The time taken by the ICG over the process is symbolic. This is a very high-level committee, which is designed to have a broad overview of the navigation and positioning industry. Its decision making will, inevitably, be long and drawn out.
But it will, none the less, be a vital component of the industry as satellite positioning moves from being a gift of the US military to being a genuine multi-national co-operative venture.
ICG is not unique in this. Various UN committees play a vital role in regulating radio and telephone communications, postal services or airlines. In fact, they make international commerce possible.
The ICG will provide a forum where providers of space and ground-based radio navigation systems can work through their differences.
High on the agenda at this first meeting: safety of transport; search and rescue; geodesy; and land management.
In particular, the ICG addressed the enhancement of universal access to navigation systems and the compatibility and interoperability of the various systems.
Another significant issue before the committee is the integration of these services into national infrastructures, particularly in developing countries.
The participants at the first ICG meeting included China, India, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, the Russian Federation and the US.
A number of interested organisations were also represented. These included the Civil GPS Service Interface Committee from the US, the Committee on Space Research, the European Space Agency, the International EUPOS Steering Committee, and the IAG Reference Frame Sub-Commission for Europe.
International organisations such as the International Federation of Surveyors, the International Association of Geodesy, the Association of Institutes of Navigation, the International Cartographic Association, the International GNSS Service, the International Telecommunication Union, and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs were also represented.
Importantly, participants at the meeting agreed to co-operate to the maximum possible level to maintain radio frequency compatibility in spectrum use between the various GNSS systems.
This is in accordance with the radio regulations of the International Telecommunication Union. ITU is the UN committee that organises radio spectrum.
The IGC also noted a proposal to establish a Providers Forum to enhance compatibility and interoperability among current and future global and regional satellite-based systems.
The potential members of the Forum could include the US, the Russian Federation, the European Union, the European Space Agency, Japan, China and India. They will work with the ICG, through OOSA, on final agreements to establish the Forum.
OOSA maintains a website at www.unoosa.org