GPS hi-tech . . . . how would we live without it?
We may have to; it’s said to be failing . . . .
Forget about the need to find your morning latte in an unfamiliar city, or navigating one-way city streets . . .
It’s ships at sea, I worry about!
I fish, often 19 – 45 miles of the coast of Oregon. Fog banks can surprise one, especially if it’s part of a ‘south-wester’; they often accompany rough seas at this latitude.
Sure we can follow a compass, but in fog, try finding a specific harbor, avoiding reefs and other boats. My captain, has all the bells and whistles. A few years ago, out about 2 miles, he got out of his chair and sat on the cabin deck where he could not see, bringing the boat into Yaquina bay to the Marina by radar, just as if he could physically see what he was doing . . . . just as were. I was more than impressed; I have complete confidence fishing with Jim; he’s left no safety issue unaddressed and the 26′ Olympic is more than seaworthy!
Last season, the hovering Coast guard helicopter, just over the C/G cutter, just west of the Yaquina Bay bridge, drew residents and locals hearing about it on the radio and by word of mouth, lunch crowds gathered and grew, shoulder to shoulder, binoculars raised, we all watched the Coast Guard vessel pull a sailboat from where it had run aground. Obviously, they’d misread the lights at the entrance – the intensity and concern about crossing the bar there in Newport, can distract one. As one of the crowd, watching from the bluff just above, near the lighthouse in the park, Icould imagine the panic and subsequent scrambling, when they hit ground and the expensive sailboat began to take waves washing over the deck as it began to list to port.
The embarrassed sailor had tried to enter the harbor late the night before and missed the entrance. Now, the mast no longer pointing straight to the heavens, was indicating something was seriously wrong . . . . they were about 20 feet north of the jetty; they could have just as easily been on the rocks and drowned the night before; they were lucky.
Without a GPS system . . . . when it first goes down, . . . sailors and captains will be out of luck! One can know exactly where the port is . . . . ports don’t move! It’s where you are in reference to it, that’s the problem!
Planes are an even worse problem . . . . there’s still radar, . . . but with the number and frequency of commercial airliners, it’s even more critical; who can predict what will happen?
The U.S. government accounting office, (GAO) reports that because of mismanagement and lack of investment by the Air Force, (struggling, evidently, with an inept [ ? ] contractor) GPS satellites could begin to fail as early as 2010 . . . . another critical part of our failing infrastructure! Again, this all comes back to management (government officials wanting to be re-elected) – investing in too many entitlement programs while ignoring long-term upkeep and maintenance of systematic critical infrastructure!
Instead, officials fixed Hubbell – pictures of outter space are important . . . GPS replacement satellites are about 3 years behind.
I assume all these problems can be fixed . . . good thing our military doesn’t depend upon GPS! (that’s sarcasm for those who don’t recognize it)
Other countries, for instance Russia, an ally to Iran and its’ proxy terrorists, and No. Korea, etc., began recently, expanding their systems . . . maybe they’ll allow us to piggyback off theirs, when the crap hits the fan and the military critically needs the GPS . . . . Ya think maybe ? ? ?