United Nations Argentina workshop on the applications of GNSS

Jul 2018 | No Comment

As part of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, a United Nations/Argentina workshop on the applications of global navigation satellite systems was organized by the Office for Outer Space Affairs in cooperation with the National Commission for Space Activities (Comision Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, CONAE) of Argentina. The Workshop was held at the Centro Espacial Teofilo Tabanera, a facility of CONAE, in Falda del Carmen, Argentina, from 19 to 23 March 2018. It was co-sponsored by the European Union and the United States of America through ICG. The European Space Agency (ESA) is also co-sponsored the workshop.

At the opening of the workshop, introductory and welcoming statements were made by the Secretary General of CONAE and by the representatives of ICG and ESA as co-sponsors, and by the representative of the Office for Outer Space Affairs.

The Deputy Technical and Administrative Director of CONAE delivered the keynote presentation focusing on CONAE’s actions and projects that were developed in accordance with the national space programme, materialized through Earth observation, exploration and peaceful uses of outer space, and technological developments for space use, which was periodically updated and extended to ensure that it suits the socioeconomic and productive requirements of the country.

The workshop technical sessions promoted productive discussions among participants, and covered a wide range of topics related to GNSS technology: (1) overview of GNSS in operation and development; (2) GNSS reference frames and reference station networks; (3) implementation of GNSS technology; (4) GNSS applications; (5) space weather; (6) capacity-building, education and training in the field of GNSS; (7) international and regional experiences of the use and implementation of GNSS technologies; and (8) national GNSS programmes.

During the workshop, a one day and half seminar on “GNSS spectrum protection and interference detection and mitigation” was organized. The purpose of the seminar was to highlight the importance of GNSS spectrum protection at the national level and explain how to reap the benefits of GNSS. Specific presentations that demonstrated GNSS jamming and spoofing were carried out.

Additionally two discussions sessions were held, where participants were split in three working groups to exchange views on: (1) capacity-building and institutional strengthening; (2) geodetic reference network; (3) specific GNSS applications. The discussion sessions were preceded by a presentation on the publication entitled “European Global Navigation Satellite System and Copernicus: Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals” (ST/ SPACE/71) that was jointly prepared by the Office for Outer Space Affairs and the European GNSS Agency (GSA).

The programme was developed by the Office for Outer Space Affairs and CONAE in cooperation with ICG and ESA.

The presentations made at the workshop, abstracts of the papers given and the workshop programme and background materials are available on the website of the Office for Outer Space Affairs at: http:// schedule/ 2018/2018-workshop-on-globalnavigation- satellite-systems_-presentations. html. The following 22 Member States were represented at the workshop: Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Russian Federation, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the United States of America and Venezuela. The European Union and the European Space Agency were also represented. Representatives of the Office for Outer Space Affairs also participated.


The workshop addressed the use of GNSS for various applications that provide sustainable social and economic benefits, in particular for developing countries. Current and planned projects that use GNSS technology for both practical applications and scientific explorations were presented.

Two discussion sessions were held as part of the workshop. During the first, three working groups met in parallel to discuss the following themes: (1) capacity building and institutional strengthening; (2) geodetic reference network; and (3) GNSS applications. During the second, the groups presented the results of their deliberations and formulated a common plan of action for the region. The participants put forward a number of observations and recommendations, which are summarized below:

Capacity-building and institutional strengthening

The working group on capacity building and institutional strengthening held discussions in GNSS education and training, as well as on the appropriate format for a regional network that would enable the creation of partnerships in the use of GNSS and related applications, including space weather and its effects on GNSS operations.

The working group recognized the need to continue building national and regional expertise through the long and shortterm training courses and education offered by the regional centre for space science and technology education for Latin America and the Caribbean, affiliated to the United Nations, and also through other academic and thematic centres of excellence worldwide.

Geodetic reference network

The working group on geodetic reference network held discussions on geodetic reference frames, noting the United Nations resolution on a global geodetic reference frame (GGRF) for sustainable development adopted by the General Assembly on 26 February 2015 (A/RES/69/266). The working group recognized:

(a) The importance of GGRF for developing and improving the global spatial infrastructure (GSDI) in support of sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development;

(b) The effort committed by the Latin America and the Caribbean countries for deploying, maintaining and continuously improving their GNSS networks for the GGRF realization at national level;

(c) The success achieved by SIRGAS in coordinating the operation of the GNSS networks at regional level, and in processing the GNSS data to provide the community with a GNSS-based regional realization of the GGRF;

(d) The existence in Latin America and the Caribbean of other observing infrastructures that could enhance the current GNSS-based GGRF regional realization, namely:

i. Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) stations in Arequipa, Peru (in partnership between Peru and the United States of America), in San Juan, Argentina (in partnership between Argentina and China) and Brasilia, Brazil (in partnership between Brazil and the Russian Federation); and a very-longbaseline interferometry (VLBI) station in Fortaleza, Brazil (in partnership between Brazil and the United States of America);

ii. the Argentina – German Geodetic Observatory that colocated SLR, VLBI and GNSS;

(e) The need of deepen the geodetic knowledge installed in the region to reach the highest international standards related to GGRF realization.

The working group recommended to develop a capacity building activity (with the assistance of international experts in the subject matter) to process and analyse SLR and VLBI data in combination with GNSS data and that this activity would be carried out at regional level in order to maximize the participation of representatives from the Latin America and the Caribbean countries.

Based on the above mentioned considerations and recognizing that in spite of the progress achieved in the region, either in the availability of GNSS observing stations as well as in the data analysis capabilities, the need for geodetic training at a more basic level than stated in the previous recommendation still persists in several countries of the region.

Considering the above stated, the working groups recommended:

(a) To implement capacity-building through training courses designated to space agencies especially geared towards the best use of georeferencing in the production of spatial information (for example, images, statistics, etc.), highlighting the infrastructure available in the region;

(b) To provide assistance for the acquisition, deployment and operation of GNSS networks in countries that still lack them or need to improve them;

(c) To provide assistance for the installation of the vertical component of the GGRF;

(d) To implement an outreach programme to promote the use of the SIRGAS observational infrastructure for applications complementary to the GGRF realization, for example, space weather, water vapour monitoring, augmented navigation assessment (space-based augmentation systems (SBAS) or ground-based augmentation systems), image processing;

(e) To encourage all geodesic data producing agencies to implement open access policies for their data.

The working group also recommended to prepare a proposal for a pilot project aiming to augment the existing GNSS networks in order to transmit real time differential corrections for multi-purpose applications

GNSS applications

The working group on GNSS applications structured the discussion at three different levels: scientific and technical, organizational, and specific applications. Synergies between the different levels were also considered.

At scientific and technical level, it was recommended:

(a) To consider the incorporation of multiple constellations into SBAS, which might have an impact across different services, in particular, civil aviation, and benefits to other sectors;

(b) To consider increasing the number of an international satellite-based search and rescue (COSPAS-SARSAT) stations for search and rescue applications;

(c) To organize a workshop on disaster management using the enhanced capabilities of GNSS, COSPASSARSAT, and earth observation.

At organizational level, it was recommended to create an inventory of equipment, applications and services, and capacity-building opportunities that were available in the region.

This inventory could be used to enhance the communication between institutions in the region. The complete report can be seen at psa/schedule/2018/GNSS-unargentina- workshop.html

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