CLGE took part in two important events in Zagreb from 24 to 26 November 2015: the second PosKEN meeting and the CLGE Seminar on Utility Cadastre, both hosted by the Croatian State Geodetic Agency.
By Mairolt Kakko, CLGE Vice-President, Estonia
PosKEN meeting 24-25.11 This was the second time for the Positioning Knowledge Exchange Network to meet. The meeting was well chaired, and hospitably hosted, by Danko Markovinovic, Director of the State Geodetic Administration of the Republic of Croatia.
PosKEN is one of the eight Knowledge Exchange Networks of Eurogeographics. It has 5 members in its coordinating committee and 26 delegates from 17 countries of Europe. The Positioning KEN is composed of experts in GNSS systems and services from EuroGeographics members, as well as representatives of 3 European organizations: CLGE, EUPOS and EUREF. It focuses on different aspects of GNSS positioning – from determination of the reference system, scientific analyses of GNSS data, through various types of services provided to the users of GNSS at different levels of accuracy and reliability, ending with a large variety of applications – coordinated and developed by national, regional and pan-European authorities.
PosKEN’s strategy currently focuses on the following topics:
1. Providing a networking platform for experts,
2. Establishing the European Positioning System,
3. Coordinating GNSS service and policy developments,
4. Creating standards, guidelines and recommendations,
5. Harmonising the position of GNSS network operators and users,
6. Advertising the use of ETRS89 in Europe.
At the meeting, each representative organisation and each country gave presentations regarding the current position within the organisation as well as the situation, country by country. Saulius Urbanas (Lithuania, Eurogeographics) presented on updated and collaborative aspects of PosKEN. He gave an overview of EG activities and other KEN’s. In addition, the EuroDEM Project on the borders of Germany, Poland and Czech Republic was announced as well as plans for the European Positioning System.
The author of this article represented CLGE’s position. CLGE represents a wide platform of GNSS users within its member countries. The most valuable input that CLGE can give to other PosKEN members is feedback from thousands of every day’s users. On the other hand, surveyors in CLGE member organisations are hoping for better quality, reliability
and precision from GNSS services to provide greater efficiency, in competition with other measurement technologies. These goals could be reached with more cooperation within PosKEN. Branislav Droscak (Slovakia), member of the EUPOS EX-Board, represented his organization. His presentation focused on three working groups inside the EUPOS: a common standard for RTK, network surveying, and an RTK user guide. In addition, Mr. Droscak mentioned that his organisation needed an educated and active person to maintain EUPOS relationships with GPS. This activity would be covered, for the moment, on voluntary basis.
As EUREF, unfortunately, couldn’t attend the meeting, a guest speaker from GSA (European GNSS Agency), Michal Babacek, had the opportunity to introduce the implementation of the GALILEO programme and the availability of GALILEO services. Galileo will launch its last satellites at the beginning of 2018 and from 2020 onwards the system must be fully operational with 30 satellites in orbit. Service levels planned for Galileo are: open service, publicly regulated service, search and rescue service, commercial service, and precise positioning with triple frequency. Mr Babacek also presented the GSA Market report, which underlines the fact that only 4.5% of GNSS positioning services are used, so far, for primarily surveying activities, static positioning and navigation with smart phones and other navigational devices. Slightly over 50% of existing GNSS receivers in Europe are compatible with Galileo. The first drafts of the pricing strategy will soon be available. Also there was an assertion that the Galileo satellite trajectories are more appropriate for better positioning in Europe. During the panel, compatibility issues between different manufacturers were discussed.
The second half of meeting was taken up with national presentations. Countries, including Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Ireland, Sweden, Slovakia, The Netherlands, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Poland and Czech Republic gave presentations. Each country shared its experience with establishing, maintaining and using National GNSS-Network and its status within their country. Also technical, financial and legal matters were announced in many presentations.
