GPS to Croak on April 6?

There’s a real possibility that if you have a GPS device – particularly an older device – it may have some trouble on April 6, 2019.

GPS uses a timestamp as part of calculating a position. As part of the timestamp the system stores the week number using 10 binary bits. That means that you have 2-to-the-10th values, or 1,024. So that means that every 1,024 weeks – every 20 years – the counter rolls over.

And if you remember the Y2K mess, you can probably guess the problem. According to US Homeland Security (PDF), if you have a device that hasn’t been specifically updated or patched to deal with the rollover, you have the real possibility that device will have a problem. And to make it worse, if you have a device that talks to a GPS system that’s affected, your device may receive bogus data – again causing a problem.

What to do? Talk to the manufacturer(s) of your GPS device and ask them if your device is affected and if so, ask if you can download or get an update.

Everyone stay safe out there!

Author: Glenn Mores

President & CEO MicroData