Press Releases

    2 April 2002


    Santiago, Chile, 1-5 April 2002

    VIENNA, 28 March (UN Information Service) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) is organising a regional workshop on the use and applications of global navigation satellite systems for the benefit of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, from 1 to 5 April 2002, in Santiago, Chile. This is the third of a series of four regional workshops and an international meeting that are being co-sponsored by the Government of the United States of America. The European Space Agency is also co-sponsoring this workshop in Santiago, which will be hosted by the Government of Chile and the International Air and Space Fair, known as FIDAE.

    Through active involvement of all participants, the workshop aims to: (i) increase awareness of the benefits of the availability and use of GNSS signals in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean; (ii) provide opportunities for GNSS experts to establish partnership with potential users of GNSS technologies in the region; and (iii) identify actions to be taken in the region through international co-operation to integrate the use of GNSS signals in practical applications to protect the environment and to promote sustainable development.

    Among other topics, participants of the workshops will discuss the following:

    • Overview of Global Positioning System (GPS), Glonass, Galileo and other systems (history and evolution of GNSS technology; status and expected developments of these systems; augmentation systems);
    • Applications in civil aviation, disaster management, management of natural resources, precision agriculture; geodesy, surveying and mapping; telecommunications, protection of the environment;
    • Expanding the use of GNSS in supporting primary industry;

    What is GNSS

    With extremely high accuracy, global coverage, all-weather operation and usefulness at high velocities, GNSS bring increasing benefits to people’s daily lives. Benefits of GNSS applications are growing in areas such as aviation, maritime and land transportation, mapping and surveying, agriculture, power and telecommunications networks, and disaster warning and emergency response. For developing countries in particular, GNSS applications offer a cost-effective way to pursue economic growth without compromising the need to preserve the environment, thus promoting sustainable development.

    Objectives and Expected Results

    The short- to mid-term results of the Workshop will be the launch of pilot and demonstration projects by governments, research institutions and the industry that would benefit from the introduction of the technology. In the long-term it will lead to greater use of GNSS technologies.


    The participating States stressed the social and economic benefits of GNSS at the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, known as UNISPACE III. In order to help developing countries benefit from GNSS applications, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, within the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, proposed to organize a series of workshops and seminars focusing on capacity-building in the use of GNSS in various areas of applications. The proposal by the Office was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2000.

    The first two regional workshops were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August 2001 for the benefit of countries in Asia and the Pacific, and in Vienna, Austria, in November 2001 for the benefit of countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Following the third regional workshop held in Santiago, Chile, from 1 to 5 April, the last regional workshop will be held from 15 to 19 July 2002, in Lusaka, Zambia, for the benefit of countries in Africa. The conclusions and recommendations of the regional workshops will be reviewed at the international meeting of experts scheduled from 11 to 15 November 2002, in Vienna, Austria. This meeting will aim to identify possible action to be taken by the international community to facilitate the use of GNSS particularly in developing countries.

    The Workshop in Santiago, Chile, 1-5 April 2002, brings together decision-makers, programme managers in government agencies, research institutes and the private sector that carry out activities and projects to promote sustainable development in Latin American and the Caribbean countries. They come from the following countries and organizations: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Russian Federation, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Uruguay as well as from the European Commission, European Space Agency and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. The Workshop is taking place at the site of the International Air and Space Fair, FIDAE, which features a GPS exhibit.

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