NOV
13
2007

MPs urge action on Galileo costs

I was just completely amazed to read that British MPs think that the Galileo project is unimportant. To me the combination of accurate and cheap global positioning systems, combined with the infrastructure to determine the relative position between one thing and another, and a semantic web that allows that GPS meta data to be annotated ubiquitously to all information on the web, is so important that every 21st economy will depend on it.

A BBC article MPs urge action on Galileo costs suggests that:

"What taxpayers in the United Kingdom and other European countries really need and want is better railways and roads, not giant signature projects in the sky.." said committee chairwoman Gwyneth Dunwoody.

I just don't know where to start explaining why this is so stupid. It shouldn't be a problem because politicians should just be enablers, and they would speak to people who actually know what needs to be done to make the future happen. But that just seems to have failed with these guys in the UK - they only seem to want act and behave like readers of the several dumb/moronic UK right wing populist newspapers.

Comments

Yeah, the Galileo project is important... To a certain extent. I immensely dislike seeing funding dropped for it prematurely. BUT...

Care to define the justification of stating that "every 21st economy will depend on it"? Exactly how, might I ask, is -any- economy going to become SO dependent that people can't do without. Seriously, think this through mate.

If the economy really needs this, private sector companies will step up to the task providing a much more efficient solution than any government could. You can't argue that. Really, isn't better to let the private sector take this over instead of letting the convoluted mess of the government become involved? Please, attempt an explanation. I'd like to know just why it's so important that we can't do without.


By randyll_james at Tue, 11/13/2007 - 23:55

Care to define the justification of stating that "every 21st economy will depend on it"? Exactly how, might I ask, is -any- economy going to become SO dependent that people can't do without. Seriously, think this through mate.

It's the combination of knowing where everything is in relation to everything else that, and being able to embed that data in real time into the internet, that will make it essential.

At the moment people think of GPS being used to find where a thing is like a car. But services are starting where cars can have both GPS, and an internet connection. With the internet connection a car can find out information from other cars such as where traffic jams are, levels of traffic flow etc. In the future autonomous vehicle driving systems will need a global positioning system to function. If you want to improve the railways you need global positioning to know where the trains are. The more global positioning is used, the more essential it will become, and in my opinion a 10 billion euro investment spread amongst 20 countries is peanuts.

If the economy really needs this, private sector companies will step up to the task providing a much more efficient solution than any government could. You can't argue that.

I can argue with that quite easily. Only a 'neoliberal' would believe that the state shouldn't be responsible for a country's infrastructure services such as education, health, transport and ..global positioning systems. For instance, the USA has privatised health care and it is a disaster. There are a whole lot of things which private companies are bad at. The UK's train system is another perfect example of why not to privatise parts of a country's infrastructure. UK rail services are now the most expensive and crowded in the World just a few short years after they were sold off.

The American GPS system was built by the military, not with private funds. If the European military needs to has a positioning system independent of the American one they need Galileo. If private companies are so smart, how come they didn't build GPS and then sell it to the US military?


By Richard Dale at Wed, 11/14/2007 - 08:15

It's typical really. The British have never seen the need in going out, doing your own thing and using science and technology for our own benefit when you can just buy something from the Americans. Unless there are political jobs involved of course, which means we get the pile of pants that is the Typhoon.

"What taxpayers in the United Kingdom and other European countries really need and want is better railways and roads

The obvious question there, of course, is given that we have more than enough money to develop better railways and roads, where the hell are they? Without someone wanting to go out and build better railways and roads, that political statement is absolutely meaningless.


By segedunum at Wed, 11/14/2007 - 11:13