Does Your GPS Need Sun Protection?
Don't rely solely on the latest GPS device to guide you safely to your destination. Even if you keep the batteries fully charged, the sun is quietly doing damage a thick layer of SPF can't block.
According to the Associated Press solar flares are public enemy number one for GPS devices, reducing accuracy or preventing them from determining your position completely. And this isn't just theoretical musing. Apparently an unexpected solar radio burst on December 6, 2006 "affected virtually every GPS receiver on the lighted half of Earth."
Should you worry? Solar activity runs in 11-year cycles, with the next peak due in 2011. Cornell University electrical engineer Paul M. Kintner Jr. claims researchers need to work quickly, but the two possible solutions will both be costly. "Either alter all GPS antennas to screen out solar signals or replace all of the GPS satellites with ones that broadcast a stronger signal."
That seems a bit overzealous. We Nomadic Fanatiks have a less expensive solution. Bring along a good map and a reliable compass.
And don't for get the sunscreen - for yourself.
Outdoor Adventure Expert