground segment which consists of telemetry and telecommand centres, Galileo sensor stations, navigation message uplink stations and a number of service-specific infrastructures. Three telemetry and telecommand stations centres are operational, with a further two in the process of completion in 2013. A total of twelve sensor station sites are operational with a further four in the process of completion in 2013 and 2014. The five navigation message uplink stations are operational. Two ground control centres in Fucino (Italy) and Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany) are also partly completed and operational to permit in orbit validation testing and constellation grow-up, completion of the two centres is in process to ensure early services in 2014 and full redundancy of the two centres in 2015.

Galileo early services next available

The Galileo programme will soon enter into a new phase as it will start offering early services based on the signals emitted by the Galileo satellites. At this stage, the users will be able to benefit from the Galileo early services in combination with the services of the USA’s GPS.

  • Early Galileo Open Service, available in 2014, is Galileo’s freely accessible service for positioning, navigation and timing. It is to be fully interoperable with GPS and will be used for many mass-market applications, including smartphones and in-car navigation. With early services, the mass-market will turn to Galileo signal improvements.

  • Search and Rescue (SAR) contribution to COSPAS-SARSAT service: The Galileo SAR is an important tool for locating people in distress. It provides a ‘forward link’ for the detection of distress beacons, as well as an innovative ‘return link’ feature that sends a detection acknowledgement message. This way, the person in distress knows that help is on the way. SAR will be Europe’s contribution to the COSPAS-SARSAT co-operative effort on humanitarian search and rescue activities, which helps save 1300 lives every year.

  • Public regulated service (PRS) pilot phase: The PRS is an encrypted service designed for greater robustness and assured availability. A special Galileo navigation service using encrypted signals set up for better management of critical transport and emergency services, better law enforcement, improved border control and safer peace missions. The signal will be resistant to unintentional interference, malicious jamming, spoofing and meaconing3. The Galileo PRS service will start as of 2014 for use in a pilot-phase with participating EU Member States.

  • Commercial Service demonstrator: The Galileo Commercial Service will deliver various added-value features, likely to include positioning accurate to centimetres and an authentication feature, allowing for the development of applications for professional or commercial use. The Galileo Commercial Service demonstrator will begin the proof of concept in 2014, with early service expected to start in 2016.

Galileo’s full services by 2020

Gradually with additional satellites in orbit, the availability and coverage of the signal will gradually improve, allowing stand-alone Galileo positioning services to be made available in 2016.  Then, by 2020, the Galileo system aims to be fully operational with a global network of ground stations, providing high-accuracy services around the clock and overall the globe.

Galileo and the 2015 World Expo in Milan

The World Expo 2015 will take place in Milan from 1 May to 31 October 2015, with 20 million visitors expected. The Expo will deal with the theme "Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life". This edition of the Expo is intended to form a milestone in the planetary debate on food and sustainability and will be a platform for political discussions and policy initiatives on these issues. It will showcase European industrial achievements, ideas, innovative solutions and technologies.

European Space Expo visits Rome in August

Rome will host the European Commission’s travelling space exhibition – the European Space EXPO - from 30 August to 6 September 2013. Using unique interactive, educational and entertaining displays the Space Expo shows how space activities and applications have a direct impact on our daily life: visitors of all ages can see, touch and experience the wide range of innovative technologies and services that space offers. Entrance to the European Space Expo is free and most of its information is presented in several languages.

How much have the Galileo and EGNOS programmes cost to date?

The definition and validation phase of Galileo over the years 2000 and 2001 was financed by the EU and European Space Agency (ESA) and cost the EU contribution around €80 million (coming from the 5th Research and Development Framework Programme). A similar amount was contributed by ESA.

Total costs of the development phase which was launched in 2003 under the auspices of the ESA is currently around €2400 million, with the EU providing roughly up to two-thirds of the funding.

The deployment phase (so-called FOC phase) is entirely financed by the EU's budget. Of the total €3405 million made available, €560 million were re-attributed to the development and validation phase and around €2400 million are earmarked for the deployment phase of Galileo. €417 million have been set aside for EGNOS.

The total cost of implementing EGNOS to date has been around €1100 million. Of this, more than 400 million were financed by ESA, €200 million came from previous EU financing programmes and €417 million have been made available under the current budget framework.

The annual operating costs of Galileo are in the order of €800 mio per year. The revenue is estimated to be in the order of €80 million per year on average, in constant prices in 2011 (source: the Impact Assessment accompanying the new Regulation proposal).

How much money is required to complete Galileo and EGNOS?

EGNOS is now operational and does not need additional budget for completion, over and above what is earmarked in the current budget. With the entry into operations of the Safety-of-Life service, EGNOS will enter the next phase of its life-cycle.

As regards Galileo, costs for the completion of the ground and space infrastructure and for the exploitation of Galileo and EGNOS are estimated at €1bn per year on average over the next two decades - without escalation. In the Commission budget proposal from 29 June 2011, a total of €7bn have been proposed for the next financial perspective. A stable, long-term and sustainable governance framework for the exploitation of the Galileo and EGNOS programmes and a transition to it needs to be defined. With this mind, the European Commission presented its proposal on the repeal of Regulation 683/2008 with a new GNSS Regulation at the end of November 2011 (IP/11/1478). The legislative process of adoption which involved the European Parliament and Council has been concluded, and the Regulation will formally be adopted once the multi-annual financial framework is in place.

For more information on Galileo, see also:

MEMO/11/717   - Galileo will boost economy and make citizens' lives easier

European GNSS Agency:

1 :

Position fixing determines the position of a ship, aircraft or person on the surface of the Earth

2 :

The Case for Space: The Impact of Space Derived Services and Data (July 2009)

3 :

Jamming: transmission of disturbing signals to block signal acquisition at user level;

Spoofing: transmission of fake but coherent satellite-like signals to deceive the user;

Meaconing: retransmission of original satellite signals with a delay to deceive the user.

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