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African satellite communication and Galileo applications

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Communication gateways for Southern Africa

Prospects for combined navigation and communications applications in South Africa could bring hope for boosting economic growth to the country as well as the surrounding region.

Digital Economy

Satellite navigation and communications applications are relevant in many aspects of modern day life across the globe. For South Africa and 14 of its neighbouring countries which comprises the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, telecommunications needs are extremely varied and diverse. Urban centres vary greatly from areas with a less developed telecommunication infrastructure. Raising awareness of satellite navigation and communications applications in this region is a necessary step for national development. The Afsaga project set out to explore new navigation opportunities for South Africa. Beyond that it came up with several potential applications as well as obstacles that may come into play in their development. A workshop was held in Pretoria, South Africa shortly after the start of the project in August 2007. The scope of the workshop was to increase awareness of what particular applications can be accommodated through the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and Galileo. Particular emphasis was placed on applications that would operate in conjunction with a combination of satellite telecommunication and satellite navigation across the Southern African development community region. As a result, many combined navigation and communications applications were proposed. Areas covered included assisting receivers of organ transplants, improving visits to national parks and providing personal safety and security at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Barriers to these applications were pinpointed and related to the following: regulation, availability, lack of knowledge and infrastructure, costs and data sharing. As a way to break down such limitations, a four-stage road map was proposed. Key regional stakeholders in areas that span industry, civil aviation and government recognise how communities in this region can benefit as a result of combined navigation and communications applications.

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