Why Your Navigation System Could Go Haywire Today

By Paul Riegler on 6 April 2019
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If your navigation system suddenly forgets what time it is and where it is Saturday night, there’s a very good reason.

The Global Positioning System needed to be reset, and this will take place Saturday at 7:59 p.m. EDT.

This happens every 1,024 weeks but you may have missed the last reset back in 1999, when far fewer people relied on GPS.

“GPS uses a week counter that enables receivers to calculate the appropriate date,” said the Department of Homeland Security. “That week counter uses 10 bits and needs to be reset every 1,024 weeks – roughly every 20 years. On April 6, 2019 – the first Saturday in April – the GPS week counter will reset to zero.”

Most devices and systems made in the past ten years should already have been coded to account for the rollover.

Nonetheless, experts are saying that attention must be paid. UNAVCO, the government-funded research agency formerly known as University Navstar Consortium, said that “critical systems should be actively monitored during the rollover to ensure continued operation” and wrote that in all caps.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)