European Space Agency

Wireless lbDN - Real-Time Wireless Turn by Turn Navigation using satcom networks and mobile terminals


The Webraska project aims to develop and deploy innovative wireless real-time navigation services in Europe using two different satcom networks and terminals.

On the basis of:

  • A market study,
  • An analysis of the users needs presented with user cases,
  • A technical feasibility study of available solutions such as satcom networks and terminals.

A desk research and interviews will allow Webraska to select the two satellite networks on which the navigation technology of Webraska will be deployed. The IbDN® system (Internet based Distributed Navigation: Webraska patented and proven wireless navigation technology) will be modified and adapted under specifications, for its integration in the chosen networks and terminals. This will open a new communication channel for the data exchange in order to increase the accuracy of navigation information in the vehicle. The reliability and the robustness of the two solutions will be improved under a trial period by companies targeted by the market study. A business plan and a market strategy will finally aim to open the obtained product to a profitable market after a commercial launch.


The terminal aspects for the integration of IbDN technology and the development of wireless navigation applications:

  • Real available bandwidth for the transmission of the information to the terminal,
  • Possibility to open an Internet session on the terminal,
  • Available RAM,
  • CPU processing power,
  • OS of the terminal (proprietary).

Such aspects are covered and solved within the WP 4 and 5. In any case, the IbDN SDK can easily be ported into new environment (it is already packaged for C++ and Java OSGI environment).



The integration and deployment of the Webraska IP server-based platform into telecommunication networks and infrastructures:

  • Proprietary data formatting,
  • Hub and network capabilities for mobile Internet sessions and IP file transmission.

Such aspects will be solved during the selection of the satcom networks, standards and terminals and their capabilities to support wireless Internet sessions and communication, therefore compliant with IbDN performances and constraints.


Originally, Webraska offered an alternative to in-car navigation systems by replacing the local storage of geographical data on CD-ROM by an internet connection to a server concentrating data for all Europe and real-time information such as road traffic.

Although, many of the CD-ROM based navigation system manufacturers are in the process of integrating Webraska technologies in their terminals (some of them have already done it and test new hardware design with Webraska powering the navigation application), they are somehow competing with Webraska solutions.

Apart from the obvious interest of centralizing data on a server (content is always up-to-date, coverage is unlimited, etc.), IbDN® or distributed navigation is a turnaround to a number of weaknesses of on-board technology:

  • Slow access to data,
  • Cost of ownership,
  • Cost of content,
  • Limited coverage,
  • Etc.

In addition, the client - server architecture allows to turn what was a product into a service. This fundamental change opens the door to customisation, profiling and alert which completely revolutionize the image of the technology. Taking navigation to individuals by offering it as a service and no longer as a product makes it affordable and understandable by a much larger market.

Benefits of the availability of the IbDN® technology on satcom networks:

  • The limitation of terrestrial network (positioning accuracy, roaming, etc.) still limits usage and uptake in certain context. The deployment of Webraska LBS could further boost service usage and uptake in certain segments.
  • Service coverage (where GSM has limited coverage and performances),
  • Bandwidth, permanent access and
  • Service availability in case of natural or non-natural disaster


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IbDN® Application : Webraska Wireless Turn by turn navigation is using two interfaces:

  • Positioning using GPS,
  • Satellite Communication to the Internet.

The IbDN® application is adapted to the chosen networks and terminals.

The Satcom networks and terminals enable the communication between the client application and the server based geospatial platform accessible via the Internet Protocol.

IbDN® Server is used to:

  • Host Servlets accessed by IbDN clients.
  • Host SOAP API for subscriptions administration, used by the service provider.
  • Host the administration web site.
  • Log of users access and administration requests.
  • Billing

SmartZone Geospatial Platform: The SGP offers the following functionalities through Java and SOAP APIs compliant with the OpenLS standard:

  • Routing: Provides street-by-street directions between two points, defined by the end-user via their mobile phone keypad, or from the service provider's own database. Directions can by provided for multiple modes of transport (car, pedestrian, public transport) optimised in real-time to take traffic conditions into account
  • Enhanced Spatial Search: Ranks a series of destinations provided from the service provider's database in terms of actual journey-time from the end-user's start point.
  • Mapping: Displays a zoomable map on the end-user's mobile phone screen around user or service-provider defined central point.
  • Positioning: Returns a shortlist of street names within a area defined by a XY co-ordinate and radius. Shortens address entry time by allowing to user to exploit approximate positioning systems such as Cell ID.
  • Geocodin


To 13th February 2003

A market study concerning the LBS, telematics and navigation in Europe together with user needs analysis and service scenarios description will lead to the selection of two Satellite Networks and Terminal Manufacturers.
End of the Phase (BDR) = 2003-03-30

The two applications are specified on both a functional and technical points of view for each of the two chosen solution with the validation of the corresponding terminals.
End of Phase (PSV) = 2003-06-15

The Service is developed and tested as a beta version on the 2 chosen solutions and a Business Plan and a Marketing Strategy are consolidated
End of Phase (MTR) = 2003-09-01

The final applications and business plan are submitted for the commercial launch.
End of Phase (Final Review) = 2003-11-01

Current status

The market study concerning the LBS, telematics and navigation in Europe and the user needs analysis (which had been documented in the Phase 1 report) has lead to the selection of the two following Satellite Networks and Terminal Manufacturers :

  • Globalstar through Elsacom,
  • Mini-M for vehicle through Inmarsat.

This will allow the deployment of IbDN-based LBS and off-board navigation applications and services on two different satellite networks (one LEO and one GEO) and have two complementary hardware solutions: one for in-vehicle applications well adapted for the Fleet management markets (Inmarsat) and one mobile terminal well adapted for Mobility management market (Globalstar).

The next phase will consist of producing a Technical Analysis and Functional Specifications for the two chosen solutions.

Following the request of  Webraska and due to a shift in the company's comemrcial focus, Project activities have been halted and the contract terminated accordingly.

Status date

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - 14:59