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  1. #1
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Default On November 3, GPS Rollover Could Affect Older Phones and GPS Device Accuracy

    Below is from the Verizon web site, which explains a potential GPS problem. Apparently, this is associated with the GPS week number roll over that took place this past April. Also, here is a link that goes into a more detailed explanation and lists phones that may be affected. Homeland Security has information here, too.

    I have a Galaxy S5 and it's affected. Hey, Guthook! Are you listening? Will this affect your app?
    "Starting November 3, 2019, for specific devices sold between 2006 and 2016, users may experience Global Positioning System (GPS) location-related issues due to the GPS Week Number Rollover. Voice, text and data services will not be impacted by this rollover.GPS accuracy may impact the performance of navigation applications used on these devices."
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    As long as you keep the software on your phone updated, this is probably a nonissue.

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    THX Idsailor. I too have a S5 Galaxy sometimes used for trail hiking .

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    Default On November 3, GPS Rollover Could Affect Older Phones and GPS Device Accuracy

    Me too. So what kind of potential problem are we looking at.. Is it going to tell you you're somewhere other than where you really are?
    Wouldn't this be more of an issue if you're traveling faster - like in a car - than slow poking along a hiking trail? I'm wondering if whatever the problem is, the error might be negligible if you're hiking...

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    From the Homeland Security Info Link above.

    GPS uses a week counter that enables receivers to calculate the appropriate date. That week counter uses 10 bits and needs to be reset every 1,024 weeks—roughly every 20 years. On April 6, 2019—the first Saturday in April—the GPS week counter will reset to zero. The good news is that with the modernization of GPS the week number counter will be increased to 13 bits and we will not have another event like this for approximately 157 years.

    How do I Prepare for the GPS Week Number Rollover?

    According to the GPS Innovation Alliance[1], GPS-enabled equipment with current firmware should experience no issues due to the rollover. The most important step that individuals and organizations can take to prepare for the April 6th rollover is to ensure that all devices using GPS have up-to-date firmware or software.

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    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiBee View Post
    According to the GPS Innovation Alliance[1], GPS-enabled equipment with current firmware should experience no issues due to the rollover. The most important step that individuals and organizations can take to prepare for the April 6th rollover is to ensure that all devices using GPS have up-to-date firmware or software.
    Problem is older phones may not update due to the manufacturer's lack of continuing support. My Verizon Galaxy S5 had it's last update in January 2018 and will no longer update. Check the list of phones at the link I provided in the original post. I suspect those phones have lost their support and won't update any longer.

    Maybe somebody with more technical knowledge of GPS will jump in here and explain what if anything might happen on the trail with these older phones using a mapping service (not just Guthook). This issue may also affect older, dedicated GPS devices as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    Hey, Guthook! Are you listening? Will this affect your app?
    Did I see a bat-signal in the clouds? Tadaa! :-D

    I hadn't heard of this, but then again I tend to live under a rock and wait for it to fall on my head. Anyway, my app uses whatever location services your phone allows it to use, so if your phone's GPS is affected, any app that uses it (including mine) would be affected as well. It doesn't look like there's anything I can do on my end. I guess see what your phone manufacturer says? They're probably going to want you to buy a new one, of course. Hmm...

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    Default On November 3, GPS Rollover Could Affect Older Phones and GPS Device Accuracy

    Wait a minute. they did the rollover last April. I haven't had any problems with my galaxy s5 since April. Why are we expecting problems in November?

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    By the looks of this, those with older GPS devices and don't carry maps are doomed.

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    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
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    Everything I can find about this along with my limited understanding of the nuts and bolts of GPS function tells me navigation per se wont be affected however, any functions involving using GPS based UTC time will potentially have incorrect time data. So for example, using Guthooks on an older non compliant/or not updated phone may show a incorrect date on comments you submit.

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    Yeah, I wouldn't expect navigation to be affected because a GPS figures out where it is located by looking at the time difference between the various signals it's receiving from all the GPS satellites. It shouldn't care that it thinks the date is from 20 years ago (the math to figure GPS position was the same back then).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    THX Idsailor. I too have a S5 Galaxy sometimes used for trail hiking .
    Attempting to look at detail of the big picture on 3x5" devices gets old hence paper maps.

