When GPS doesn’t work

gps

(WTNH) — Have you ever trusted your GPS to get you somehere you’ve never been before, only to find out that the electronic map you’re looking at is wrong. What do you do?

If you’re unfamiliar with how it works, the GPS, or Global Positioning System, uses a series of satellites to send signals to your gps enabled device to pinpoint your location. The federal government operates the GPS system, and it’s been fully operational since in 1995.

PDF: How GPS works

The government has a website, GPS.gov, that goes into details about how GPS works. But while the GPS itself may be accurate, the map underneath that your device is using may be out of date, and that’s not part of what the government does.

There are private companies that create and update the maps for companies you know, such as Apple, Garmin, MapQuest and Google. While they all work to keep their maps updated, that new street in your neighborhood or the road that closed may now be reflected in the map for a while.

But you can help map makers fix that by reporting problems. GPS.gov has links to four map providers to report problems.

googlemap When GPS doesnt work

For example, you may have seen a link on the bottom of a Google map that says Report A Problem. Click on that on a Google map, and up pops a form where you can explain what’s wrong.

But even if you file a trouble ticket with any company, it could take weeks or longer for your system to get a new map to your device.

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