In relation directly to this news post, this two year old, short article, from the Defensive Training Group blog, on why one might want to know Land Navigation and have the requisite equipment is very apropos.
So, you say, you don’t need to know how to use a map or compass, figure declination, or plot coordinates because you’ve got your handy-dandy palm-sized GPS that goes 5 years on a set of batteries, and is accurate to within 1 meter, huh? If that’s you, you might want to consider that the old story regarding GPS signals being subject to random programmable errors (meaning that your super-accurate GPS can purposely be fed bad signals and take you off target as far as the programmer wishes) is true. What’s more, the increased dependency of our society to have our navigation done for us by mini-computers makes us dependent upon that technology, and puts us at the mercy of the machine and people running it.
The GPS system is now being purposefully jammed in tests by the US Navy [and refer to the link above for another successful GPS jamming exercise, this time by the Russians] to test a new device used specifically for jamming GPS signals. Read the full story, here. Below are some key quotes:
“Starting today, it appears the US military will be testing a device or devices that will potentially jam GPS signals for six hours each day. We say “appears” because officially the tests were announced by the FAA but are centered near the US Navy’s largest installation in the Mojave Desert. And the Navy won’t tell us much about what’s going on.
The FAA issued an advisory warning pilots on Saturday that global positioning systems (GPS) could be unreliable during six different days this month, primarily in the Southwestern United States. On June 7, 9, 21, 23, 28, and 30th the GPS interference testing will be taking place between 9:30am and 3:30pm Pacific time. But if you’re on the ground, you probably won’t notice interference.”
“GPS technology has become so ubiquitous that cheap jamming technology has become a real concern for both military and civilian aircraft [and anyone else using the technology on the ground].”
Land Navigation – Old School – It works ALL the time! If you don’t know how, you might want to move it up a bit on your priority list – it’s not that difficult to learn. I’ll be reposting some older ‘how to’ and ‘why’ pieces in the next couple weeks.