EGNSS applications fostering societal resilience and protecting the environment

The aim of this topic is to develop innovative EGNSS applications to support societal resilience, safeguard the wellbeing of EU citizens, improve emergency and disaster management as a response to climate related, natural and man-made disasters and ensure green growth that protect the environment while generating economic growth.

The challenge is to make these applications more affordable, easy to use and integrated with other solutions and technologies, including for example earth observation, e.g. Copernicus services, in order to enable new targeted innovative solutions.

The following specific challenges are covered by this topic:

  • EGNSS is offering additional accuracy and features, such as the Search and Rescue service (SAR). The current SAR service, provided free of charge by Cospas-Sarsat to national Rescue Coordination Centres, is used by about one million beacon owners for maritime, aviation and leisure applications and over the last 30 years has on average contributed to saving 1300 lives per year. Galileo Forward Link Service initial service was declared operational in 2016 and the unique Return Link service is planned to be launched in 2018, delivering acknowledgement of reception of the distress alarm. Emergency services, disaster early detection and efficient management can also benefit from increased accuracy and added value provided by other sensors.
  • The power networks, telecommunication networks and financial transactions are today synchronised, many of them using GNSS. These networks are becoming more and more distributed (e.g. distributed power generation of renewable energies), interconnected and more demanding in terms of synchronisation performances (e.g. in 4G-LTE and future internet), or requiring authenticated solutions as for the financial transaction time stamping. The specific challenge is in this case to build on the enhanced capabilities offered by Galileo that will provide high accurate timing information and authentication services, to develop a new generation of high performing, reliable and EU independent timing and synchronisation applications that can cope with these emerging and demanding needs. Integrity and trustworthiness of the synchronization mechanism offered by GNSS should also be addressed.
  • Precision agriculture, mapping and surveying have been the pioneers in the use of GNSS since the early years. Innovative EGNSS applications in agriculture and surveying should take into account the possibility to minimise the adverse consequences of climate change and the impact on the environment (e.g. fertiliser use and air quality). Other EGNSS differentiators, like multiple frequencies and the high precision service in the frame of the future commercial service are contributing to enabling EGNSS innovative solutions, including in challenging environments.


Proposals may address social and professional applications. Promising areas of activities are:

  • Applications supporting e-health, safety and emergency management.
  • Search and Rescue applications, including tracking of distress situations and response management.
  • Emergency and disaster management
  • Management and related operation of critical infrastructure (e.g. electricity network, telecommunication networks, financial transactions), timing and synchronisation.
  • Efficient Agriculture: Automated machine guidance, precision farming and machine control.
  • Surveying and Mapping: Land survey, marine survey, cadastral and geodesy, and construction.

For all the professional areas, the development and innovation should build on:

  • Multiple-frequencies E1, E5 and E6;
  • Galileo specific signal modulation, e.g. AltBOC;
  • High precision and authentication services that will be provided by Galileo, i.e. in the frame of the commercial service;
  • Fusion with other data, such as from EO satellites or other in-situ sensors.

Actions should deliver new innovative applications, with commercial
impact and a clear market uptake perspective. EGNSS should be part and parcel of the envisaged solution(s). However, where a combination of EGNSS with other technologies is required to make the application(s) work, this is not excluded from the scope.

In projects to be funded under this topic participation of industry, in particular SMEs, is encouraged.

Proposals addressing PRS (Public Regulated Service) related applications are not in the scope
of this action.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

This topic contributes to the Horizon 2020 focus area "Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union ".

Expected Impact

  • Development of highly innovative applications taking advantage of Galileo and EGNOS differentiators in order to decrease the barriers to access such professional applications, reduce the price and increase the effectiveness of the solution, facilitate its use and increase the number of users.
  • Proposals addressing Galileo SAR service should leverage the Forward and Return Link Services to improve the users’ safety and efficiency of the rescue activity by reducing the time to accurately locate the distress alert.
  • Emergency and disaster management applications should target integration of different sensors and position sources to identify, locate and react in critical situations, as well as delivering efficient response to ensure the wellbeing of citizens and monitor the infrastructure.
  • The expected impact of innovative GNSS applications in agriculture is to improve the productivity and decrease the negative environmental impact.
  • Timing and synchronisation applications should contribute to cope with emerging network synchronisation needs in terms of accuracy and robustness, while improving EU dependency from other GNSS.

Cross-cutting Priorities

Socio-economic science and humanities

Application date
Social sciences : Sociology
Other : Physics, mathematics and engineering