The GPS rollover that fizzeled - or did it? : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread


Oops... August 1999, satelittes, GPS, 8 months later and still not quite working right... makes you wonder...

-- @ (bump@the.road), April 11, 2000


forgive the typos... interesting it's just now coming out. How many other bugs got swept under the rug and are waiting to crawl out?

Yes, still a doomer :) and no money in BUYX either...

-- @ (bump@the.road), April 11, 2000.

Nothing would surprise me, ....oops that's the outed doomer mentality giving me a meme massage again.

Truth is usually stranger than fiction, right?

-- Will (, April 12, 2000.

Interesting, but exactly what does this have to do with GPS systems? The GPS is the receiver, not the sending system.

Have you been smoking dope with Paula Gordon again? The paranoia will get you if you're not careful, you know.

-- E.H. Porter (Just, April 12, 2000.

E H, GPS is a space based ground positioning system that sends signals from the space based system to ground based receivers.... not only for ground positions, but also for timing of many other systems.

Where have you been... your ignorance is showing :-)

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), April 12, 2000.

Netghost -- I've been here all the time. My Garmin GPS assures me of this. The issue with the so called "GPS Rollover" was that the GPS system was NOT date sensitive. Instead, it has a counter that rolled over last year. Everyone does know this, did know this, and never debated this.

The question was: how would older GPS units (the recievers) handle it, when the counter reset to zero. The answer turned out to be: quite well.

So, what does the "GPS rollover" have to do with the subject matter that the original post links too?

-- E.H. Porter (Just, April 12, 2000.

Where exactly does this article even mention GPS? I don't see it. It states there was a breakdown in the computer system that distrubes and compares photos. Unfortunately, computers do fail to work, even "secret" computers. Unless you're saying becuase the problem began in August it "must" be related to GPS?

-- Jim Cooke (, April 12, 2000.

Ah, the polly mentality, gotta love it...

Let's see, for those who can't remember back that far, the problem with the GPS rollover was not with the satellites, but with the ground based recievers.. check the old TB archives... photos were still coming through, as the report said, but critical information as to where and when those photos were taken was toast...

August, 1999... GPS rollover... we lose our coordinated spy satellite imaging system for months, still not at 100%...

Glitches happen all the time right? Just beacause they happen at the same time they were predicted to happen is pure coincidence, right?

And the report doesn't specifically say a GPS rollover glitch, thats true; but they didn't say squat for 8 months either, and I'm sure they would have prefered to not say anything, if some nosey SOB from the press hadn't gotten hold of the story...

Keep your head in the sand kiddies... it's a lot easier isn't it?

-- @ (bump@the.road), April 12, 2000.

EH.... The GPS is the receiver, not the sending system. .... DUH :-)

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), April 12, 2000.

GPS is a SYSTEM... satellites orbiting pulsing timed signals back to the earth, picked up ny recievers that triangulate the data to determine position... too bad all the old timers that used to love to scour the archives aren't around anymore... everything you ever wanted to know about the GPS is in there.. along with the .gov's comments that the satellities were not the concern, it was the ground based recievers that INTERPRETED the data that could be a problem...

More to come kiddies... watch the NASDAQ on and after 4/24/1900...

-- @ (bump@the.road), April 12, 2000.

Netghost -- agree with your last post. Why would you think I would not?

-- E.H. Porter (Just, April 12, 2000.

Ah, doomer mentality, you've got to love it.

The story doesn't say it has anything to do with GPS. It says the problem was with computer system that distributes and compares the photos. The actual article in the NT Times states this is the case and nowhere mentions GPS? Did you actually read the original article or is Drudge your only news source?

Simply because the problem began in August is a pretty poor link to a GPS problem. Of course, that's what "They" want us to believe.

Just keep your head in the sand....

-- Jim Cooke (, April 12, 2000.


The GPS is the receiver, not the sending system.

Your words.... not mine :-)

The sending system is the GPS... almost all of the system is sending.. it's in orbit, hard to fix and it does much more than tell you where you are :-)

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), April 12, 2000.

Jim, Last August we lost 3 fishing boats to charted rocks at night... everyone knows where the rocks are, but we lost them anyway.

I don't know if they were useing only GPS, but if you know fishermen, they do rely on all the bells and whistles... it's an ego thing with them... we've lost 4 since then..... not people... BOATS !!!!.. crews of 7 or 8... I'm not going anywhere with this, altho I hear they went back to LORAN.

