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Exeter Science Park learns losing GPS could cost UK £1 billon per day

By March 6, 2018January 26th, 2021Member News & Updates, STEMM, Why Exeter blog

A glimpse into the future of GPS technology and its potential impact on our everyday lives has been presented by world leading industry experts at Exeter Science Park.

John Pottle, Director of the Royal Institute of Navigation, and Guy Buesnel, Positioning, Navigation and Timing Security Technologist with Paignton-based Spirent Communications Plc, tackled the subject of vulnerabilities of GPS and where it will lead us in the future.

John explained: “Many people call GPS and global positioning technology the invisible utility, so I think that in the future GPS will be everywhere. Whether it is in an autonomous car, in a drone, behind the scenes synchronising communications networks or in your mobile devices, GPS will play a part in giving you position and time for nearly everything that you do in your everyday life.”

 “If GPS suddenly shuts down, it can be quite serious. There was a study done in the last 12 months – which the Royal Institute of Navigation was involved with – where research showed that the economic impact to a five-day outage to GPS and other satellite navigation systems would be over £1 billion per day” John continued.

“But this doesn’t mean we’re all constantly at risk; different sectors use GPS in different ways. Generally speaking, safety critical applications like aviation are very well protected with multiple layers of augmentation or integrity. But funny things can happen if GPS stops working. For example, cash machines have been known to stop working when GPS has been jammed by accident in America.”

John Pottle’s presentation was part of a series of events being held at Exeter Science Park, which brings leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and academics to South West audiences interested in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM).

The final presentation in this term’s series of The STEMM Cell @ Exeter Science Park events will take place on Wednesday 21st March at 5pm – The secret of the pitch perfect presentation. Discover how to get a standing ovation with tips from live theatre performance – Paul Jepson, Artistic and Executive Director, Exeter Northcott Theatre.

Tickets are just £10, with discounts for Exeter Science Park tenants and students available. To book or for more information, visit

Dr Sally Basker, CEO of Exeter Science Park, said: “The South West is home to a host of leading innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs and businesspeople, so we have created this platform to share the exciting knowledge and innovative projects that take place across Devon and beyond. All our speakers have been identified for their expertise, knowledge and skills that can benefit others.

“It was a pleasure to host John and to hear his insights into technology and GPS, something that we all use day-to-day but never really stop to think about.”

To find out more about events at Exeter Science Park, visit or follow them on Twitter @ExeterSciencePk or LinkedIn.