Inside GNSS Media & Research

NOV-DEC 2017

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13 N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 InsideGNSS nal, so that's really handy, really helpful in difficult environments, like in urban canyons." With the declaration of Galileo initial services last December, European space partners the European Commission, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European GNSS Agency (GSA), ushered in a new era in satellite-based naviga- tion and positioning. "The people from the GSA and ESA are really fantastic," Richter said. "It's a great achievement. I can tell you we are all feeling very confident. I was there when they pressed the red button in Brussels, and I'm still a little proud to be European right now." End Users Are the Ultimate Winners Every segment, from lower-precision to high-precision, the whole variety of users, can only benefit from Galileo. "I can't see why Galileo wouldn't benefit everybody across the board. It will just make everybody's performance better. "And combined GNSS is such an easy tool to operate. Our software is so simple, you can explain it to a 10-year-old using a smartphone and get precise measure- ments." Indeed, he said, ease of use is one of Leica Geosystems' key priorities. "It's all about reality capture," Richter said. "You need to remember, in the '80s we were measuring maybe 2 to 10 points per day with GPS post processing. Now we measure up to a million points a sec- ond with scanners—you capture the real- ity with a mobile scanner and you have the absolute reference through GNSS." In order to increase the number of us- ers that can afford that type of technol- ogy, Leica Geosystems, like much of the industry, is looking for ways to make it smaller, lighter and more affordable. "You need all the bits and pieces, the sensor fusion, to get there," Richter said. "We benefit from consumer goods. We start fusing affordable IMUs with GNSS and can deliver additional benefits such as tilt compensation. For me that's just the begin- ning of sensor fusion. With re- gards to GNSS, the fusion of all global and regional navigation satellite systems is natural since it does not significantly drive up the receivers' costs and only adds benefits—it won't be a question of "Galileo, yes or no", it will just be there." The Future Now Last June, Leica Geosystems released its new Spider v7.0 software suite, now supporting all known GNSS constella- tions—GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo and also Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), as well as the GPS-L5 signal. "Today especially, our algorithms have to be smart," Richter said. "We call it 'self-learning GNSS'. We can really adapt to the situation on the fly and take whatever is best. Spider can select the best satellites in view based on geometry and signal strength and provide the best possible position to the customer." The company is clearly all-in when it comes to maximal exploitation of all available GNSS. Richter said he sees widespread availability of centimeter- accuracy positioning, everywhere, in the very near future. "It's very exciting, what we're trying to achieve here. It's happening," he said. The GSA has been always ready to support the RX manufacturers through different initiatives, such as workshops on Galileo's status, funding schemes and "facilitating networking and acting like a platform of interaction between the dif- ferent actors at the value chain." " THE PEOPLE FROM THE GSA ARE REALLY FANTASTIC. IT'S A GREAT ACHIEVEMENT. I CAN TELL YOU WE ARE ALL FEELING VERY CONFIDENT. I WAS THERE WHEN THEY PRESSED THE RED BUTTON IN BRUSSELS, AND I'M STILL A LITTLE PROUD TO BE EUROPEAN RIGHT NOW." LINKING SPACE TO USER NEEDS Bernhard Richter Leica Geosystems GNSS business director Photo courtesy of GSA.

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