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Thales Launches New Truly Global Positioning System 06.03.2003

SkyFix XP is capable of accuracies of 10cm in the horizontal and 15cm in the vertical.

Thales has launched a new generation of decimetric Differential GPS (DGPS) positioning systems, offering the oil, gas and hydrographic industries new levels of accuracy and quality of service, with no range restrictions from reference stations. SkyFix XP, available from Thales GeoSolutions, the world’s premier global offshore services company, is capable of accuracies of 10cm in the horizontal and 15cm in the vertical domains, surpassing accuracies and quality standards previously experienced in the Differential GPS marketplace.

Announcing the launch of SkyFix XP, Senior-Vice President of the Thales Positioning Based Solutions Group, Stanislas Gu¿n said: “SkyFix XP is ideal for all offshore operations and activities, providing highly reliable and dynamic decimetric positioning accuracy anywhere in the world, with no range limitations from stations. SkyFix XP’s improvement in positioning accuracy reduces costs for users by speeding up the time taken for offshore positioning activities and data processing in the oil and gas, construction and hydrographic survey industries, as well as improving the efficiency of dredging operations. Furthermore, this system will undoubtedly drive a revolution for Geographical Information Systems’ (GIS) land applications.”

SkyFix XP draws on a completely new technique, known as Satellite Differential GPS (SDGPS), using the existing global network of Thales reference stations to track all satellites continuously throughout their orbit, generating reference-station-independent correction data. This fully dynamic, highly accurate and completely reliable correction information, available for any location regardless of proximity to a reference station, makes the system truly global, with no range restrictions, representing a major breakthrough for the industry.

Offering unrivalled support and better reliability of accuracy, Thales has a global infrastructure of support facilities providing services and quality control locally at the major oil fields around the world. In addition, for absolute confidence in the accuracy of SkyFix XP, Thales provides a real-time regional monitoring system supplying performance information online confirming the systems’ information integrity with estimates of data accuracy, a system unsurpassed in the industry.

SkyFix XP’s associated new MultiFix 4 software package builds on the high levels of quality control – based on the UK Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA) - and system status information previously available to operators while at the same time retaining the advantages of an uncomplicated and easy to configure user interface. Also, for reliability, MultiFix 4 may be configured with a number of automatic back-up solutions for the primary SkyFix XP calculation to provide optimum redundancy. This allows the system to switch automatically to an alternative DGPS solution such as SkyFix or SkyFix Premier if decimetric performance is not required for a particular application, providing ultimate confidence in the system.

Fully compatible with existing systems, SkyFix XP has a similar hardware platform and configuration to that of the standard SkyFix model making it easy to upgrade an existing system with the addition of a dual frequency GPS receiver and the new MultiFix 4 software. In addition, the MultiFix 4 software is compatible with most leading GPS receivers including, but not limited to, units produced by Thales Navigation.

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