The EUPOS program was launched in March 2002, an initiative workshop/conference organized by the Department for Urban Development of the Senate in Berlin, supported by the European Academy for Urban Environments (EA.UE) in Berlin, Germany. Participants of the Berlin workshop decided to form a financial/management board, whose members would be representatives of countries that are interested in establishing a multifunctional DGNSS system of reference stations. Since then, eighteen conferences of the EUPOS Steering Committee have been held, which were devoted to discussing the practical aspects of establishing a multifunctional network of GNSS reference stations in Central and Eastern Europe, issues of standards, project organization and financial support for the implementation of the Project. As of May 2012, the following countries participate in the EUPOS Project: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia (FYROM), Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine and the German Land Administration from Berlin, as chair. Slovenia has an observer status. The number of countries has been growing lately: new countries, even from West Asia, intend to establish the EUPOS network. At the last International Governing Board conferences, Azerbaijan is considering adopting EUPOS standards and membership. Based on this, the number of planned EUPOS stations is increasing significantly.
The European Positioning System EUPOS is at the same time an international initiative and project on the establishment and provision of basic infrastructure, in particular for the positioning and navigation in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), which is realized through terrestrial multifunctional DGNSS systems of reference stations and services in the participating countries, where the adopted uniform standards are used. EUPOS terrestrial system for amplifying GNSS signal will cover about 25 % of the territory of the European Union and over 60% of the territory of the entire Europe. Taking into account the European part of the territory of Russia on which this infrastructure will be established, EUPOS will be implemented over the territory of about 10 million square kilometers.
On 12 November 2003, representatives of the International Steering Board of the EUPOS held consultations in Brussels with the Galileo Joint Venture and the European Commission's EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The objectives of the consultation included informing the EC in relation to the EUPOS Project, its organization, standards and services, links to the European Galileo project and the expected benefits for all participating countries. Positive aspects are defined in terms of short-term (2.5 – 3 years) project realization, the fact that the Project encompasses a significant part of the territory of Europe and the fact that the organizational structure of the project is already available. Negatives include the high costs of the project and the fact that not all participating countries in the Project have the opportunity to apply for financial support from an EU program. It was recommended to reduce the overall cost of the project (primarily by reducing the number of stations planned) and it was suggested to apply for financial support from various EU programs: ERDF – for EU Member States, ISPA – for candidate countries for EU accession; CARDS – for the countries of the Balkans; TACIS – for the Russian Federation.
EUPOS provides DGNSS data correction for real-time positioning and navigation, as well as GNSS data retrieval for post-processing. EUPOS has the capability to support precise positioning and navigation with high accuracy (meter, decimeter, centimeter in real time and centimeter and below centimeter in post-processing), with guaranteed availability and quality. EUPOS does not depend on the solutions by private companies and only uses international standards and open standards.
Progress in the implementation of the EUPOS system varies across Member States, bearing in mind that it depends to a large extent on the available financial resources. The number of planned and currently active EUPOS stations in individual countries can be viewed on the websites of individual countries.
The EUPOS project was presented at several regional workshops and international meetings of experts covering the use and application of GNSS, which were organized by the UNOOSA Office since 2001 through joint sponsorship with the US Government. In international workshops, the implementation of project proposals from a number of GNSS meetings was considered, in the light of defining the priorities of the projects that UNOOSA will support. EUPOS has been identified as one of the priority projects offered. UNOOSA is pleased to point out that EUPOS would be the first terrestrial GNSS infrastructure at the regional level and that EUPOS significantly improves the scope and utilization of GNSS, as well as its scientific, social and economic benefits. It was also indicated that EUPOS would represent a good model for other regions in the development of their GNSS infrastructure.
The EUPOS project management is handled by:
The International Steering Committee of EUPOS with its office (ISCO, Berlin) was established at the first Workshop held in Berlin in March 2002. The ISC's core tasks are: coordination of project activities and management, agreements with National Service Centers (NSC) and producers, information distribution, EUPOS workshops and symposium organization, resolving technical issues and standardization, organization and coordination of software and hardware testing and country support in the training of technical staff. EUPOS ISC has the right to initiate close co-operation between EUPOS and other organizations.
EUPOS National Service Centers (NSCs) are established in each EUPOS country. They participate in the planning, establishment and maintenance of a national EUPOS network. In addition to these activities, the most important tasks of EUPOS service centers include: contact with the EUPOS International Steering Committee and its office, coordinating the interests and activities of national institutions and other government bodies, verifying the integrity of the network, testing software and hardware in agreement with the EUPOS International Steering Committee and their own interests, provision of adequate information for users on the status of the network, organizing courses of education and training for technical staff and users, transfer of international trends in development and contributing the EUPOS development.
