GPS Rollover is today. Here’s why devices might get wacky


The World Positioning System time epoch is ending and one other one is starting, an occasion that might have an effect on your gadgets or any tools or legacy system that depends on GPS for time and placement.

Most clocks receive their time from Coordinated Common Time (UTC). However the atomic clocks on satellites are set to GPS time. The timing indicators you will get from GPS satellites are very correct and globally accessible. And they also’re typically utilized by programs as the first supply of time and frequency accuracy.

When World Positioning System was first carried out, time and date perform was outlined by a 10-bit quantity. So not like the Gregorian calendar, which makes use of 12 months, month and date format, the GPS date is a “week number,” or WN. The WN is transmitted as a 10-bit subject in navigation messages and rolls over or resets to zero each 1,024 weeks.

Since that point, the depend has been incremented by one every week, and broadcast as a part of the GPS message.

The GPS week began January 6, 1980 and it grew to become zero for the primary time midnight August 21, 1999.  At midnight April 6, the GPS WN is scheduled to reset, which could possibly be problematic for legacy programs and influence time and the time tags in location information. Utilities and mobile networks additionally use GPs receivers for timing and controlling sure features. As an illustration, the U.S. power grid makes use of timestamps embedded in GPS. The U.S. Division of Vitality says that “GPS supports a wide variety of critical grid functions that allow separate components on the electric system to work in unison.”

It ought to be famous that the WN restart date could possibly be completely different in some gadgets, relying on when the firmware was created.

The bug, which some has described because the Y2K of GPS, will trigger issues in some GPS receivers similar to resetting the time and corrupting location information. The GPS WN rollover occasion could damage the reliability of the reported UTC, based on U.S. Division of Homeland Safety. HDS mentioned an GPS machine that conforms to the most recent IS-GPS-200 and offers UTC shouldn’t be adversely affected. The company additionally supplied a phrase of warning:

Nonetheless, checks of some GPS gadgets revealed that not all producer implementations appropriately deal with the April 6, 2019 WN rollover. Moreover, some producer implementations interpret the WN parameter relative to a date aside from January 5, 1980. These gadgets shouldn’t be affected by the WN rollover on April 6, 2019 however could expertise an identical rollover occasion at a future date.

Should you personal a more recent business machine with up to date software program, it’s almost definitely advantageous. However double examine and ensure the software program is up-to-date.

The U.S. Naval Observatory suggests contact the producer of your GPS receiver when you’ve got been effected by the GPS week quantity rollover. Some GPS receiver producers could be discovered on the GPS World web site.

Work has been accomplished to keep away from this sort of rollover situation — or a minimum of punt it down the road. The modernized GPS navigation message makes use of a 13-bit subject that repeats each 8,192 weeks.


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