GPS Secrets You Never Knew to Ask

November 11, 2011, By George Lang

Your global positioning system (GPS) is harboring some fascinating little secrets that your government has been reticent to discuss! Yes, we said “your” GPS; and we’re not talking about the one in your iPhone, on your car’s dashboard, or the one on your service provider’s cell tower. We’re talking about the one circling YOUR planet.

It’s yours; you paid for it with your tax dollars. That became overwhelmingly obvious when “[then Pesident Bill] Clinton’s order, which kicked into gear at 8 p.m. EDT on May 1, 2000” (CNET News) forced the military to release many of the features of the system that were available to them (e.g., plus or minus 2 foot resolution), to you for your use as well. That is when GPS functionality began to take off in a big way for electronics manufacturers; and when tolerances became quite a bit more critical.

We start by revealing the FIRST secret they never cared to tell you about: If you have an earthquake near you, the accuracy of your system just might be out of whack for awhile. When the “big one” struck Fukishima, Japan, all the people there (along with their GPS enabled cellphones) were relocated about eight feet east of where their devices were telling them they should have been! It’s not like the Earth did not like where they were, and decided to move them… Then again, maybe it was.

Unfortunately, when the next big one hits the west coast of the United States, say Los Angeles or Seattle, LA will become a little closer to San Francisco than it was before and all the maps will have to be changed. Admittedly, the people in Seattle might not have to worry about it anyway because the GPS technology does not work when you’re under water! (OK, so that’s a bit of a stretch; to be honest, I’m just trying to scare my little brother who lives right on top of the Seattle fault line so that he will move).

Secret number TWO: Enter the General Theory of Relativity. Yes, Einstein’s equations are being used everyday by the satellite GPS tracking technology to bring your little GPS girlfriend’s vocal positioning advice to within less than a mile of where you are. As a matter of fact, she would be telling you to make that left hand turn nearly two kilometers early if it weren’t for Albert’s equations. The government never thought to tell you about that one, did they?

Even British scientists (who are usually reluctant to talk about the shortcomings of one of their own heroes; in this case, Sir Isaac Newton), have admitted the contributions of the rival German scientist Albert Einstein. English physicist Stephen Hawking, in his book, A Brief History of Time, proclaims the inaccuracy of Newton in light of relativity when talking about the GPS. For those brave souls who want to dig deeper, click here.

So let’s all beware, there IS indeed a government conspiracy; perhaps not as widely known as the faking of the Apollo lunar landing; or the obvious cover up of alien activity in Area 51 in the Nevada desert; but just as salacious (t.i.c.). Enjoy your tax dollar purchased GPS folks!

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