Michaël Mastier, EGNOS SDK Project Manager della Commissione Europea, ha risposto in esclusiva per Tuttoandroid ad alcune domande di cui vi forniamo l’intervista integrale in inglese.

I punti importanti sono sostanzialmente il fatto che il sistema EGNOS che permette di ridurre moltissimo i margini di errore della geo localizzazione con GPS sarà utilizzabile con tutti i sistemi, sia in Europa che anche negli Stati Uniti. La Commissione Europea ha sviluppato un Toolkit open source, che è già disponibile per gli sviluppatori sul sito di EGNOS e che senza dubbio permette di risparmiare tempo e fatica.

A quanto pare al momento i principali produttori non si sono ancora adeguati al nuovo sistema, ma c’è da scommettere che Samsung e HTC saranno tra i primi a voler offrire questo vantaggio di ultra precisione con i loro dispositivi.

Vi lascio all’intervista integrale (dopo il salto) sperando di avervi informato in esclusiva su un progetto interessante e tutto Europeo :-)

1. How is the EGNOS toolkit going to help Android applications developers?
The EGNOS toolkit aims at demonstrating in a seamless way the benefits of using EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service. EGNOS improves, for free, the GPS accuracy over Europe and gives also confidence on the quality of the location and of GPS satellites possible defaults. Basically, the EGNOS toolkit provides two means to use EGNOS corrections, either from the signal coming from the EGNOS satellite or from Sisnet, the service that provides the corrections over the Internet.

As implementing EGNOS in a smartphone requires specific skills in radionavigation, signal, geodesy etc., the European Commission has therefore decided to help developers saving time and energy by providing a free open-source toolkit composed of a demo app, the source code and the relevant documentation. This will give developers the means to develop innovative applications based on EGNOS.

Moreover, as EGNOS is fully interoperable with the American WAAS (that improves GPS over the USA), the EGNOS SDK can be used also in the USA.

2. Do you see a particular benefit in addressing Android platform?
Besides the fact that Android is the most sold platform in the world, it is also one of the most open and evolutionary platform. We therefore hope that Google will take the advantage of using the European radionavigation systems by integrating the source code proposed by the European Commission directly into the future versions of Android. As already said, the other advantage is that it would also directly work in the USA!

3. Who is already using EGNOS services (i.e. in smartphones-based applications)?
EGNOS is already present in numerous domains of application since its launch in 2009. For instance, farmers are using it for precision farming. It has also been certified for aviation landings and it is widespread in the maritime sector. In smartphones and handheld receivers, EGNOS is already there in some road navigators but it has a further great potential in LBS that smartphones manufacturers should take into account.

4. Do you plan to promote EGNOS services by the handset manufacturers (Samsung, iPhone, etc) to let them promote it or will you just interact with applications developers?
Actually we have 3 targets: 1) smartphones manufacturers to encourage them to include the source code into their OS to benefit for free from the EU radionavigation system EGNOS ; 2) applications developers that can easily reuse the source code and the demo app and play with them; 3) Students that want to know more about GPS and EGNOS.

Current GPS chips inside current smartphones do not allow the OS to access to GPS and EGNOS raw data. For the time being, the EGNOS SDK relies therefore on an external GPS/EGNOS uBlox receiver, connected in Bluetooth with the smartphone, to show its performances. That’s why promoting the EGNOS SDK among smartphones manufacturers is key for EGNOS penetration in LBS, to rely only on the internal GPS chip of the smartphone. But we are confident since there is a general trend to make use as much as possible of the different radionavigation systems provided in the world, like recently with the iPhone 4S being GPS+GLONASS (the Russian system) enabled.

5. Do you plan to promote EGNOS features and benefit to the general public so that when they buy a smartphone they will want it in?
Of course ! We are communicating a lot to promote EGNOS in the press to reach the general public, but also in conferences and specialised press for specific domains like transport or agriculture.

6. Have you got a Smartphone? If yes, which model?
Yes indeed. I currently use an iPhone 3GS and a Samsung Nexus S

7. Did you ever tried an Android phone?
Yes. It’s amazing how, in a very short time, Android has been grabbing such a share of the global market. I’m sure that next generation of Android smartphones will be even more precise location-wise, in particular by relying on EGNOS.

A questo indirizzo inoltre, potete leggere il comunicato stampa ufficiale.

Mikhael ©