The receiver will, at first, use the signals of the GPS satellites, but is fully prepared for the new Galileo network which is still under construction. As soon as Galileo becomes operational, the firmware of the u-blox 5 can be updated and the new signal can be used.
The technological progress of positioning systems is progressing rapidly, and the borders of the current GPS system are still being explored. One of the last developments in that area is the already much renowned SiRF Star III PND chipset, which enables these devices to locate their position quicker and more accurately than was the case with older chipsets.
Once Galileo becomes operational, the progress in this area will become much clearer. The u-blox 5 chipset, using Galileo, will use no less than 50 channels to determine it’s position. Compare: the SiRF Star III can use a maximum of ‘only’ 20 channels. With the use of these 50 channels and no less than 1 million correlations, the u-blox will always manage to get a fix in less than one second. As well as GPS and Galileo, the u-blox chipset also functions with WAAS, EGNOS and MSAS.
GalileoIf it all keeps going to plan, Galileo should become operational in 2008. It will require 30 satellites in total, 27 of those permanently operational, and 3 used as spares. In December last year, the first (test) satellite was launched. Galileo is a project by the European Union and is meant to replace (and improve) the existing GPS systems. This latter system is a US system which was originally created for military purposes. But today, anyone can use it, and it is the base for the current navigational systems as we know them today.
Galileo improves GPS in several areas, eg. a better positioning and a better fix in areas close to the North or the South pole. With the current GPS system, the North of Scandinavia is badly covered. Also new with Galileo is that two-way traffic between the satellites and the user on earth becomes possible. This could be a way that distress signals are transmitted, and help rescue workers quite a bit. But we also have to be honest: this also means that this could lead to the active tracking of a persons’ every move…