GPS Problems today? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

By David McGuire, Newsbytes.

Navigational devices that rely on the global positioning system (GPS) could start malfunctioning Thursday night - two days sooner than early reports had indicated, US Coast Guard authorities warned at a press conference today.

The so-called GPS "rollover" - not to be confused with the Y2K date rollover - is set to occur Saturday night, when the 10-digit binary date counters used in tracking GPS satellite orbits roll over from 1111111111 to 0000000000.

But while most glitches associated with the rollover should occur Saturday night, the data that will precipitate the change-over is set to be uploaded to the 27 GPS satellites late Thursday.

That leaves open the possibility that GPS users could begin experiencing difficulties starting sometime Thursday evening, Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Gary Schenk told Newsbytes today. Schenk is a branch chief at the Coast Guard Navigation Center, which works in conjunction with the US Air Force to maintain and operate the GPS system.

The rollover event, which is set to occur regularly at 20-year intervals could have an adverse impact on the GPS "receivers" used by private boaters, airplane pilots, shipping companies, and car navigation systems, to name a few.

Military and federal GPS receivers are rollover compliant, and the GPS satellite system itself is not expected to experience any difficulties with the rollover.

The Coast Guard is urging private and commercial GPS users - particularly private boaters - to check with the manufacturers of their GPS receivers to make sure that the receivers are rollover compliant.

Non-compliant receivers could experience operational delays, display incorrect dates, and in some cases, could fail altogether, Schenk said.

The Coast Guard is also urging boaters to have alternate navigational devices on hand as a hedge against potential GPS failures.

Coast Guard authorities said today that only a small percentage of GPS devices are expected to experience rollover-related glitches. Schenk and others today said that older GPS devices are the most likely to experience problems.

While unrelated to Y2K, the GPS rollover could prove to be something of a warm up for Jan. 1, 2000, Schenk said. GPS devices that experience difficulties this week are "highly suspect" as far as Y2K compliance, he said.

GPS users can find links to most major GPS receiver manufacturers at .

Further information about the rollover can be found in the Coast Guard Navigation Center site, located at

-- Mild Mannered Reporter (Clark@super.duper), August 20, 1999


Faster, post faster!!!!!

-- King of Spain (, August 20, 1999.

The press on this topic is totally worthless. The truth is a seriously noncompliant GPS unit will become worthless FOREVER, its software will no longer compute the positions of satellites correctly and there is no PRACTICAL way to fix these things. (short of an engineer or two and a couple hundred grand)

If yours dies, go buy a new one, they're $295.

If you die because of one, you (or your captain) were an idiot.

-- muchback (, August 21, 1999.

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