EGNOS guides Europe’s emergency services

Antennas on EC155

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19 July 2007

Accurate information about the location of aircraft, ships, trains and other forms of transport is vital in today’s busy world. For example, helicopters that rescue accident victims in the mountains need to find the hospital landing pad, even if it is foggy or snowing and the pilot cannot see very far. EGNOS is a European system that makes satellite navigation accurate and reliable enough to do this.

EGNOS is made up of three geostationary satellites and a network of more than forty ground stations all over Europe. Four control centres check the accuracy of the positional measurements sent by each GPS satellite. This information is then relayed to user’s receivers via the three communications satellites. The EGNOS information gives a position accuracy of better than two metres, compared with 5 to 10 metres for GPS alone.

EGNOS has been fully operational since October 2009. It is particularly valuable for emergency services. These include search and rescue in mountains, and use by fire brigades, ambulances, police forces, and disaster relief workers.

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