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), April 12, 2000.


Unfortunately, we lose fishing boats on a pretty regular basis. Hitting charted rocks at night is not an uncommon way for any fishing boat to sink.

I use a GPS on a regular basis as a member of my county sheriff's search and rescue team. I have not seen any degradation of GPS accuracy since the rollover. For civilians, and that includes fisherman, the GPS can always be off by as far as 100 meters if the DOD has the dither turned up. LORAN-C, by contrast, is never as accurate as a GPS if the dither is turned down and always has a circular error of 50 meters. Neither system is sufficently accurate for sailing at night in waters with known hazards.

-- Jim Cooke (, April 12, 2000.

Doomer mentality you gotta love it. Finding the interconnectedness when none is there. Jim beat me to it.

"Let's see, for those who can't remember back that far, the problem with the GPS rollover was not with the satellites, but with the ground based recievers.. check the old TB archives... photos were still coming through, as the report said, but critical information as to where and when those photos were taken was toast..." How does @ make the connection to GPS by this statement? Do you actually believe that GPS receivers receive intel data? BWHAHAHAHA You sound like you know alot but if your only source is the archives, you're in trouble.

-- Maria (, April 12, 2000.

BTW, you betcha, intel folks would like to keep this a secret. That's their job, not to let our foes know our capabilities nor our vulnerabilities.

-- Maria (, April 12, 2000.

-- (Also@see.this), April 12, 2000.

This section of the report:

"Risen reports that, according to a top official, the computer breakdown 'was far more serious than the brief, previously disclosed Year 2000-related problems in intelligence systems that occurred over the New Year's holiday.'"

implies that it was a 2000-related problem.

-- viewer (, April 12, 2000.

Registration is required for the NY Times article. Can you copy/paste it? Thanks.

-- viewer (, April 12, 2000.


The registration is free. Is there some reason you can't simply register and read the article yourself?

How does stating that the problem described was worse than another problem that was Y2K related imply that this problem is Y2K related? Or, does the mere mention of Y2K in an article mean to you that all other problems are automatically Y2K related?

The article says they replaced the computer system as part of their Y2K project. The new system didn't work right. This is only a suprise if you believe that all new computer systems work right.

-- Jim Cooke (, April 12, 2000.

Some Tinfoilers© just can't give up.

Oh well, somebody has to keep GN and EY in business!


-- Listen Sucker, (U@got.CONNED), April 12, 2000.

From the Drudge link in the initial post to this thread:

While the satellites could still take pictures, there was no way for them to be properly distributed to the government's top intelligence. As a makeshift solution, pictures that could be viewed on computer monitors were described over the phone to officials needing to know.

Risen also reports that another solution was to make computer screen print-outs which were transported by courier to top officials.

This excerpt seems to imply that the problem was not with the ability to correlate photos with their coordinates, but rather with distributing this data to everyone with a need to know. Serious indeed, but the article suggests an aging system rather than date related problems, as the cause.

-- David L (, April 12, 2000.

New York Times on the Web National Politics

Computer Ills Meant U.S. Couldn4t Read Its Spy Photographs
-- The United States government4s ability to keep track of looming international threats was drastically curtailed last year because of a prolonged computer breakdown at the Pentagon agency that collects and analyzes photographs from spy satellites, several federal intelligence officials said.

The computer malfunction was so bad in August that United States intelligence agencies were left nearly blind for a few days, unable to rely on photographs from any spy satellites for use in a wide range of intelligence operations, officials added.

"This was a catastrophic systems failure," one senior official said.

"We were really lucky that there weren't any major crises going on at the time."

The computer crisis, at the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, began in early August and continued for about a month, and was far more serious than the brief, previously disclosed Year 2000-related problems in intelligence systems that occurred over the New Year's holiday, officials said. It came as the mapping agency was installing a new system, which caused the breakdown. Some critics have said the new system may have been inadequately tested.

After months of work, the problem has largely been solved, although some officials said the system still did not work as it should.

The malfunction was seen as a serious problem within the government because spy satellites are among the most important national security tools available to the United States. They provide the president and his advisers prized information through high-resolution images on every national security issue, including Chinese naval deployment and Iraq's rebuilding of its chemical weapons plants.

