Topic: GPS Coordinates
The old question - Publish them or not?
The new question - Use them or not?
If you rely on GPS
You should really read this article !!!

The following is an article from Personal Engineering Magazine:

Y2K preview
Paul G Schreier

"The media circus surrounding the Year 2000 problem has already begun, but few people realize that we'll get a preview of such problems several months ahead of the turn of the century. Specifically, on Sunday August 22, 1999, some GPS receivers will report an incorrect date, thinking it's really January 6,1980, and some of them might calculate incorrect navigation solutions."

"What's going on here? Among other data that a GPS satellite broadcasts is the GPS Week Number. The count began at approximately midnight on the evening of January 5, 1980. Since then it has incremented by 1 each week. However, the Week Number field is modulo 1024, so roughly every 20 yrs the number again becomes 0. The next time it will roll over is at the completion of week 1023, on the evening of August 21,1999."

"Whether receivers can interpret the new series of week numbers correctly is the issue. This problem is well known within the GPS industry, and reports indicate that military systems shouldn't be affected (we hope). More concern, though, surrounds commercial systems-which are becoming increasingly popular among consumers for hiking, sailing and even car navigation."

"Current owners should get in touch with the receiver manufacturer to determine if their units will be affected, especially if a failure of navigation could put lives or property at risk. In addition, anyone purchasing a GPS receiver should make sure that the system runs firmware that accounts for the rollover. Recent models shouldn't have any trouble, but I'd be careful when looking to buy a budget-priced system or especially one on sale-there might be a good reason why it's discounted heavily. As for me, I think I'll stay home that weekend."

"I think about this upcoming episode along with the recent troubles with satellite-based paging systems as well as the government's assessment that it's totally unprepared for the Y2K problem- which some doomsday sayers believe will throw the economy into a tailspin. It's clear that we can't predict all the major problems that can and will arise as we become more dependent upon computers and electronics and how unprepared we really are to handle such events. And remember, the public will blame us-engineers and system designers collectively-for any unpleasant consequences."


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