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Thread: GPS system 'close to breakdown'Network of satellites could begin to fail as early as

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    GuncoHolic Black Blade's Avatar
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    Default GPS system 'close to breakdown'Network of satellites could begin to fail as early as

    GPS system 'close to breakdown'

    Network of satellites could begin to fail as early as 2010
    It has become one of the staples of modern, hi-tech life: using satellite navigation tools built into your car or mobile phone to find your way from A to B. But experts have warned that the system may be close to breakdown.

    US government officials are concerned that the quality of the Global Positioning System (GPS) could begin to deteriorate as early as next year, resulting in regular blackouts and failures - or even dishing out inaccurate directions to millions of people worldwide.

    The warning centres on the network of GPS satellites that constantly orbit the planet and beam signals back to the ground that help pinpoint your position on the Earth's surface.

    The satellites are overseen by the US Air Force, which has maintained the GPS network since the early 1990s. According to a study by the US government accountability office (GAO), mismanagement and a lack of investment means that some of the crucial GPS satellites could begin to fail as early as next year.

    "It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption," said the report, presented to Congress. "If not, some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely affected."

    The report says that Air Force officials have failed to execute the necessary steps to keep the system running smoothly.

    Although it is currently spending nearly $2bn (1.3bn) to bring the 20-year-old system up to date, the GAO - which is the equivalent of Britain's National Audit Office - says that delays and overspending are putting the entire system in jeopardy.

    "In recent years, the Air Force has struggled to successfully build GPS satellites within cost and schedule goals," said the report. "It encountered significant technical problems [and] struggled with a different contractor."

    The first replacement GPS satellite was due to launch at the beginning of 2007, but has been delayed several times and is now scheduled to go into orbit in November this year - almost three years late.

    The impact on ordinary users could be significant, with millions of satnav users potential victims of bad directions or failed services. There would also be similar side effects on the military, which uses GPS for mapping, reconnaissance and for tracking hostile targets.

    Some suggest that it could also have an impact on the proliferation of so-called location applications on mobile handsets - just as applications on the iPhone and other GPS-enabled smartphones are starting to get more popular.

    Tom Coates, the head of Yahoo's Fire Eagle system - which lets users share their location data from their mobile - said he was sceptical that US officials would let the system fall into total disrepair because it was important to so many people and companies.

    "I'd be surprised if anyone in the US government was actually OK with letting it fail - it's too useful," he told the Guardian.

    "It sounds like something that could be very serious in a whole range of areas if it were to actually happen. It probably wouldn't damage many locative services applications now, but potentially it would retard their development and mainstreaming if it were to come to pass."

    The failings of GPS could also play into the hands of other countries - including opening the door to Galileo, the European-funded attempt to rival America's satellite navigation system, which is scheduled to start rolling out later next year.

    Russia, India and China have developed their own satellite navigation technologies that are currently being expanded.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/may/19/gps-close-to-breakdown
    When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America , you get a front row seat. - George Carlin


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    White Cracker 4thIDvet's Avatar
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    Angry Damn.

    I just spent $249 on one of those damn Tom Tom things I still can not figure out how to use.
    By the time I figure it out the damn satellites wont be working. Great.
    "Man needs but two things to survive alone in the woods. A blow up female doll and his trusty old AK-47" - Thomas Jefferson 1781


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    Gunco Maniac sjohnson's Avatar
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    As a military aid, GPS is a great logistical and tactical tool.

    As a commercial product, it's like the iPod: nice and kind of neat in a geeky way, but as necessary as teats on a boar.
    I have a daughter. I tell her, "911 is what you dial after you're raped. 1911 is what you should have before they try."

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    White Cracker 4thIDvet's Avatar
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    Smile S.J..My Brother..

    Quote Originally Posted by sjohnson View Post
    As a military aid, GPS is a great logistical and tactical tool.

    As a commercial product, it's like the iPod: nice and kind of neat in a geeky way, but as necessary as teats on a boar.
    Do you want to buy a Tom Tom at 1/2 price. I damn near tossed the thing out on #95 South bound.
    Just press the buttons. Yeah rite. I had too drive to Alaska too shut the damn thing off.
    Yup, just bolts on. Yeah rite. ROLF..
    Like my air filter on by bike. Took two mechanics all day too put it on.
    "Man needs but two things to survive alone in the woods. A blow up female doll and his trusty old AK-47" - Thomas Jefferson 1781


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    Gunco Good ole boy tanvil's Avatar
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    I wonder if the Russian and Chinese systems have all of our homes locations in them.

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    AK addicted gunaholic dutchkma's Avatar
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    So what. I've got maps and a couple of compasses, flip the switch, I won't miss a beat.

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    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    but as necessary as teats on a boar.
    I pretty much agree, nice toy but not needed.
    So what. I've got maps and a couple of compasses, flip the switch, I won't miss a beat.
    And you don't have to worry about the batteries dieing on a map

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    Gunco Veteran patjsimpson's Avatar
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    In all reality all the sattelites do is broadcast their position and the devices actually do the calculations to determine where you are at. If you loose one or two sattelites it is not really a problem as you only need three in visabile range to get ok signal. Most of the time I have 6-8 sattelites... the more you have the more accurate your location can be calculated. I doubt the military will really be affected because I am sure they have more "Military Only" sattelites that they can pull signals from. If they were in serious jepordy then something would be happening sooner than later.

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    White Cracker 4thIDvet's Avatar
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    Smile Tom Tom

    For Sale.
    Too many people go out in the woods and there G.P.S. fails. They can not tell up from down, or read a compass.
    "Man needs but two things to survive alone in the woods. A blow up female doll and his trusty old AK-47" - Thomas Jefferson 1781


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    Armed & Opinionated deadwood's Avatar
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    For those of you that don't own a compass or don't know the difference between a tourist map and quad map - tough titties!

    Those of who do will be charging big bucks to let you know where your at or going to after the GPS system fails. LOL (in a Dr. Evil sort of way!)

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