I don’t consider myself a GPS expert, but this seems like a pretty bad thing. According to Cornell researchers, all GPS units will be serverely affected in the year 2011 by a dramatic increase in solar flares. Apparently, they have always been extremely succeptable to solar activity, but it hasn’t been a big deal because the sun has been relatively calm since the rise of GPS recievers. In 2011, however, solar activity will rise “due to cyclic changes to the Sun’s magnetic field – a peak period known as the solar maximum.” The researchers are saying that throughout the year, GPS units will simply fail for hours at a time. This could be a serious problem for airplane pilots, Search & Rescue teams, and my dad when he’s trying to find his way to the new Home Depot.
Solar flares will disrupt GPS in 2011 [New Scientist]