GPS Infrastructure At 40, What's Ahead?


As someone who installed proprietary positioning systems and navigated geophysical industry vessels around the northern Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Seaboard even before the existence of LORAN and the later LORAN-C, I've always been interested in the technical side and applications of GPS technology, at least partially because of it's use of atomic clocks and satellites that were integral to those proprietary systems.

Like so many other things in life today, it stunned me to realize how long GPS has been around. Vulnerabilities, profit motive, and replacement technologies drive us increasingly faster toward new platforms. Worse than outright jamming, signal spoofing has already--when tested by UT-Austin researchers--caused undetected navigation errors. From self-driving cars to military operations, the consequences of GPS disruptions are "driving" the next wave of positioning technologies.

Going forward, I'll be paying more attention to terms referencing GPS Block II and GPS III, Europe's Galileo system, Russia's GLONASS (and is it trustworthy?), and Iridium Communications. If you're also curious, here's a recent LA Times article to whet your appetite for more food for thought.


It is definitely scary to think about what would happen if the GPS infrastructure was suddenly compromised. Most people don't realize how dependent we have become on this technology and how many systems would fail without it.

Alan - Android Auto, DriveLuxe 51LMT-S, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, Nuvi 3597LMTHD, Oregon 550T, Nuvi 855, Nuvi 755T, Lowrance Endura Sierra, Bosch Nyon

I know I have become pretty

I know I have become pretty dependent. But I still keep my old copy of Rand McNally Trucker's Atlas around, just in case.

Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267