back to list

The Cost Of GPS Failure On A Country’s Economy

What happens when GPS goes down?


What's going on?

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a technological marvel, incorporating satellites orbiting far overhead to pinpoint locations anywhere on Earth. Since its inception in the 1980s, GPS has become an indispensable, invisible utility affecting many parts of daily life. It consists of 24 satellites with clocks that are precisely synchronized. When a GPS device needs its location, it takes signals from those satellites to establish where it is. However, even a slight imprecision can throw this location off by hundreds of kilometers.


A study in the United Kingdom revealed that the country would lose $5.2 billion over the first five days if GPS went down. The massive losses would be in places such as airports, where planes could not be located to people being unable to call an Uber, or emergency services being unable to locate callers. All these real-life examples show the importance of GPS, but unfortunately, there is also a problem as GPS can be vulnerable to external attacks. There is the potential for terrorists or nations to send false signals to the receiver, causing mass disruption to systems all over a country. Even natural causes like a massive solar storm could disrupt the whole system.


Perhaps the worst damage of all would not be the simple issue of not knowing where you are, but it would be wrongly convinced to knowing where you are. The reality is that GPS affects our daily lives more than we know, and one can only experience this hard truth in the case of the failure of GPS – be it an individual, business, or an entire country.


Could the world cope if GPS stopped working?