EGNOS makes waves in Hannover

Amid the bustle of the massive Intergeo trade fair and conference in Hannover, EGNOS made its presence felt.

EGNOS stand in Intergeo
EGNOS stand in Intergeo
Covering everything from surveying and remote sensing to multi-sensor technology and satellite positioning, it is the world’s premier trade event for geodesy, mapping and geoinformation. Intergeo, held annually, is a magnet for industry professionals. It has more than 500 exhibitors and an estimated 16 000 visitors. Yet EGNOS was still able make its mark with a strong presence at the 2012 edition, held 9-11 October, as the profile of the emerging technology rises.

EGNOS, Europe’s satellite-based augmentation system, is being used in an increasing array of new GNSS applications and services, making the EGNOS stand in Hannover a draw for visitors curious about the technology.

“EGNOS is getting more and more established, and there is a growing interest in the Galileo satellite programme,” said Reinhard Blasi, Market Development Officer from the European GNSS Agency (GSA).

Blasi said Hannover was critical as it gathered big and small geoinformation, mapping and surveying brands from around the world – and had the most representative people from the companies at each of the stands. “It is the third time we have been at the Intergeo. We have had a good experience as we try to close gap in understanding. We also meet current contacts and partners already using this technology, like Leica Geosystems, Topcon, Trimble and Geneq,” he said.

Interest in EGNOS

Blasi said the first reaction of many people to EGNOS in the past was to assume it is just for aviation community. “But here in Hannover, they know it is for so much more. There are so many other applications, from land management to infrastructure maintenance. It is reliable, accurate, and it is at no extra cost,” he said. Blasi also noted fewer questions about the performance of EGNOS this year, as well as interest about future coverage to Africa.

As for Galileo, Blasi explained that many people were waiting for the right moment to incorporate the satellite signals into their equipment. “They don’t want to wait until 2018 when all the 30 satellites are in place”. EGNOS shared a stand with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), as they are all agencies helping bolster new satellite technologies – as well as some key downstream application developers. All of which came together under the SatNavForum initiative of the German Transport Ministry. The stand also featured a seven-minute video summarising the EGNOS package, which premiered at the event..

Interacting and making contacts

Visitors enter the Intergeo building. © HINTE GmbH
Visitors enter the Intergeo building. © HINTE GmbH
Fernández Wyttenbach, Market Innovation Officer from GSA, said the potential from EGNOS was clearly felt in Hannover. “I’ve got the sense of enthusiasm for the technology. People are looking for innovation, and everyone says EGNOS gives real added value. They already know the benefits of EGNOS, but want to know about the future. They are pushing us, and want the early services of Galileo operational – rather today than tomorrow.”

From GMES, Rolf von Kuhlmann greeted the effect of the combined stand. He said that although GMES is aimed mainly at public authorities for crisis management, mapping, air, marine and climate information, it was a useful experience to interact with Hannover’s business audience. “This GMES data is free and open, and if anyone can think of a business model to exploit it, they are welcome,” he said. “People start to know what GMES is about more, so it is worth being here for just that: raising our public profile.”

Gerhard Bernot, founder and Managing Director of Bernot Information Technology, was one of the downstream developers with a place on the combined stand. His firm, with 25 employees, makes applications for smartphones for use mainly in the construction and engineering sector. “We use EGNOS for measuring and surveillance,” he said. “It is critical for our customers to see if the position – for example, or their planned building – is accurate. They need exact positions, better than 1m, and EGNOS does that.” Bernot started using EGNOS in 2011, and said he felt immediately that it was much more accurate and reliable than using GPS alone. “We switched everything we could to EGNOS, and we have now developed the smallest EGNOS raw data receiver, which is just a wire with a USB port.

Updated: Dec 05, 2012