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    Default On November 3, GPS Rollover Could Affect Older Phones and GPS Device Accuracy

    does anybody know why it's gonna be an issue in November when they did the rollover last April?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jefals View Post
    does anybody know why it's gonna be an issue in November when they did the rollover last April?
    I tried googling the subject. I could find one reference (which I lost while I continued to search) about some sort of offset... like after the last rollover, week 26 was considered week 1. Not sure, couldn't find a detailed explanation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    I tried googling the subject. I could find one reference (which I lost while I continued to search) about some sort of offset... like after the last rollover, week 26 was considered week 1. Not sure, couldn't find a detailed explanation.
    Thks, HookooDooKu.... I think - as long as navigation isn't affected, I'm good. I hope! That Galaxy 5 is still going strong, and would hate to have to buy a new one. It might be the last Samsung where you can change the batteries, and I really like that feature when I'm backpacking... I generally take 5 or 6 spares, and that always gets me to the next town.

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    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jefals View Post
    Thks, HookooDooKu.... I think - as long as navigation isn't affected, I'm good. I hope! That Galaxy 5 is still going strong, and would hate to have to buy a new one. It might be the last Samsung where you can change the batteries, and I really like that feature when I'm backpacking... I generally take 5 or 6 spares, and that always gets me to the next town.
    If you look at the OP, Verizon specifically states owners of older, non-updatable phones "may experience Global Positioning System (GPS) location-related issues due to the GPS Week Number Rollover. " Furthermore, "GPS accuracy may impact the performance of navigation applications used on these devices."

    I'm not sure how the timing issue affects location accuracy, but then again, I'm no expert on the topic - just a Galaxy S5 owner now looking at new phones. I don't just use Guthook, but also Google maps for vehicle navigation, foot and vehicle navigation when I travel in Europe and even when I'm sailing. This is a big thing for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    If you look at the OP, Verizon specifically states owners of older, non-updatable phones "may experience Global Positioning System (GPS) location-related issues due to the GPS Week Number Rollover. " Furthermore, "GPS accuracy may impact the performance of navigation applications used on these devices."
    I'm not sure how the timing issue affects location accuracy, but then again, I'm no expert on the topic - just a Galaxy S5 owner now looking at new phones. I don't just use Guthook, but also Google maps for vehicle navigation, foot and vehicle navigation when I travel in Europe and even when I'm sailing. This is a big thing for me.
    Between the Verizon statement and the Samsung page you can access from the linked page, there's significant ambiguity about the exact effects of this. The Samsung statement seems a little more geared towards it being a simple issue of displayed date/time. Can you deal with a couple of days of GPS downtime by just waiting to test until after 11/3? Worst case you can just replace the phone at that point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    Between the Verizon statement and the Samsung page you can access from the linked page, there's significant ambiguity about the exact effects of this...
    I think that's because no one is sure exactly what else might be tied to the GPS system time that could affect something else...
    For example, I did read one detail about Apple Products. If you don't update your effected device BEFORE 11/3, the timing difference between the GPS system and what ever Wifi you are talking to will prevent the device from updating over WiFi (their solution was to then plug the device into a computer and update thru the computer).

    Speaking of which... I could see where "accuracy might be impacted"... A phone's GPS doesn't act independently. It CAN act independently if there is no data or WiFi signal. But to boost the speed of a phone's GPS system of pinpointing your location, it looks at what data towers and what WiFi units the phone can see. Based on known locations of those signals, the phone can instantly get an estimate of where you are, and then use the GPS to refine your location. {When I hiked the JMT, when I would power up my phone, it would take typically 5 to 15 minutes for the phone to determine it's location with GPS signals only for me to start utilizing Guthook}

    So I could potentially see all sorts of odd things happening to a device where GPS signals say the date/time is one thing, and the internal clock and data sources (cell towers and WiFi signals) give a different date/time.

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    Default On November 3, GPS Rollover Could Affect Older Phones and GPS Device Accuracy

    I was on chat w samsung. he sent me to tomtom.com/us_en/updates. Type in serial # to see if your phone is affected. Mine is.
    but -- I'm gonna wait till 11/3 and see what happens before shelling out $$$.

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    Prior to today, Apple offered free operating system updates for the iPhone 4 and newer. I updated my iPhone 5s a few days ago. All is good.
    Many Thanks Apple!
    Wayne

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