GPS outage could cost $1 billion per day, study finds

mongeese

TS Addict
Staff member

A state-sponsored study into the use of GPS in the US can answer that question. In the first day, not much would happen. The second day, cellular networks start falling out of sync and shipping, mining, and agriculture industries grind to a halt. By the third day, most networks are down and the problem is inescapable, causing losses of almost $1 billion. Each day more networks fail, communications are severed, navigation errors delay more shipments and more money goes down the drain. Over the course of a typical month, damages would be in the ballpark of $1 billion per day, or up to $1.5 billion during key months in agriculture.

Since 1984, when the GPS network was opened up to commercial use, its value in the US economy has increased exponentially. While GPS technology has generated (very) roughly $1,354 billion from 1984 to 2017, over $300 billion was created in 2017. Approximately 90% of its value has appeared since 2010.

The largest user has been telecommunications, which employed the GPS network to “improve reliability and bandwidth utilization” to make $685,990 million. Next was telematics, which is everyone that uses GPS to increase efficiency and save money in otherwise unrelated areas, which made $325,182 million. Third was you and I, who’ve made companies like Google $215,702 million by using GPS in our smartphones and devices.

The ubiquity of GPS technology, and its foreign competitors is not to be understated. While only some industries rely on it heavily, such as telecommunications which require it to sync and control their networks, it has replaced almost every other positioning and timing technology due to its convenience. Even the maritime industry, which could use other technologies just fine, is now completely dependent. Let’s just hope that the unthinkable doesn’t happen, and the GPS network stays switched on and without fault.

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p51d007

TS Evangelist
As long as the sun is quiet....cycle 24, which is ending has been VERY quiet, 25, appears to be headed to being as quiet as 24, which should "help" keep the satellites protected from CME's.
Some ***** in their basement on the other hand, acting a a client of a rouge state, could take the entire thing down if they figure out how to hack it. When the GPS was first put up, the programmers probably never really dreamed someone would want to take it down. If it did go down, I'd say about 90% of those that depend on it for whatever reason, couldn't use a paper map if they had to. Yeah, I know GPS is used for more than finding your way from point A to B, but you get my drift. If GPS, power grid, gas/oil/trucking went down and there were no way to move goods from point A to B, many people, especially those in more urban areas, would DIE because they don't have and haven't had the skills taught to them (for obvious reasons) on how to survive.
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
My biggest concern is all the space junk there now and all those little satellite's that are soon to be launched; I know it's a big sky up there but it's filling up fast ......
 

psycros

TS Evangelist
No problem in my country, we still have human drivers on tractors and on combines harvesters.
Right? I haven't used GPS in years. I refuse to depend on it and life is just fine.
My biggest concern is all the space junk there now and all those little satellite's that are soon to be launched; I know it's a big sky up there but it's filling up fast ......
You really have no idea how big space is. To cause the problem you suggest, we would have to deplete the entire Earth of metal, including the core, 100 times over and stick it all in geosynchronous orbit for that to be a problem.
Actually the space junk is becoming a serious problem. It all has to be tracked and some countries don't report what they put up to international authorities. Anything military launched by China, N Korea, etc is almost certain to be kept quiet. Thankfully the western nations have the technology to detect it anyway. Further, you've people like Elon Musk wanting to put thousands of micro-sats in orbit which only complicates things.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
You are talking about problems in low-Earth orbit regions. GPS satellites operate in geosynchronous orbit, which is much further out. Orbital debris is not a problem out there.
Um, no, they are not in geosynchronous orbit - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Positioning_System
The space segment (SS) is composed of 24 to 32 satellites in medium Earth orbit and also includes the payload adapters to the boosters required to launch them into orbit.
 

bluetooth fairy

TS Booster
Over the course of a typical month, damages would be in the ballpark of $1 billion per day, or up to $1.5 billion during key months in agriculture.

US with the help of other countries (Russia, China, India, etc) could launch needed satellites again. I'm pointing on this because they are probably also dependent on GPS infrastructure.

When a problem is global it is solving by combined efforts.
 
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Cycloid Torus

Stone age computing - click on the rock below..
Over the course of a typical month, damages would be in the ballpark of $1 billion per day, or up to $1.5 billion during key months in agriculture.

US with the help of other countries (Russia, China, India, etc) could launch needed satellites again. I'm pointing on this because they are probably also dependent on GPS infrastructure.

When a problem is global it is solving by combined efforts.
Which is why it is important to prepare for the alien invasion.:D
 

yeeeeman

TS Maniac
In our country, tractors have GPS and soil analysis detectors on them so you know how much of each fertilizer component to use both this year and next. Keeps waste, runoff, and prices down.
In my country, people use old seeds from a few generations back that aren't genetically modified and have a much better taste. Here people care more about health and less about getting rich. At least not from the food we all eat. So, frankly, I am happy we are still in the pre tech age when it comes to agriculture.
 
