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EU improves GPS accuracy with new Internet service

European Commission vice president Antonio Tajani has unveiled a new service intended to make satellite data more reliable.

The European Data Access Service (EDAS) will make data from the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) available on the Internet. As a result, people will be able to access this GPS data from hand-held devices, Tajani said. This will improve the accuracy of things like high-precision fertiliser spraying, automatic road-tolling, fleet management, inland waterway navigation, dangerous goods transportation, or accurate area measurement.

"This third EGNOS service once again proves the European Commission's commitment to delivering improved services to the EU's businesses and citizens," Tajani said in a statement. "So much of our day-to-day private and business lives are dependent on satellite navigation technology. With EDAS, we have a reliable performance level which can in turn support the creation of new and innovative products and thus help to overcome the current economic crisis."

EGNOS taps into 40 ranging and integrity monitoring stations (RIMS) across Europe, which receive signals from US GPS satellites. Six navigation stations manage the data, which is sent to three satellite transponders for distribution to users. EGNOS corrects errors caused by atmospheric disturbances for more accurate GPS data.

According to the Commission, EDAS will make sure that users can access EGNOS data even if the EGNOS satellite signal in space is unavailable - due to a signal obstruction in urban areas, for example.

"EDAS provides the same information as EGNOS, with the addition of extra data, enabling the creation of new and innovative products and services," the Commission said.