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  • LORAN-C and GPS

    I did a blog post, but thought I would copy it here as well:

    No more LORAN-C, total dependance on GPS
    Submit "No more LORAN-C, total dependance on GPS" to Digg Submit "No more LORAN-C, total dependance on GPS" to del.icio.us Submit "No more LORAN-C, total dependance on GPS" to StumbleUpon Submit "No more LORAN-C, total dependance on GPS" to Google Submit "No more LORAN-C, total dependance on GPS" to Facebook
    Posted Today at 11:21 AM by Dark Tangent
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    I'd love to have been a fly on the wall at Coast Guard when they decided to turn off LORAN-C and that DHS decided we need no backup to GPS.

    Article #1: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/01/...o-Kill-LORAN-C

    "LORAN (Long Range Aids to Navigation) is an electronic navigation system using low-frequency radio, used by many boaters (including me) before GPS. It has an approximately 200m accuracy and is a functional replacement in case GPS fails or the US implements selective availability in time of war. The US Coast Guard, part of the Department of Homeland Security, intends to turn it off starting February 8."

    http://www.insidegnss.com/node/1806
    "Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has certified that the Loran-C system infrastructure is not needed as a backup to the GPS system or to meet any other federal navigation requirement."

    Article #2:

    "Star Wars are back in fashion. With perennial (and nuclear armed) foe Pakistan always teetering on the brink of political collapse and neighboring regional superpower China taking greater strides into space technology, India has announced that it is developing an exo-atmospheric 'kill vehicle' that will knock enemy satellites out of orbit."

    Article #3: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,...est=latestnews

    "Mismanagement and underinvestment by the U.S. Air Force could possibly lead to the failure and blackout of the Global Positioning System (GPS), a federal watchdog agency says. The risk of failure starts in 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report quoted by PC World. The failure would impact not only military operations, but also the millions of people and businesses who rely on the satellite-based navigation systems built into cars, boats and cell phones."

    Everyone and their brother is creating anti-sat weapons, GPS is having a mid-life crisis, and Coast Guard decides to pull the plug on a maritime navigation aid. Is this another disaster in the making, or is reliance on one technology the right thing to do in these times of shrinking budgets? Is there any real alternatives incase GPS suffers a failure or attack?

    Smart readers can guess my opinion!
    PGP Key: https://defcon.org/html/links/dtangent.html

  • #2
    Re: LORAN-C and GPS

    DT, thanks for posting this. I had not seen these articles yet.

    "With respect to transportation — including aviation, commercial maritime, rail, and highway modes — the Department of Transportation has determined that sufficient alternative navigation aids currently exist in the event of a loss of GPS-based services, and therefore Loran currently is not needed as a back-up navigation aid for transportation safety-of-life users, the agencies have concluded." (from the insidegnss article)

    What are these "sufficient alternative navigation aids"? Paper maps and a compass? Many people are so reliant on GPS technology that they have no sense of direction and can't find their way home without consulting the GPS. Personally, I try to avoid using GPS so I do not lose my sense of direction. I definitely understand boaters needing it though. And the issue of anti-satellite weapons - losing several satellites would have a tremendous impact on our military capabilities. Navigation, communications, and a lot of other stuff would be out. It would be like putting blinders on us.
    "Why is it drug addicts and computer afficionados are both called users? " - Clifford Stoll

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    • #3
      Re: LORAN-C and GPS

      Originally posted by AgentDarkApple View Post
      What are these "sufficient alternative navigation aids"? Paper maps and a compass
      Actually yes. For boaters that were around pre-GPS/LORAN, there are maritime maps with buoys and fairly detailed markings for the waterways. It's not as easy as GPS, but it will always work regardless of weather conditions.

      For aircraft the VOR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VHF_omnidirectional_range) has been in place since the 50's. When I went through ground school years ago you had to learn to navigate using VORs, and I don't think that's changed. Again, this is a weather-tolerant system. Granted, it's being phased out slowly, but I believe it will stick around for a little while.

      Not agreeing with what the gubmint is trying to do here, but thought I would toss that out there as devil's advocate.
      Aut disce aut discede

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      • #4
        Re: LORAN-C and GPS

        Originally posted by AlxRogan View Post
        Actually yes. For boaters that were around pre-GPS/LORAN, there are maritime maps with buoys and fairly detailed markings for the waterways. It's not as easy as GPS, but it will always work regardless of weather conditions.

        For aircraft the VOR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VHF_omnidirectional_range) has been in place since the 50's. When I went through ground school years ago you had to learn to navigate using VORs, and I don't think that's changed. Again, this is a weather-tolerant system. Granted, it's being phased out slowly, but I believe it will stick around for a little while.

        Not agreeing with what the gubmint is trying to do here, but thought I would toss that out there as devil's advocate.
        Yep, VORs/TACANs/VORTACs are still used in airways navigation.
        "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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        • #5
          Re: LORAN-C and GPS

          Originally posted by AlxRogan View Post
          Actually yes. For boaters that were around pre-GPS/LORAN, there are maritime maps with buoys and fairly detailed markings for the waterways.
          The only "but" here is...how many people actually know how to use them? Old school boaters, hopefully Navy and Coast Guard guys, probably guys on large commercial ships. But it is a time consuming process that could throw off military operations, and it basically leaves novice boaters or guys who are fully reliant on GPS out in the cold. Another example of how reliance on technology can be to our detriment.

          I am not arguing with you - I am saying that having no other "plan B" for this is stupidity on behalf of those who made this decision. And the people making these decisions are putting others at risk.
          "Why is it drug addicts and computer afficionados are both called users? " - Clifford Stoll

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          • #6
            Re: LORAN-C and GPS

            I was thinking the GPS alternative was the cell tower based geo-location stuff.. but that all requires a network connection to query the cell tower location database and is only integrated into cell phones that I know of.
            PGP Key: https://defcon.org/html/links/dtangent.html

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            • #7
              Re: LORAN-C and GPS

              Stop pissing, Yuri. Give me a stopwatch and a map, and I'll fly the Alps in a plane with no windows.

              xor
              Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

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              • #8
                Re: LORAN-C and GPS

                Originally posted by xor View Post
                Stop pissing, Yuri. Give me a stopwatch and a map, and I'll fly the Alps in a plane with no windows.

                xor
                There are such instrument training flights closer to this reality that one would believe.
                "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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                • #9
                  Re: LORAN-C and GPS

                  Well, the FAA wants to turn off VORs and ILS systems because they cost too much. The idea the FAA has is NEXTGEN will be the replacement. The NEXTGEN ATC uses GPS as its primary mode of geo location oh and there is no backup system.

                  Don't get me started.

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