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GPS / sat nav - system could break down next year says US govt


Satellite Navigation systems could be in danger of breaking down within the
next year, according to the US government.


The satellites are overseen by the US Air Force, which has maintained the
GPS network since the early 1990s.


Officials have expressed their concern that the 20-year-old Global
Positioning System could begin to fail as early as next year.


According to a study by the US government accountability office (GAO),
mismanagement and a lack of investment means some of the satellites are
increasingly approaching their sell-by date.


Should problems occur, the impact could be significant on millions of sat
nav users, while there would also be problems for the military and national
security, who use the devices to gather intelligence.


The satellites are overseen by the US Air Force, which has maintained the
GPS network since the early 1990s.
Although the Air Force is spending £1.3 billion to bring the system up to
date, the GAO report argues that delays and overspending are jeopardising
the entire system.


The first replacement system should have been launched at the beginning of
2007, but has been delayed several times and is now scheduled for November
2009.


According to NewScientist, sat navs and other GPS devices calculate their
position by comparing time signals from at least four satellites.
As a result, a fleet of 24 satellites are required at all times.
There are currently 31 operating, but a number of them are more than four
years past their design lifetime.


The GAO predicts a one in five chance that the fleet will drop below 24 at
times in 2011 and 2012; although it would not cause GPS to shut down
completely, it would hamper its accuracy.


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.


If not some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely
affected."


Sat nav devices have become increasingly relied upon in modern life but
have resulted in a number of mishaps in Britain.
 

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Super Moderator
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7,390 Posts
I like my sat nav, It's the only time i can ignore a woman and get away with it.:lol::lol::lol::lol:
 

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Flange Dealer
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642 Posts
Glad I never bought one then! Got nowhere to plug it in anyway :smoke:
 

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V8 addict
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1,102 Posts
I'm an Essex boy, just finding my way round Kent after 18 years JC. Need all the help I can get ! lol :pmsl:
I'm moving to Milton Keynes in a few months. I'm not looking forward to learning my way around there!
A lot of people say "oh but it's just a grid". Yes, but there's a bit more to it than that!!!
 

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Registered
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872 Posts
I just use Mapquest before I set off, and either print off the whole lot or just write down the important bits. Dead simple (and foolproof - you can't end up anywhere other than where you're going), and has got me all around Europe too.

Couple of pointers though....

Top Tip 1: If you're going all the way to Bavaria, don't sellotape the directions to the dash of your F1 truck if the windscreen rubbers are leaking and it's already pissing down by Wigan.

Top Tip 2: It's worth printing out reverse directions too. Otherwise you get all the way to Bavaria okay, but all you have to get you home is a little bit of cardboard with the names of four cities scrawled on it in German. And you end up in Czechoslovakia.
 
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