A minor buzz about GPS ‘failure’. First lets eliminate a myth. The GPS system is not going to go blink, and be gone. It at a minimum is a series of satellites orbiting the globe. At worse there maybe patches from time to time where there are insufficient transmitters to get a 3D functional fix. But the real reason not to worry after the jump –
After a government watchdog agency warned that the U.S. Global Positioning System might fail, potential customers may wonder whether buying a GPS device is still a good idea. In a word: Yes.
Any GPS outage is likely to develop over a period of years and the U.S Air Force, which manages the satellite navigation system, is under pressure to speed modernization efforts.
Further, the cost of consumer GPS devices has dropped below $100 for units with turn-by-turn spoken navigation. At that price, the GPS unit can quickly pay for itself. Consumers also don’t require as precise a GPS fix as military users, who are more likely to notice GPS “brownouts.”
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has warned Congress that mismanagement of a $2 billion upgrade program threatens GPS service, which the government offers free to users. Older satellites start dying next year and replacements are being launched much more slowly than is necessary to maintain service, the report to Congress said.
Look we civies are riding on back of a military service provided by the DoD. Do you really think that the US DoD would at this juncture just let the whole system collapse when much of the arsenal now in use is GPS dependent? Won’t happen. The other item many don’t reckon is that the Russians have their own system as well and it too is open to the public if you have the right receiver.
No, this is a piece of Tech Press trying to gin up eyeballs. I would rather worry about the Swine Flu than this issue.
[Follow up] AirForce Space Command somewhat twittery response to the GAO report here.