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Industry News: If you have an older GPS system, you may need an update tonight.


Drew Dowdell

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If you're currently running with an older GPS system, either built into your car or via an external device, you may need to check if a firmware update is available.  Tonight at midnight, the UTC clock used by the satellite navigation system will roll over to 0000000000.   That number is a 10-bit "week number" that counts the number of weeks since August 21, 1999, the date of the current GPS "epoch". 

Most newer GPS devices will know about the coming rollover and will just continue working, but older ones that haven't been updated could fail with timing data jumping backwards by almost 20 years. This isn't a new issue, this will be the second time the GPS system has seen such a flip.  Eventually, the GPS system will be upgraded to a 13-bit date system and greatly increase the length of time between epochs.

If you have an older GPS device or car with GPS built in, you may want to check with the manufacturer if a firmware update is needed. 


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1999 all over again, the sky is falling and why oh why did they code it this way.

:P :lol:

Yes, I suspect those that have been using old systems are going to really get worked up over this. Wonder if my sister who hates change will freak out with her old Garmin system. :P 

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Speaking of GPS and nav systems, I had a wierd thing happen last Saturday w/ my Jeep nav.  I was using because I'd never been to Athens, Ohio (small college town, but several streets and turns were needed to get to where I was going from the freeway).   On the way there, I was on a stretch of Ohio-33 (divided highway) that appeared relatively new and got this message on the nav screen ('area with inadequate map information. proceed w/ caution')...then the car icon on the screen jumped off the freeway and wandered around over rivers, forests, hills, backroads a mile or two off the freeway (I ignored and stayed on the freeway).   After about 5 miles it synched back up and was navigating correctly.   Odd.  According to the Wikipedia, that section of freeway was built in 2013. I guess my 2014 maps were out of date...

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3 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

Speaking of GPS and nav systems, I had a wierd thing happen last Saturday w/ my Jeep nav.  I was using because I'd never been to Athens, Ohio (small college town, but several streets and turns were needed to get to where I was going from the freeway).   On the way there, I was on a stretch of Ohio-33 (divided highway) that appeared relatively new and got this message on the nav screen ('area with inadequate map information. proceed w/ caution')...then the car icon on the screen jumped off the freeway and wandered around over rivers, forests, hills, backroads a mile or two off the freeway (I ignored and stayed on the freeway).   After about 5 miles it synched back up and was navigating correctly.   Odd.  According to the Wikipedia, that section of freeway was built in 2013. I guess my 2014 maps were out of date...

Usually auto nav's are for sure 1 year but most usually 2yrs behind the latest update. I bought the last year updates were available for my auto's, 2012 so I have it up to date for local driving but really this is the benefit of an Android or Apple play head unit, at least you know you have the latest maps.

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