First Post

This is the first in a series of posts detailing the work Direct-Track has been involved with during the last few months.  We have been involved with work on assessing and identifying the vulnerabilities related to the GNSS/GPS system. 

For clarification there are a number of satellite constellations either in service or in the development stages.  These different systems are owned and operated by different nations or groups.  They all have their own unique identification and capabilities, but for the purposes of this article I am going to refer to the whole of the GNSS system as GPS. 

A huge number of us are active users of the signals produced from the GNSS satellite constellations supporting the GPS system, and a large percentage of us are unaware of the level of reliance we have on the system.  It is estimated that there were 3.6 Billion, yes that is Billion, GPS devices in use at the end of 2014.  That is 1 device for every 2 people on earth.  It is estimated that by 2019 there will be 7 Billion devices reliant on GPS signals.

The level of integration of GPS technology and functionality is shocking.  Dr. David Last, a world renowned expert on radio navigation and the impact of GNSS usage, states that “There is no area of commerce in the UK that is not reliant on GPS.”

Think about that for a second,  “ area of commerce…”.  The definition of commerce as described in the Collins English dictionary is “…the activity embracing all forms of the purchase and sale of goods and services.”

That includes banking, on-line purchases, mobile phone networks, delivery and cargo shipping services, electricity grids, radio and television services… anything to do with business.  Not just finding your way to the nearest restaurant you like via your handheld GPS unit.  We are all directly reliant, in one form or another, on the continued integrity of the signals received on earth from the GPS satellites.

In the next article we will look at how the GPS signals are used in various industries.