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back to article UK.gov on Galileo: We can't stop it, just sign the cheque

The British government has responded to MPs' concerns regarding the ongoing Galileo Euro sat nav programme. In the view of Her Majesty's ministers the scheme can't be stopped, so there isn't much point arguing about it. MPs on the parliamentary transport committee last year handed Galileo a slamming in their report into the …

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Anonymous Coward

Shame

They could have spent the money on continued participation in Gemini...

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Happy

Euro-humour?

I'm wondering if the fact that they're now spending Farming subsidies on Pork is an attempt at wry humour by someone involved in this ongoing white elephant budget spat.

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Why not

Lets have a duplicate internet, exactly the same as the current internet but running alongside doing exactly the same thing, only difference paid for by the tax payers of Europe.

Lets not stop there what else 'needs' duplicating so that more tax money can be wasted.

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Galileo Figaro. Spare him his life from this monstrosity..

An amazing, secret and prevalent (possibly illegal) A.I. is responsible for setting default settings for the direction of Western Civilisation. Thus, the machine mind is stepping up its bid for power by arranging space to be populated by electronic cohorts.

I for one fully support the machines in their nascent takeover. They couldn't possibly run the planet worse than humans (destroying the planet is the only box we haven't yet ticked), and they might well be a lot better. Galileo for PM!

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@ Anonynous Coward

[You wanted to keep Gemini telescopes] It's not a shame to spend the combined gnp of South America on Galileo. Only my mum watches stars through telescopes. Whereas we ALL need car satnav, and good directions when invading new countries.

Where's your sense, man, SENSE.

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Coat

Pot-Kettle?

MPs on the parliamentary transport committee ... said "the Galileo programme provides a textbook example of how not to run large-scale infrastructure projects"."

Really? Well I suppose that British MPs would have ample experience in how not to run large-scale infrastructure projects, so they'd be the best qualified to make that judgement.

Hypocrites.

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Go

Worst Case

Galileo sattelites start crashing into GPS satellites, effectively blinding much of the worlds transport navigation system

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MPs concerned over big budget white elephant?

Why have these MPs suddenly roused from their slumbers to attack Gallileo? There are plenty of homegrown projects that can provide "a textbook example of how not to run large-scale infrastructure projects", such as ID cards, NHS IT, PFI, etc ad-nauseum. At least Gallileo has a clearly defined end-product that cannot easily be fudged. Is this just a bit of opportunistic EU bashing?

It would have been useful if the article actually specified the original estimates and ongoing revisions that the MPs are so concerned about, along with some comparisons with other (better managed?) projects.

As for the benefits of the system, surely the biggest is removing the ability of a single government to block access an increasingly critical tool?

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In other news......

President Bush signs an emergency decree that GPS will be rendered useless as it's being used by terrorists......

Case made I think!

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Why not GPS?

Wouldn't it be easier to just add some more GPS satellites controlled by EU instead of US? Everybody uses GPS anyway...

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Galileo belongs...

In Jupiter orbit where it served quite well as an orbiting observatory (until they crashed it). Jeez, this must be another project from the redundant office of redundancy. They would be better if they did the "right thing" and sent the money over here to the USA and helped pay for the GPS they already have. Look, we could use the money, our $$$ is worth less every day, and at around $2 to £1 it would be a bargain!!

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Unhappy

Why not invest in GPS instead of wasting money on exactly the same system.

If galileo works exactly the same as US GPS and will work with it why not just invest a quarter of the estimated price for galileo in GPS's new system, or is that just too sensible ?

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Compatibility

Will people who have already purchased satnav products be able to use them with the new system? (Assuming it ever gets off the ground and assuming it happens in the next few years)

The Penguin - cause it's cute.

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@Name Given

"Lets have a duplicate internet, exactly the same as the current internet but running alongside doing exactly the same thing..."

Isn't that what the internet is - lots of networks all doing the same thing.

"Lets not stop there what else 'needs' duplicating so that more tax money can be wasted"

Governments, Courts, Military, Research & Development - all duplicated functions that are costing us money. Should we scrap them and join a Federal Europe, become a client state of the US or convert the UN into a world government, just to save a few quid?

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Eggs & Baskets

Anyone with half a brain knows you don't put all your eggs in one basket, especially when the basket is in the hands of the playground bully.

Oh, wait! We're talking MPs here.

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Anonymous Coward

Galileo vs GPS

"Wouldn't it be easier to just add some more GPS satellites controlled by EU instead of US? Everybody uses GPS anyway..."

Why not make something better?

"They would be better if they did the "right thing" and sent the money over here to the USA and helped pay for the GPS they already have."

We do already. When you make more US$ pulled from your ass, you dilute your debts, a lot of which we hold. That line shooting up on the first graph on this page is not a good sign:

http://www.nowandfutures.com/articles/20060426M3b,_repos_&_Fed_watching.html

"Will people who have already purchased satnav products be able to use them with the new system?"

