This Weekend Is Y2K for GPS Systems: Experts Warn the Grid, Finance, & Transportation Are at Risk

Friday, April 5, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Daisy Luther
TheOrganicPrepper.com
April 5, 2019

This weekend, on April 6th, we’re having another Y2K. This one is on GPS devices, as they roll over from “week 1024” to “week 1.”

1.Best case? Nothing happens.

2.Not so great case? If you have a Garmin or a TomTom on which you rely for navigating, you could run into trouble.

3.Worst case? Some experts warn that the power grid, transportation, and the financial system could be affected.

What’s this all about?

First, here’s what’s going on.

The rollover issue itself is caused by the fact that GPS systems count weeks using a ten-bit parameter. This means they start counting at week zero and reset when they hit week 1,024. The first count (or “GPS epoch”) started on January 6th, 1980, and the first reset took place on August 21st, 1999. That means the next one is due April 6th this year. (source)

The good news is, devices have successfully been through an epoch before. The bad news is, some devices could go haywire and we’re way more tied into the GPS grid than we were when it happened in ’99.

What’s the worst case scenario?

Relax. I don’t think planes will begin crashing into the ocean.

But, if you have an older device and you haven’t been updating it, there is the possibility that the epoch could cause big problems.

When the rollover happens older devices may reset their date, potentially corrupting navigation data and throwing off location estimates. GPS relies on precise timing data to operate, and each nanosecond the clock is out, translates into a foot of location error.

All this is why some have compared the issue to a sort of mini Millennium, or, Y2K Bug for GPS receivers that will come into affect from April 6th this year. Bug. That was also caused by a number rollover problem, as a lot of early software recorded the year using a two-digit code (“78” for “1978” and so on) that reset when clocks hit the year 2000. (source)

Computers. Sheesh.

More serious possible effects of the GPS Y2K

The most likely issue is that your car’s navigation system will be wonky, with inaccurate times of arrival, and incorrect times and dates.

But other problems could happen, too.

Financial companies who use GPS to record trades could have issues when the times, dates, or locations are off. As well, ports that use GPS location to report the loading of ships could have inaccurate information. Remember when there was that cyberattack and all the ships had no idea where to go?

The Rest…HERE

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