Author Topic: GPS after Brexit  (Read 5956 times)

GPS after Brexit
« on: August 20, 2020, 01:54:57 pm »
I can’t find anything on this previously, but apologies if it’s been covered.
My perception is that post a hard Brexit the UKs access to some GPS satellites may be compromised. I’ve no idea what this means.
I am aware that the current UK Government has sunk a big wedge of money into a highly dubious company that seems to not be the answer.
Given that so much depends on GPS these days, commercially and for leisure, am I wrong in fearing a calamitous result?

simonp

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2020, 01:58:05 pm »
It's not GPS we lose access to, it's Galileo, which is an EU system.


frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2020, 02:07:19 pm »
It's pure Project Fear.  In any case, if it's Galileo that will be the issue, who currently uses a GPS that only receives Galileo? 
you only live but once, and when you're dead you're done, so let the good times roll

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2020, 02:14:06 pm »
There's multiple levels of GPS for different purposes.
GPS, GLONASS and Galileo all have "public" access levels that are reasonably accurate.

Which is fine if you're getting directions to drive a car between large areas on well defined routes, accurate enough if you're recording a walk, cycle or run and good enough to send a helicopter to find you if it all goes pear shaped

BUT... the public access accuracy of those systems is no where near good enough when you're pointing a £1m worth of arsenal at a battleship in the middle of the Atlantic; to avoid a very expensive splash you need considerably better accuracy.

That's what the UK is losing from Galileo due to Brexit.
Obviously GLONASS is not an acceptable alternative unless Cummings really is a Russian agent, in which case we're Donald Ducked.

Which leaves the British military forces entirely dependent on being friendly enough with the US to get better aiming accuracy than others.
The US don't give us or any other NATO member full GPS access either they keep the highest accuracy levels to themselves.

It's all part of the traditional story of British resting on their laurels (of having a smashingly good land based radio navigation system) while the Americans, Chinese and Russians produced better and trying to claim the flag on the sticker meant it was brilliant...



From a consumer level the only real issue with consumer devices using SatNav systems is when the owner deliberately offsets it by an amount known only to them (which usually means they're about to blow something up and don't want the enemy to use the same system to hit them); realistically this is only a consumer problem if you're on the Western Isles or North West Scotland during Operation Join Warrior.

If you're running around a desert with assault rifle on the other hand...

Zed43

  • prefers UK hills over Dutch mountains
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2020, 02:15:39 pm »
Both GPS and Galileo (and Glonass for that matter) will continue to work just fine in the UK past Brexit.

However, the UK will be excluded from the more militarily sensitive parts of Galileo once they're no longer a EU member.

[edit]boy can that FifeingEejit type fast...

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2020, 02:21:49 pm »
Not just military. The higher accuracy Galileo could be useful for a variety of purposes. eg surveying work. Or automated planting or crop spraying etc.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2020, 02:28:43 pm »
Not just military. The higher accuracy Galileo could be useful for a variety of purposes. eg surveying work. Or automated planting or crop spraying etc.

Reminds me of the pictures some of my mates have taken while working fields in modern tractors; they don't really need to be in the cab all the driving is done by the tractor following a route set for high accuracy sat nav.

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2020, 02:36:33 pm »
The military Galileo signal is encrypted, as is the military GPS signal, and one needs access to the encryption keys to use it. The EU was willing, at least in principle, to negotiate access to the keys (see para. 135 https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication-annex-negotiating-directives.pdf) but it's not clear if the UK government accepted the offer.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2020, 03:04:38 pm »
Also question about EGNOS. It can improve the accuracy of GPS or Galileo. EGNOS uses a network of ground stations to provide correction data, including several sites in the UK. So will they still be available?

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2020, 03:12:10 pm »
What's the betting that Boris comes up with a world-beating system involving church towers, Ursa Major and which side of a tree has the most moss growing on it?
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2020, 03:34:23 pm »
Is that the contract with Dom's mate for £99 billion or is it the one Grayling signed where they check the moss on the trees in the Sahara?
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2020, 04:09:46 pm »
What's the betting that Boris comes up with a world-beating system involving church towers, Ursa Major and which side of a tree has the most moss growing on it?

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jul/03/uk-buys-stake-bankrupt-oneweb-satellite-rival-eu-galileo-system

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2020, 04:25:52 pm »
I believe the UK Govt bought that stake in Oneweb not to make it into a GPS system, but to stop it falling into Chinese hands.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2020, 12:18:24 am »

As a private individual, in the short term, no change.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2020, 08:57:08 am »
Indeed, it's impossible to "turn off" access to a subset of consumer grade devices. There's simply no mechanism to do that.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2020, 08:57:45 am »
Many thanks all, my fears are abated

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2020, 09:07:54 am »
What's the betting that Boris comes up with a world-beating system involving church towers, Ursa Major and which side of a tree has the most moss growing on it?
I think you mean spaffing 500 million for a share of a failed satellite company.. which has satellites in low earth orbit which...errr.. dont have the high presicion clocks needed for a positioning system.

ps. I do believe that LEO satellites are useless for a positioning system, even if they have precision clocks aboard. I Cannot say that categorically though.
Cumming's wheeze was to somehow knit a GPS alike system from these LEO satellites. How - we have no idea.

