My particular history with the Global Positioning System has been getting more and more extensive over the course of my career. I remember when it was big bricks, very expensive, and difficult to use. The digital revolution changed all that, and now most every smartphone can do double duty as a GPS receiver with map software functionality (which makes it great for anyone looking for someone who is attached to their smartphone, whether for good or ill).

The technology spread quickly because it is useful, and a good thing. But because it is ubiquitous now it is a target. Like our power networks that we depend on, or our information networks. Navigation Warfare is a thing, it isn’t as sexy as being a door kicking SEAL and getting Hollywood to make possibly true, possibly not true, but we’ll say it’s true to put butts in seats movies about how you tracked down a terrorist and shot him in the head sexy. But without GPS, those Blackhawks wouldn’t have had a very easy time flying 160 miles nap of the earth under comms blackout trying to avoid Pakistani radars. Had the Pakistanis been seeking to actively screw with GPS, the OBL raid could have turned out quite differently.

Commercial GPS jammers are available for purchase or plans are available to make one yourself. Clearly it won’t be as powerful as a top notch Russian or Chinese military jammer, but it will be enough to shut down an airport and get you in all sorts of trouble. The airport incident (google it if you like) is because employers have taken to monitoring the movements of their fleet trucks with GPS trackers. I watched the packers sit outside our house for 90 minutes because there was a GPS tracker on their van, and they weren’t going to move until the allotted time for their packout was complete.

So I think that you should have a GPS device, especially for your car when driving to a new location. But you should also have real maps, on paper, for everywhere you ever plan to be. Because GPS can go away in a heartbeat.

Literally ripped out of the fabric of our infrastructure in the blink of an eye.

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One Response to GPS

  1. B says:

    This post gave me chills and the shakes just thinking about living without my phone…after coffee, my phone is essential tool. However, I do have analog maps, I pray they continue to collect dust


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