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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

GPS system could start dying next year

The Global Positioning System may be months away from beginning to fail, it has been been announced. Mismanagement and a failure to maintain the fleet of satellites at the heart of the system now threatens to put both military and civilian use of GPS in tremendous jeopardy starting sometime in 2010.

Here's hoping that this can be remedied and soon. I just recently started using GPS for highway navigation (a unit from TomTom) and it has already become an essential part of my business ventures. But then you get to considering the reason why GPS was first made available for public use to begin with, and you come to realize the urgent gravity of the situation.

(Thankfully, Soviet-controlled airspace at least has been defunct for the past 18 years. But absent modern navigation that much of the world has come to depend on, and it's not hard to imagine a similar incident happening in any number of places.)