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COREGAL Report Summary

Project ID: 641585
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COREGAL (Combined Positioning-Reflectometry Galileo Code Receiver for Forest Management)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2015-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

COREGAL aims at developing a low cost unmanned aerial platform and service for biomass mapping will allow wide scale mapping in the Brazilian context of forest management. A first of a kind combined Position-Reflectometry Galileo receiver is developed as main sensor for platform positioning and biomass estimation, the latter using reflected Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) signals (also called GNSS-R) that propagate through tree canopies, branches and leafs. High positioning accuracy (centimetre level) is required for GNSS-R purposes, which is challenging for remote areas where no GNSS ground support infrastructure is available as in the case of many forests in Brazil. However, Galileo AltBOC E5 signals offer unprecedented pseudorange measurement quality which can be used for high accuracy positioning.

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) will be equipped with a COREGAL receiver and optical cameras for aerial mapping and biomass estimation, enabling wide scale low-cost mapping: UAV aerial mapping is at least one order of magnitude lower cost than manned air-borne missions while GNSS-R can be seen as bi-static RADAR replacing expensive, heavy and power consuming radars. Integrating positioning and reflectometry in a single device within a UAV offers a unique value proposition where Galileo and GPS are uniquely combined for increasing the number of reflected signals and positioning quality. Furthermore, GNSS-R signal properties allow lower saturation in signal backscattering when compared to traditional RADAR systems, allowing higher sensitivity to higher biomass applicable to the Brazilin forests.
Test campaigns will be performed to validate the COREGAL platform and approach, including comparison and combination with satellite-derived data, which is expected to improve accuracy of local biomass maps. Such maps will be converted into carbon maps allowing enhancements in carbon cycle modelling with far reaching implications. Test results are expected to demonstrate the concept as part of a service to be commercially provided, which could be expanded to other countries. Such an approach is expected to enable substantial cost reduction and high accuracy biomass maps allowing accelerating the adoption of Galileo-based technology in Brazil.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"By the end of the 1st period, COREGAL successfully reached the Critical Design Review (CDR) allowing the start of the implementation work. More specifically, during the first period, the following work packages have been performed:

WP1000: "Management" for management of the COREGAL project including overall project and partners coordination both technical and management. As output the following deliverable have been produced: D1.1, D1.2, D1.3. and D6.1;
WP2000: "Market Analysis and Requirements", including a first Market Analysis and Sizing and establishing the System Requirements. As output the following deliverable have been produced: D2.1 and D2.2.;
WP3000: "System Design has been completed", including State of the Art Analysis and the Design of the Receiver core elements. As output the following deliverable have been produced: D3.1 and D3.2.;
WP4000: "Implementation and Validation", for the the development of the COREGAL system. The work is currently progressing with drafting of D4.1, D4.2. and D4.3;
WP5000: "Business Potential Demonstration", for the elaboration of the business plan and market analysis as well and final demonstration. The work is currently progressing with drafting of D5.1.;
WP6000: "Dissemination and Awareness", including the setup of project web-page, presentation in key events, publications and other dissemination activities. As output the following deliverable have been produced so far: D6.2 and D6.3."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Three main advances beyond the state of the art are pointed out as follows:
1) GNSS receiver based on Galileo E5 signals for biomass measurements based on GNSS-Reflectometry. The use of this frequency band for GNSS-R and biomass applications is unique. If successful, it may complement or even replace in some cases existing biomass measurement techniques. Additionally, the receiver combines Positioning and Reflectometry in the same platform, which is also a unique feature with potential cost savings.
2) A system for the combination of GNSS-Reflectometry and satellite-based observances to map forest biomass at decametric resolution. Improved resolutions of such maps are very important for initiatives such as the REDD and also for sustainable forest management.
3) Validation with live data on the use of E5 AltBOC for high accuracy positioning based on PPP approach. This new approach may result in more efficient and robust data collection for surveying and other high accuracy applications.

The following additional impacts can be highlighted:
- International cooperation within the project (European and non-European) will motivate adoption of EGNSS in non-European countries mainly due to the fact that the potential of the Galileo signals will be an enabler for application development in such countries;
- Several Brazilian partners are included in the consortium collaborating in the specification, development and result dissemination of a European space-based technology (Galileo) which will enable new applications;
- The services enabled by the proposed technology will have a considerable impact on environmental and social matters;
- Project outcomes will be integrated with existing services and data products in the GNSS community via collaboration with E-GEM project and other similar initiatives.

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