Can your single band GSM work on triband networks? Things get better so will Satnav via Galileo.

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Yes. Road pricing anyone ?

I was reading a few months ago that the [current] gps system was inadequate for road-pricing. The signal was not strong enough for use in large towns and hilly areas. Looks like that problem is about to be solved then.

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Anonymous Coward

How bad can it be?

"the Galileo programme provides a textbook example of how not to run large-scale infrastructure projects". this from a bunch of mps who wouldn't know a well run IT project if it bit them in the backside.

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Seems like a reasonable scheme to me

The EU can well afford it, and diverting money from the effin farmers sounds like an ideal way to do it.

Given the scale of use of GPS, it isn't a bright idea in my book to leave it under the control of any single state, and especially not the US.

Plus it's great that the EU has developed a way to avoid consulting those bloody brits, who are self-evidently too stupid to have a constructive opinion on anything.

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LoL

Well, even if Galileo is a waste of space, at least it'll keep our boffins busy, and it's given us all a good laugh.

Why should MPs get so excited, about how Europe spends it's old farm subsidies? It's not like ID cards, and IT infrastructure for the NHS/MOD has us singing their praises.

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Worst thing is...

...for the cost of one NorthernRock bailout the UK could have launched its own constellation

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Pirate

Why Galileo instead of GPS?

Simple. Not invented here syndrome. Both sides of the Atlantic are polished practioners of the art. Its been happening in medicine since forever (well, ~200 years which is how long the USA has been in existence or thereabouts).

Personally, I think that anything that involves the incumbent UK government is doomed to be an abject failure. They couldn't run a chimps tea party if their lives depended on it.

As a committed Europhobe I welcome European integration simply to get rid of these bar stewards. Anything, really, would be better.

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Happy

the more, the merrier

given the (accelerating) rate GPS usage is increasing, a backup system, even if it provided no clear increase in performance (which just by virtue of having more satellites up there it certainly will) is IMHO absolutely vital - most especially one under a different government(s). course I won't be one of those paying for it...

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Galileo != GPS

Galileo has some similarities to GPS in the way the technology works, but a GPS receiver will not track Galileo unless it has been designed to do so.

Galileo and GPS use different signal encoding methods which means that GPS capable devices cannot track Galileo unless designed specifically for dual tracking. The Galileo encoding methods are far more complex than the GPS ones meaning that it is harder (and more expensive and more power hungry) to make Galileo chipsets than GPS ones.

As it is, GPS is better than most people need most of the time and Galileo buys nothing except for independence from USA. Yes, El Prez could do a nutter and turn off GPS above Europe in the case of some hostility etc, but then he could just as easily turn on Galieleo jammers/spoofers. Thus, independence is imagined rather than real.

There is nothing really magic about Galileo, it still relies on the physics of radio propagation and still suffers deadspots/reflections etc just as GPS does. and is also jammable.

Trying to draw parallels with GSM and Tri-band is broken. Cell phones require extra bands etc to be able to pack in more calls. Galileo and GPS are broadcast signals and thus don't max out with many concurrent users.

The major reason that Galileo drags its heals is that there is no compelling reason to have it. Even the GPS refresher programmes are stalled/stalling because the current system is more than adequate for most users. It is just too hard to justify extra expenditure to support a very small number of people that are not served by GPS as it is today.

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Flame

Military independence

Everyone seems to be avoiding mentioning that they simply don't trust the Americans and GPS. GPS works for Europe only as much as Bush (or Clinton, etc....) allows it to. There is no way European nations will allow their militaries to be subject to a white house veto forever: e.g. cruise missiles, UAVs, etc...

This (to my mind) is why the EU is making Galileo a priority despite the lack of commercial need. And, at the same time, Russia is reviving its Glonast satnav system, in competition to both, for the same reason.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Military independence

You hit the nail on the head - and also identify why precisely the *UK* is making negative noises.

The strategic alliance between US and UK is also used to try to slow down the EU, because if the EU forms correctly it will form a more powerful financial block than the US. This is why the UK has such an adverse position - that seems to be its job if it wants to work with the US (in many ways - ECHELON is but another example).

It is thus entirely logical to let the UK poodle make negative noises about Galileo - if the US has sole control over a navigation system used by all and sundry it is a sure bet they will 'accidentally' demonstrate that at some point in the future.

The investment in Galileo is thus justified from a risk management perspective, and I for one am glad they got their act together. As for the closed doors, well, it's a lot harder to disturb something if you don't know what's going on. Brussells is well aware how eager the US is to throw spanners in the works, I have a feeling this has also worked in our favour in the 'affair Microsoft'.

I didn't have much confidence in Brussels, but somehow spots of excellence start appearing. I find that encouraging.

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Anonymous Coward

"the likely growth in satellite navigation applications"

I'm probably being a bit unimaginative here, but apart from being charged ground rent on every bit of the UK that I move over, and being tracked by my RFID bank card to ensure an easy flow of fund to HMG, any ideas what blissful techno-utopian nirvana may be created by more lumps of metal hanging, as if over Damocles, above us?