For several weeks, the nation's fleet of spy satellites continued to take pictures, but the computer malfunction prevented the mapping agency from quickly distributing photographs from them over a classified network to Clinton administration policy makers, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon, officials said.

With its sophisticated hardware malfunctioning, the government had to rely on low-tech solutions. Analysts at the mapping agency would look at the photographs on computer screens and describe them over the telephone to officials who needed the information. In other cases, the agency made printouts from its computer terminals and then had couriers deliver the photographs to policy makers at the White House and other government agencies.

But the computer databases that contained archives of older photographs at the mapping agency were also malfunctioning, robbing analysts of the ability to compare the few new images they were receiving with earlier pictures of the same buildings and installations. That made it extremely difficult for intelligence officials to develop strong analytical judgments about critical foreign policy issues facing the president.

The system was so badly limited that only imagery dealing with topics that posed short-term threats to the national security of the United States -- the North Korean nuclear weapons program, for example -- was processed quickly.

"If we had had multiple hot spots flare up all at once, I don't think we could have handled it," said one senior intelligence official. "We were not quite blind, but we were way short for at least a few days."

Analysts working on longer-term issues -- narcotics production and trafficking, for example -- were forced to endure much longer delays in their requests to obtain satellite photographs, officials said.

"There was a major dip in the volume of imagery," said one official. "If you were an analyst monitoring the development of narcotics crops, or you were watching a new military facility being constructed somewhere, you faced significant delays."

Senior government officials acknowledged that the prolonged breakdown represented a major technological challenge for the United States intelligence community.

The breakdown has intensified an internal debate over whether the government is prepared to handle a new generation of spy satellites to be deployed over the next decade, the single most expensive intelligence program in United States history.

Critics say the intelligence community is spending billions of dollars for the new fleet of high-tech spy satellites while largely ignoring how to process, analyze and distribute the flood of photos those satellites will send to Earth. Matching the new generation of satellites with the system of collecting and processing their photos "will be like lashing together a Mercedes and a Trabant," said one official, comparing the German luxury car to the economy compact produced by the former East Germany.

The price of the satellite program, dubbed the Future Imagery Architecture, quickly grew by 50 percent, prompting Congress to demand a cap on spending increases. Although the exact price of the program is classified, the cost overruns have raised concerns about whether there will be enough money to improve the systems on the ground to handle the data from the new satellites.

"The problem is that the Future Imagery Architecture program is being built without much consideration for the need to invest in infrastructure to support it," one official said.

Task forces made up of senior C.I.A. and mapping agency officials worked on the problem from August through December, first to rig ways to get imagery to policy makers and then to fix the computer malfunction itself. But problems at the mapping agency continued to flare for months, officials said.

"I don't think it is still really fixed," said one senior official.

Laura Snow, acting chief of public affairs for the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, said agency officials would not comment on the malfunction. "We can't go into details of the system because of security issues," Ms. Snow said.

The computer problems developed just as the agency was overhauling its main computer system and installing a new one, called the National Exploitation System, in time to deal with Year 2000 problems, officials said. But as soon as it was installed in early August, analysts found it impossible to transfer images to administration policy makers and other intelligence analysts.

"This was a massive information technology overhaul, and the lesson is that we in the intelligence community have to learn how to do that better," said one official.

"There is a question about whether N.I.M.A. has expertise to manage the technical challenge they are going to face in systems integration and acquisition and support of the new satellites," another official said.

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency has been at the center of debate since it was created in 1996, when spy satellite photo collection and analysis was transferred from the C.I.A. to the Pentagon at the urging of the former director of central intelligence, John M. Deutch. Critics in the intelligence community warned that the move was a mistake. They argued that with the Pentagon in control, the satellites would be used largely for tactical military issues, like determining how many tanks are in a certain region of Serbia, rather than intelligence issues with broad political implications.

When you can't compare old to new, isn't that date related? Whatever, at least none of our many "friends" knew about the hole to take advantage of it :) GPS? Y2K? Maybe. First Class F*ck Up? No doubt.

[edited html that broke the thread. OTFR]

-- @ (bump@the.road), April 17, 2000.

Is it done now?

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), April 19, 2000.

Let's try now.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), April 19, 2000.

Maybe now?

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), April 19, 2000.

One more time.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), April 19, 2000.

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