New Satellite Navigation Service from Fugro

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oslo based navigation specialist Fugro Seastar AS has announced the introduction of a new service: SeaSTAR G2.

This new high performance navigation service combines the navigation satellites of both the American GPS constellation and the Russian GLONASS constellation, to produce a composite GPS/GLONASS position solution. The service utilizes Fugro’s own network of dual system reference stations to calculate ‘orbit and clock’ errors on a satellite by satellite basis for all 50 satellites of the two global navigation satellite systems thus providing consistent decimeter level accuracy positioning on a world-wide basis.

As well as broadcasting the correction signals, Fugro provides the ‘G2 Engine’ – end user position processing software, which is embedded in compatible receivers (such as the Kongsberg Seatex DPS232). At the present time the Russian GLONASS system does not offer full global coverage on a 24 hour basis, so in the Fugro system these satellites are used to supplement GPS, but when the Russian system does become fully available (which is expected by early 2011) it will be possible to select single system GPS or GLONASS modes for increased system independence.

Tor Melgard, R&D manager of the company states that: “as far as we know this is the first real-time, precise, orbit and clock solution developed by a commercial company for GLONASS and it is also the first combined orbit and clock GPS/GLONASS solution from any real time source. This achievement has been possible because of Fugro’s long experience in the field of precise satellite based positioning systems. The development of G2 has benefited from the close cooperation between Fugro Seastar and ESOC (European Space Operation Centre), a division of ESA (European Space Agency)”

Managing Director Arne Norum comments “although there may be some improvements in accuracy in comparison to single system services, this is not really the goal of G2. Our customers utilizing differential satellite navigation services are quite happy with existing accuracy. What they are seeking is improved service reliability and availability and this is what G2 offers. By using the full range of satellites from both the American and Russian systems we can ensure best possible service reception – even when satellite visibility is partially obstructed by large structures or ionospheric disturbances. You can easily imagine this occurring for example when a supply vessel is close to an offshore rig or platform. Use of more satellites also improves reliability by confirming data validity.” The company states that the G2 service has undergone extensive laboratory and field tests and will be available from 1st February 2009.

Fugro Seastar AS is a supplier of precise positioning services for offshore and marine markets. Based in Oslo, the company has a team of more than 30 specialist engineers and marketing staff with extensive experience of providing high performance navigation data services for marine users. The management team is led by Arne Norum as Managing Director together with Ole Ørpen Senior Scientist, Tor Melgard R&D Manager, Arvid Svenni Operations Manager, Bjorn Inge Nilsen Sales Manager and Haydn Jones Business Development Manager.

Fugro Seastar AS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fugro N.V with group headquarters in the Netherlands.


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