Unless of course it has the 3D navigation capabilities to integrate with the flying car that I hope they annouce next month. (Why aren't we funding that instead, it would be much more fun for citizens)

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Alert

More Orbital crud

If we continue to put ever more satellites into the sky around this planet, by the time we develop any sort of useable deep-space technology, we'll be screwed because we won't be able to get off this rock any more.

on the plus side, since it's EU Farming subsidies that are going to be used, at least the French farmers will know EXACTLY where they are in their tractors, in their latest summer road block.

Thing about sat nav is, it doesn't matter if your equipment can figure out where you are to the nearest millimeter, or how far your going to the nearest mm/sec, if the maps/database that it's being related to are SH*TE, then so is your sat nav.

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independence

@Charles Manning:

"Yes, El Prez could do a nutter and turn off GPS above Europe in the case of some hostility etc, but then he could just as easily turn on Galieleo jammers/spoofers. Thus, independence is imagined rather than real.

"

That's a pretty stupid comment.

No need to have a currency different fro the dollar for independance. Sure, if we all had the dollar, El Prez could do a nutter and reclaim all money in existence in the case of some hostility etc, but then he could just as easily nuke the European Central Bank and all financial infrastructure in Europe to kill our own curencies. Thus, independence is imagined rather than real.

Well, the difference between turning off a service you own and don't want to provide to someone unless they accept some extravagant conditions and turning off someone else's service by force is, simply, War.

And of course, independence can always be jeopardized by war.

But much as bushies might say "if you don't let us subsidize Boeing while stopping Airbus help, we'll stop GPS for you" (and then re-use the threat for everything that annoys them and their desire for utter supremacy, they wouldn't ever dare such a ludicrous thing as say "if you don't let Boeing become the world monopoly, then we'll jam your satellites" (and why not nuke one capital a day?).

That doesn't mean it does justify the search for independence from the US, but it sure shows your argument to the opposite is crap.

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Anonymous Coward

GPS vs Galileo

"As it is, GPS is better than most people need most of the time and Galileo buys nothing except for independence from USA."

Is that your experience, that GPS is better than you need? I would use the phrase 'barely adaquate for existing application' to describe GPS. We use all sorts of tricks, like differential GPS and nearest valid map point to fix it up.

"Trying to draw parallels with GSM and Tri-band is broken. Cell phones require extra bands etc to be able to pack in more calls. Galileo and GPS are broadcast signals and thus don't max out with many concurrent users."

New Satnav will be able to use both, while old sat nav will only be able to use GPS. Very similar to the way old single band GSM phones can't use the extra bands that triple band phone can. Progress is progress. So old receivers will continue to work with GPS, they just won't gain anything by it.

"The major reason that Galileo drags its heals is that there is no compelling reason to have it."

Dragging it's heals? As UK points out they can't stop it.

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Unhappy

Galileo yes, Gemini no

So, we have to spend millions of pounds on something we don't need and, it seems, cannot opt out of. A the same time we save £70m on Gemini - something we do need and is nearly completed. UK plc is bust!

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Paris Hilton

GPS maybe not quite so adequate after all

I can understand the point of of the people make about GPS being more than adequate for most people.

But it is not correct to say that GPS enhancement systems are stalled.

The US is deploying WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) satellites exactly with a view to make GPS more accurate and reliable, and Europe is following soon (I hope) with EGNOS. Japan and India are doing the same too.

The most obvious advantage will be more maritime and aeronautical navigation, including the ability to have publish ILS approaches using GPS/WAAS guidance only without having to rely on ground-based ILS systems.

This one application will (and already does) have phenomenal impacts on cost and aeronautical safety.

This is just one example of how GPS is not good enough yet and why the likes of Galileo might bring benefits that are not obviously apparent to the average Tomtom users punter :)

Paris Hilton because her use is not very obvious either :)

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Apalling grammar

Just reread my previous post. The gist of it is right, but boy I need to proof read before I post :P

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Quite obvious why they don't want to stop it

ROAD PRICING. As I understand it, one of the obligations of Member States signing up to Galileo is that they will introduce road pricing schemes, with cash from these schemes paying for Galileo itself. It is due mainly to the government signing up to Directive 2004/52.

So, Tony Blair's response to 1.6 million people signing a petition - being "we'll discuss it" is a load of rubbish - the government have already long decided that they'll do it.

The directive can be seen here: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/energy_transport/tenders/doc/2006/s44_045846_certification_en.pdf

The introduction of Galileo will land the government with huge amounts of money through indirect taxation, despite some of the funds having to go back to paying for the system.

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Happy

Galileo lost its way then?!

nuff said.

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The subsidies aren't redirected from the farmers...

... they were never going to get them. These were *unspent* subsidies, that would otherwise be returned to contributing countries. In other words, your pocket.

So you will pay for it out of future tax rises.

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