On June 6, RTI International released a comprehensive study of the economic benefits of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). The study, commissioned by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), estimates that GPS generated $1.4 trillion in U.S. economic benefits since the system became available in the 1980s.
At the request of the Office of Space Commerce and the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Executive Committee, the study presents an additional analysis of the potential economic damages from a 30-day GPS outage.
Though uncommon, a GPS outage could potentially have an economic impact of $1 billion a day. The study found that economic impacts vary according to industry, time of year and point in the outage cycle. For example, if a 30-day outage occurred during critical planting seasons for farmers, the impact could be as high as $45 billion. To date, GPS outages have lasted less than one day.