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H4nz0

TS Rookie
Over the course of a typical month, damages would be in the ballpark of $1 billion per day, or up to $1.5 billion during key months in agriculture.

US with the help of other countries (Russia, China, India, etc) could launch needed satellites again. I'm pointing on this because they are probably also dependent on GPS infrastructure.

When a problem is global it is solving by combined efforts.
Russia, China and India have their own satellite navigational systems (GLONASS, BeiDou and IRNSS respectively) and require support of these systems from manufacturers of devices being sold in their territories.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Um, no, they are not in geosynchronous orbit - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Positioning_System
My mistake. However that does not change my point. Orbital debris problems generally only effect low-earth orbit because that is where most(if no all) launch system stages have separation procedures which is what creates most of the debris in orbit. Medium, Geo-stationary and high orbital areas do not have nearly as much debris because of this..
Space junk is a problem. IMO, characterizing it like this:
You really have no idea how big space is. To cause the problem you suggest, we would have to deplete the entire Earth of metal, including the core, 100 times over and stick it all in geosynchronous orbit for that to be a problem.
under-estimates the problem. Though there is less junk in medium earth orbit, there is still junk there.
In particular, this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_West_Ford
All junk is not tracked - especially small particles. At the speeds orbital that these particles travel, even a small particle could easily take out a satellite especially if it hit on the right trajectory. KE = 1/2mv^2. At orbital speeds, that v squares to a very large value.
More on space junk:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_debris
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/reference/space-junk/
 

ZipperBoi

TS Enthusiast
No problem in my country, we still have human drivers on tractors and on combines harvesters.
This is the same for rural America. Farmers in my home town still drive themselves and only a few use any form of GPS when planting or harvesting. Our main ag would be fine.
 
In my country, people use old seeds from a few generations back that aren't genetically modified and have a much better taste. Here people care more about health and less about getting rich. At least not from the food we all eat. So, frankly, I am happy we are still in the pre tech age when it comes to agriculture.
Psst..... all seeds are genetically modified.

However if you want to play the "natural is better" game, feel free to go back to the wild variants of your food crops and attempt to eat those. Half contain tiny fractions of the nutrients and calories you need and the other half contain enough natural toxins to make them less healthy than eating nothing.
 

Roush60

TS Rookie
The biggest impact at first would be trans-oceanic shipping. I bet there is no one alive in the maritime services that knows how to use star charts, a sextant and a compass to plot a position on the earth's oceans. These skills were once required for any captain and or pilot for any ship that travelled out of sight of any land mass on the earth, whether it be an island or continent. How many adults these days know how to read a paper road map? Probably not many and certainly even less if they are younger than 35 to 40 years old.
 
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Markoni35

TS Addict
Almost all cellphones and similar devices in the world support at least American GPS and Russian GLONASS. Optionally other systems as well. So if one of them shuts down, the device can use another one. But if you have a device that can only use GPS then the blame for your losses is completely on you.
 

yeeeeman

TS Maniac
Psst..... all seeds are genetically modified.

However if you want to play the "natural is better" game, feel free to go back to the wild variants of your food crops and attempt to eat those. Half contain tiny fractions of the nutrients and calories you need and the other half contain enough natural toxins to make them less healthy than eating nothing.
Lol. Maybe in your country. Here, old people have kept their seeds from parent and grand parents, so they are not genetically modified. Also, the nutrition facts is purely speculation on your part. You don't need a lab analysis to say that non GMO food is much better.
Matter of the fact is that the food industry in big countries cares only about business and as a result food is utterly crap.
 
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Lol. Maybe in your country. Here, old people have kept their seeds from parent and grand parents, so they are not genetically modified. Also, the nutrition facts is purely speculation on your part. You don't need a lab analysis to say that non GMO food is much better.
Matter of the fact is that the food industry in big countries cares only about business and as a result food is utterly crap.
You might want to look up the definition of genetically modified.

All crops have been genetically modified from their original (wild type) state by selective breeding of mutations. All crops, even your parents and grandparents seeds. This selection for favorable mutations has been done for over 10,000 years and all of our crops differ significantly from their original natural states. By human selection of induced mutations. That's how it works.

The nutrition changes are easily confirmed by comparing, say wild teosinte to maize. One of those has orders of magnitude more calories in it than the other. Hint: it's maize.

Nowadays there are more directed means of speeding up those induced mutations and the selective breeding as well as direct genetic changes to cut out that middleman, but the end result is the same: selection for favorable mutations and increased genetic distance from the original wild types.