GPS (US), GLONASS (Russia) and the other regional systems (e.g. BeiDou) are military systems under military control – indeed they provide a civil service but that civil service could be either switched off or made less precise when desired e.g. in case of conflict.

European independence is the chief reason for taking this major step. However, by being interoperable with GPS and GLONASS, Galileo will also be, in a very real way, the new cornerstone of a new system of the global navigation satellite systems. Galileo will henceforth be under civilian control. And with its full complement of satellites, more than the current GNSS systems, Galileo will allow positions to be determined accurately even in high-rise cities, where buildings obscure signals from today's satellites.

Galileo IOV satellite

Galileo IOV satellite (Credit: ESA - P.Carril)

Galileo will also offer several signal enhancements making the signal more easy to track and acquire and more resistant against interference and reflections. European GNSS will deliver much more precise and much more reliable services than the American and Russian systems. This means Galileo (and EGNOS) will make possible a whole new and virtually limitless range of ‘reliability-critical' services, applications and business opportunities.

In addition, Galileo will improve the overall availability and coverage of GNSS signals. Thanks to the location and inclination of the satellites, Galileo will achieve a better coverage at high latitudes than other systems.

So, with Galileo, Europe and the world will be able to exploit the opportunities provided by satellite navigation to a much fuller extent than currently possible. As a consequence, European and global GNSS receiver and equipment manufacturers, application providers and service operators will all benefit from novel business opportunities.

Galileo in short: precision, availability, coverage

  • Precision : By combining the use of other GNSS signals with Galileo the higher number of satellites available to the user will offer higher precision. From most locations, six to eight Galileo satellites will be visible which, in combination with GPS signals, will allow positions to be determined up to within a few centimetres.
  • Availability : The high number of satellites will also improve the availability of the signals in high-rise cities, where buildings can obstruct signals from satellites that are low on the horizon.
  • Coverage: Galileo will also provide a better coverage at high latitudes than GPS, thanks to the location and inclination of the satellites.


GNSS.asia is funded by the European Union within Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, under grant agreement no 641615.