EUSPA launches new EGNOS Safety of Life Assisted Service for Maritime Users

Wednesday, March 13, 2024
ESMAS SDD Cover Page

EGNOS, Europe's regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS), is adding a new service to its repertoire: The EGNOS Safety of Life Assisted Service for Maritime Users (ESMAS). 

“Although GNSS is the primary means of obtaining positioning, navigation and timing information while at sea, these signals must be augmented using ground-based signals like DGNSS,” explains EUSPA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa. “Designed to complement ground-based augmented signals, ESMAS adds another layer of protection against errors while also increasing the accuracy and ensuring the integrity of the GNSS signal.”

DGNSS, short for Differential Global Navigation Satellite System, is an enhancement to GNSS that was developed to correct errors and inaccuracies in the GNSS system and thus allow for more accurate positioning information.

“ESMAS takes this one step further, providing an augmentation solution even in areas where DGNSS services are unavailable, not deployed or are out of the maritime user’s range,” adds da Costa.

Because it does not require any additional infrastructure, ESMAS is well-positioned to support navigation in ocean and coastal waters, including harbour approaches and entrances. All that is needed to utilise the service is an SBAS-enabled GNSS receiver developed according to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards.  With such a receiver onboard, a vessel can navigate with increased accuracy and can receive alerts signalling errors on  GNSS with the objective to avoid unsafe situation. Furthermore, EGNOS interfaces NAVAREA coordinators, to timely provide Maritime Safety Information (MSI) - the navigational warnings and other urgent safety related messages - that could be broadcast to the ships using conventional channels.

Although the service targets merchant vessels, the ESMAS signal is available free of charge to all SOLAS-conforming vessels from EU Member States, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

The ESMAS offers a service tailored to maritime users to enable marine navigation in harbour entrances, harbour approaches and coastal waters of the European Union Member States and EGNOS contributing countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) in line with the IMO Resolution A.1046.

Expanding the EGNOS service portfolio

Used to improve the performance of global navigation satellite systems like Galileo and GPS, EGNOS provides several navigation services to the aviation, maritime, rail, surveying and agriculture sectors, along with a range of land-based users.

The new ESMAS is in addition to the already available EGNOS Open Service, which is used by mass-market receivers and common user applications; the EGNOS Data Access Service (EDAS), which offers ground-based access to EGNOS data through the internet; and the Safety of Life Service (SoL), which is used for safety-critical aviation applications that require enhanced, guaranteed performance and an integrity warning system.  

Unlike these other EGNOS services, which are delivered by ESSP under a contract with EUSPA, ESMAS will be delivered directly by EUSPA.

The EDAS and Maritime Website, contains real-time service performance, and information about the service’s historical performance, along with all relevant documentation (e.g., SDD, Service Notices, etc.). Users can also pose questions related to the service via the site’s Helpdesk contact form. For urgent issues, a 24/7 hotline is available.  

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