The EUPOS national service centers will have adequate communication links with EUPOS reference stations and the necessary computing facilities and equipment. They need to have a highly qualified, competent and motivated staff at their disposal.
Bearing in mind that the existing international technical standards for DGNSS do not meet all the requirements of the EUPOS community, the ISC has followed the requirements of the international industry of GNSS equipment and organized the establishment of the EUPOS Working Group on Technical Cooperation with Industry (TCI). In 2006, EUPOS became a member of the Radio-Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) and participated in Special Committee 104 (RTCM SC 104), which defines DGNSS guidelines in real time.
The TCI is tasked to ensure the exchange of information between industry and EUPOS providers in order to encourage the smooth development and the establishment of national EUPOS reference stations in an agreed manner. The TCI considers technical improvements as well as user requirements and performs its activities under the supervision of the ISC.
Furthermore, in 2006, the ISC established the EUPOS Working Group for System Quality, Integrity and Interference Tracking (SQII). The working group on SQII is responsible for ensuring a high level of quality of EUPOS work and service of at the international level, defining technical guidelines for quality and standards and monitoring their application in national EUPOS segments, as well as documenting the configurations and status of networks and stations. Based on the recommendations of the UN GNSS Action Team, the SQII provides support to the development of a methodology and software for the effective monitoring of quality, disruptions and integrity. Like the TCI, SQII reports on the results of its work to the ISC.
In order to expand EUPOS activities beyond technical realization, in October 2006, the EUPOS Interregional Cooperation (EUPOS - IRC) project was launched, which was adopted as an operation under the INTERREG IIIC European Union Program. The main objectives of this operation are identification, presentation and launching opportunities and benefits from the use and application of GNSS technology in the field of regional development, on establishing long-term cross-border cooperation between experts in the field of GNSS and geoinformation regional experts for policy and stakeholders.
EUPOS cooperates with EUREF, and the EUPOS ISC and EUREF Technical Working Group members exchange their participation in conferences and meetings.
EUPOS participates in the work of ICG (International Committee for Global Navigation Satellite Systems) as Associate Member. Representatives of the ISC attend all international ICG conferences.
EUPOS and EGNOS cooperation: EGNOS has become a basic tool for more precise positioning than the GPS itself. Its use in various positioning activities is experiencing ever-increasing prevalence. Although it covers most of the territory of Europe, EGNOS has some restrictions on the coverage of parts of Eastern Europe.
The EUPOS signal amplifier system has become the basic tool for geodetic purposes, cadastre and survey in the countries of Eastern Europe. EUPOS is a growing network, which overrides certain "white spots" in areas with limited GSM coverage.
The distance between the stations is approximately 70 km, depending on the topography. Densely populated areas may also require higher density. Existing reference station systems (eg EUREF, IGS) should be connected or included.
Station coordinates are determined with high precision in the ETRS 89 system as well as in conventional geodetic referencing systems by linking to the EUREF points, as well as to other control networks in countries.
EUPOS today uses the Global Positioning System (NAVSTAR-GPS) signals and the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) as the main signals, however, the EUPOS will use the Galileo signal as the base standard as soon as it becomes available, while NAVSTAR-GPS and GLONASS will be used as optional, additional signals at that time.
Regular use of reference stations from neighboring countries in the border zones will be taken into account. The reference stations will be interconnected, even across borders.
All participating countries will adhere to uniform standards and/or will develop their multifunctional systems so that they are fully compatible with the future European GALILEO system.
There will be several levels of RTK and post-processing services for geodetic positioning and land, air and maritime navigation. The multifunctional permanent DGNSS service EUPOS will maintain the following sub-services:
EUPOS DGNSS for DGNSS applications in real time or for post-processing through code and code-phase measurements with accuracy of meters or better;
EUPOS RTK for DGNSS applications in real time by measuring the carrier phase with centimeter accuracy;
EUPOS Geodesic for DGNSS application of phase measurements in static or kinematic mode with centimeter or better accuracy.
Quality management will guarantee a minimum level of 99% of service availability and the integrity of the EUPOS system. The failures automatically activate the alarm plan, which triggers the appropriate corrective measures. Depending on the needs, data connections, computers, transmitters, etc. are transferred and other reference stations are temporarily used as primary reference stations for obtaining corrections.
More details about the EUPOS project can be found on the website: www.eupos.org
Information on the status of establishing reference networks in some European countries can be found on the following websites: