Operational programme to develop satellite navigation

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 9.10.2017 10.59
Press release

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has sent out for comments a draft operational programme on satellite navigation. The programme describes the current state of satellite navigation systems and how they are deployed in different sectors of society and especially in automated transport. It also discusses the current system of space administration in Finland and its pressures for change.

Personal navigation is commonplace across the globe. There are 5.4 billion smartphones and hundreds of millions of navigators equipped with satellite positioning technology. Satellite navigation is also an important element of the functioning of society. The operation of power and communications networks and transport services, for example, requires satellite positioning and absolute time information.

The European Commission has estimated the current value of the satellite navigation sector at over EUR 70 billion. With the growth of automated transport and the development of 5G and IoT, the market value is estimated to rise to about EUR 195 billion by 2025. Smartphone services will generate most of the growth. The Initial Services of Galileo, the European Global Satellite Navigation System (GNSS), have just begun operating, and the plan is to have the system fully running by 2020.

The operational programme on satellite navigation proposes 14 concrete measures to make Finland one of the top countries in the world in the deployment of satellite navigation systems. Already, Finnish know-how has long been part of different kinds of space and satellite projects and applications. Finland's activities in outer space are currently in a state of transition. The first Finnish small satellites have been developed, and a number of active businesses utilising new space technologies have emerged in Finland.

The draft operational programme aims to promote the harnessing of satellite data in business activities and service provision, ensure the quality of satellite positioning and the deployment of satellite navigation systems in the Arctic regions, and promote the deployment of small satellites. The programme also aims to review the need and possibilities to establish a space administration in Finland.

The operational programme discusses also regional challenges on satellite navigation systems, such as coverage problems in satellite navigation systems in Northern Europe and satellite positioning problems indoors and in urban areas. Improvements in the precision of satellite positioning in Northern Europe are in sight, because the European Commission recently decided to establish an EGNOS RIMS station in Kuusamo.

Stakeholders have emphasised the need to assess the possibility of establishing a central space administration in Finland. It would enable more effective support to the emerging business activities around space applications and small satellites and to research and training in the field.

The deadline for comments is 17 October 2017. The operational programme is scheduled to be completed this autumn.

The operational programme was prepared in broad-based consultation with the sector. It is part of the Government key projects on building a digital growth environment. The goal is to create a favourable operative environment for digital services and new business models.


Seija Miettinen-Bellevergue, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 295342563, [email protected]