UK 'over-reliant' on GPS signals


The UK may have become dangerously over-reliant on satellite-navigation signals, according to a report from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Pos, Nav, Timing --

On this forum we tend to focus on nav and position uses of GPS.

Timing uses of GPS are increasing just as fast, if not faster. Put a hockey-puck antenna on the roof, connect it to a box costing a few hundred dollars, and you can run electronic lab equipment (such as counters, signal generators, and spectrum analyzers) at levels of accuracy only obtainable by national laboratories a few years ago.

Timing uses of GPS also play key roles in our cell phone and wireless data networks, most broadcast services, and computer networks.

As to "over-reliant"... GPS is by far the most cost-effective solution to a number of problems. Is "cost-effective" the same as "over-reliant"?

Are we, as a society, "over-reliant" on electric motors? Why don't I use a straight razor in the morning instead of an electric shaver -- is that being "over-reliant" on electric motors? Or just being safer and easier?

Okay, part of not being "over-reliant" is having a backup plan, a Plan B. With my lab gear, if the little box on the shelf shows three green lights, I have a very accurate GPS-locked reference signal to my instruments. If instead I have one or more red lights, that reference signal is suspect. Some instruments will automagically switch over to internal sources, and some I have to switch manually.

I'm still "over-reliant" on electricity, though. If power to the building goes out, Plan B is to have lunch early. Some things you can't substitute for.

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