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May 21, 2009

Panbo Blog: GPS problems? Boaters last!

An entry from Ben Ellison's Marine Electronics Weblog

I think that the Google news search above, and those 397 articles you can click through to, mostly indicate that the US General Accounting Office accomplished its goal: Light a fire under the collective butt of the U.S. Air Force, which has apparently been slow at deploying two billion dollars to upgrade the GPS satellite system (GAO report here).  I've gotten several notes of concern about the situation, but I think boaters are about the last user group that needs to worry about it.  We almost invariably use GPS in almost ideal conditions, puttering along at a relatively slow speed with a wide open sky view. And we don't care beans about altitude (except for going negative)!  We were about the first to get into GPS because it was useful on the water before the full constellation of satellites was in place, and, if the system truly does break down, we may be the last.  But we surely do value electronic positioning a great deal.  So here's my question:  If we're having trouble keeping GPS fit on a two billion dollar budget, why the heck is the government even considering saving a tenth of that by shutting down eLoran, a viable backup system?  

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