You may be hearing about GPS Week Rollover. So what does it mean, and how will it affect you?

Computers and related devices have a class of software bugs commonly referred to as time formatting and storage bugs that may cause time and date errors. The most well-known time formatting and storage bug was Y2K.

GPS Week Rollover refers to a date this year (April 6, 2019) in which the second GPS epoch ends and the third epoch begins (when the GPS epoch rolls over). GPS dates are expressed as 10-bit values, and every 1024 weeks (the GPS epoch) resets. The first GPS epoch began on January 6, 1980. Since then, every 1024 weeks it resets to the original date. The first epoch ended on August 21, 1999, and this second one will end on April 6 at 23:59:42. (The third one will end on November 20, 2038.)

To ensure minimal service disruptions, updates and patches have been deployed by major GPS providers for consumer electronics. Check with your specific provider if you have questions. For those involved in critical infrastructure related to GPS, the Department of Homeland Security has issued these guidelines. Newer GPS systems use a 13-bit value, which has a much longer epoch (8192 weeks or 157 years) so the next reset won’t happen until the year 2137.