Presentations were extremely interesting and provoked much discussion. All presentations, as well as presentation videos, are published on PosKEN’s website www.eurogeographics.org/content/posken-positioning During the final discussion many ideas for the future were proposed: Hardware and software issues, state vs. private networks, surveys and knowledge exchange. EUREF topics requiring further development, regional projects, such as the Struve Arc, and support for Albania and Kosovo, who are just establishing their GNSS networks. Future plans, agreed between the four parties to PosKEN, are needed to formulate new proposals for the working plan and to consider organised access to RTCM (The Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services). It was suggested that the next meeting would take place next autumn, probably in the Czech Republic.
The meeting was followed by a simultaneous webinar, with five to ten participants.
The CLGE – GSA seminar on Utility Cadastre took place in the same venue on 26.11.2015.
The requirement to organise such a seminar was based on concerns in many CLGE member countries, where utilities issues, especially underground utility databases, are inadequate for different reasons. Many countries are struggling with poor regulation and transitional arrangements in this area. The situation has adverse effects on the businesses of surveyors in these countries, due to lack of data regarding the location of utility networks. The main focus of the seminar was the sharing of experience between different countries. Although participants were mainly from the Balkan region (Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Albania and Kosovo), Switzerland, Estonia and Lithuania were also represented at this Seminar. Nine countries in all participated with the individual participants numbering 60 to 70.
CLGE’s President, Mr. Maurice Barbieri (CH), opened the meeting. In his opening address Mr. Barbieri thanked the organisers from Croatia, under the leadership of Mr. Danko Markovinovic. He also provided an overview of CLGE organisation and activities. Mr. Barbieri, then outlined the situation in Switzerland. The Swiss system is known as the PLR (Public Law Restrictions) – Cadastre. Because of the Swiss federal system there are major differences between cantons. In some cases the canton maintains the PLR-cadastre utilities on a fully municipal basis, while in other cantons private surveyors may be used for the same purpose. However, the PLR-Cadastre in Switzerland works very well and has good tools for both private and governmental use. Mr. Barbieri also outlined the results of a survey into land registration systems in European countries generally. The survey was categorised by country and indicated where land registration records and the nature and extent of restrictions, were publicly accessible.
The author of this article represented Estonia. The Estonian system is deficient in the area of utility cadastre, as responsibilities are divided between two ministries and two registers. The main responsibility for maintaining utility location data rests with the utility network owners, as the two registers are merely informative and have no legal force, as of yet. Naturally, utility owners take advantage of this weak legal control for their own benefit. For instance, data holdings have been built up by the major telecommunications company in Estonia for commercial purposes, for its own use and for the use of certain other utility owners only. However, the Estonian PLR-Register has excellent technical tools, put in place by the Land Board over the past several years (http://xgis.maaamet.ee).
Croatia has a well constructed Inspire Generic Conceptual Model (GCM). Utility networks registered in this system have precision attributes so that the location of each utility entity can be updated afterwards, if measured. However, the Croatian presentation was quite controversial, in that many smaller agencies would find the implementation of such a model very difficult indeed. Serbia has been operating regulation in this field since 1974. During recent years, Serbia had made excellent progress and, at the moment, their system can provide precise data without cost to the user and can also provide CAD-GIS transformations of this data. The most developed register is that maintained by Serbia’s second biggest City, Novi Sad.
The cadastral law of Bosnia and Hercegovina is based partly on the cadastral law of the Republic of Serbia. However, in the field of utility cadastre, there are major differences between different parts of the country.
Kosovo and Albania are in the initial study stages regarding the implementation of a utility cadastre. The last presentation was from Slovenia. In the author’s opinion, the Slovenian system has very good legal basis. Its guiding philosophy is “call before you dig” thus minimising the risk of destroying or affecting existing utility networks. Locations are registered according to different precision categories. Surveyors in Slovenia are obliged, under specific rules regarding the precision and detail, to measure utility objects in compliance with these rules.
The seminar concluded that a sound legal basis was the key requirement for the satisfactory development of utility networks and record databases. While non-statutory registers may be useful, there is a requirement for legally binding restrictions in this area to ensure the public interest in operations affecting real estate and utilities. All participants found this seminar useful and this topic will be returned to in the future as a subject of considerable important for both surveyors and society in general.