May 1, 2000

President Clinton Announces End of SA For GPS

In a press release dated May 1, 2000, President Clinton announced that the United States will stop the intentional degradation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) signals that are available to the public. The change is to go into effect at 12:01 AM, May 2, 2000. This is six years ahead of the target date of 2006, that had been established in March of 1996. The intentional degrading of civilian GPS signals is known as Selective Availability and simply called SA.

This decision will boost the accuracy of all GPS units greatly. In his press release statement, President Clinton said that the pinpoint accuracy of civilian GPS should improve by up to 10 per cent. Further plans call for the addition of 2 more civilian GPS signals to enhance the civil and commercial uses of the system and adding 18 additional satellites.

In a related announcement by Garmin, who is one of the world's leading manufacturers of GPS units, they stated that after a brief adjustment period, the accuracy of civilian GPS signals would improve greatly. Garmin also stated that the differential GPS or DGPS units would still maintain a slightly better degree of accuracy. This is no doubt due to the fact that a set of fixed position receivers are always monitoring the system for even the slightest deviation.

For us fishermen, this is a significant development. We are about to see just how accurate a navigation system can be. It will be nice to run to a favorite fishing spot and see the structure appear on the fishfinder, just as the distance changes to 0. It looks like our choices might just be accuracy within 10 meters by GPS or within 5 meters by DGPS.

You can view the Presidential Press Release at http://www.whitehouse.gov/library/PressReleases.cgi?date=0&briefing=0. It is dated May 1, 2000.

You can view the Garmin announcement at http://www.garmin.com/whatsNew/announcements2000/announcements01.html.

Capt. Jerry Dilsaver





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