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2020, 09:10:28 am »
Indeed, it's impossible to "turn off" access to a subset of consumer grade devices. There's simply no mechanism to do that.

I believe that accuracy CAN be degraded during military exercises in certain areas. There are notices to mariners/airmen when this happens.
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/spectrum/information/gps-jamming-exercises

Aha - this article talks about 'jamming' - I would imagine this is a terrestrial transmitter broadcasting spoof GPS signals, which in technical terms drives your car or marine satnav loopy.

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2020, 09:19:59 am »
Which leaves the British military forces entirely dependent on being friendly enough with the US to get better aiming accuracy than others.
The US don't give us or any other NATO member full GPS access either they keep the highest accuracy levels to themselves.
I was unaware of this. I thought there was just selective availability which was switched off in 1999 so currently military and civilian are the same. Also I believe as the constellation of gps satellites in the American system has been updated (some were 40 years old) the latest receivers (both military and non military) can have 30cm accuracy.

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2020, 09:44:19 am »
I thought there was just selective availability which was switched off in 1999 so currently military and civilian are the same.
Anyone can receive the military signals but they are encrypted and without the encryption keys there is no way to extract the data. The keys are often updated so old keys stop working. The UK probably has access to US military GPS keys, although that access could be withdrawn. The UK was offered access to military Galileo keys as part of Brexit; I assume we would accept but I don't know where to look to determine whether the government did accept.

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2020, 09:47:59 am »
I thought there was just selective availability which was switched off in 1999 so currently military and civilian are the same.
Anyone can receive the military signals but they are encrypted and without the encryption keys there is no way to extract the data. The keys are often updated so old keys stop working. The UK probably has access to US military GPS keys, although that access could be withdrawn. The UK was offered access to military Galileo keys as part of Brexit; I assume we would accept but I don't know where to look to determine whether the government did accept.
But currently there is no difference in accuracy between the two. Even when there was it could be circumvented using differential gps.

JStone

  • E=112
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2020, 05:20:25 pm »
Indeed, it's impossible to "turn off" access to a subset of consumer grade devices. There's simply no mechanism to do that.

I believe that accuracy CAN be degraded during military exercises in certain areas. There are notices to mariners/airmen when this happens.
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/spectrum/information/gps-jamming-exercises

Aha - this article talks about 'jamming' - I would imagine this is a terrestrial transmitter broadcasting spoof GPS signals, which in technical terms drives your car or marine satnav loopy.

Drifting slightly OT, but I see that the current NOTAM in force for jamming around the Epynt / Sennybridge range includes a phone number for 'emergency cease jam' - could always try calling if my Garmin goes haywire when out riding!

GNSS SIGNAL JAMMING TRIAL. GND JAMMERS LOCATED WI 3NM RADIUS PSN
520052N 0033832W (DIXIES CORNER, POWYS, WALES). ACTIVITY MAY AFFECT
ACFT WI 62NM (ALL DIRECTIONS) AND 62NM RADIUS OF SITE. EMERGENCY
CEASE JAM CONTACT 01874 635599 OR 01980 953785. DURING TRIAL GNSS
REC MAY SUFFER INTERMITTENT/TOTAL FAILURE, OR GIVE INCORRECT PSN
INFO. CREWS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THESE LIMITATIONS AND USE ALT MEANS
OF NAV. FOR INFO 01980 953785. 2020-08-0277/AS4

https://notaminfo.com/ukmap


Néophyte > 2007 > Ancien > 2011 > Récidiviste

Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2020, 11:03:45 pm »
I'd quite like my etrex to have military grade GPS accuracy. I wonder how hard it would be - why aren't the more accurate signals made available to consumer devices?
Are they somehow more taxing to the satellite so that if millions of devices were using it, it couldn't cope.... Or is it just a security thing?
If it's the data, surely the information about exactly where I am standing isn't such a big secret... Or is it?
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2020, 11:32:15 pm »
I'd quite like my etrex to have military grade GPS accuracy. I wonder how hard it would be - why aren't the more accurate signals made available to consumer devices?
Are they somehow more taxing to the satellite so that if millions of devices were using it, it couldn't cope.... Or is it just a security thing?
If it's the data, surely the information about exactly where I am standing isn't such a big secret... Or is it?

It's just the data.  The signal is a broadcast, so the satellite doesn't know or care who's listening.

It's a big secret because anyone who knows how to work balsa wood and an arduino could build a cruise missile around the civilian version, and the military would quite like the ability to turn that off, while still knowing where their planes and boats are.

(This is mostly 90s-era paranoia, when you mostly used GPS for navigating in the middle of nowhere.  Turning civilian GPS off now would be Bad, because boffins worked out how to use it for important things like synchronising the stock market.)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: GPS after Brexit
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2020, 11:50:22 pm »
If civilian GPS were turned off now, the only people getting their Nandos from Uber Eats would be the ones who used their what3words address, and we don't want that to happen.
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)