According to the research GPS jammers are being used by people driving vehicles that are fitted with tracking devices that are being used to mask their movements. The study found more than 60 GPS jamming incidents were identified in one location alone in just six months.
The team behind the research believes it is the first study of its kind in the UK and the full report was presented at the GNSS Vulnerability 2012: Present Danger, Future Threats conference held at the National Physical Laboratory this week.
The research project used 20 roadside monitors to detect jammer use and using sensors recorded every time a vehicle with a jammer passed by.
“We believe there”s between 50 and 450 occurrences in the UK every day,” said Charles Curry of Chronos Technology, the company leading the project, although the project is still analysing the data.
Speaking to the BBC Curry said that the research seemed to show that most jammers were small portable devices with an area of effect of between 200m and 300m.
The project, which received £1.5m funding from the Technology Strategy Board, was also able to establish that jammers were responsible for interference experienced by Ordnance Survey equipment. GPS jammers are widely available online and there’s a growing call for the law around jammers to be tightened.
Many logistics companies install GPS trackers so they can follow the movements of vehicles and researchers believe most GPS jammers are used to stop these devices working.
The main concern with jamming technology is that it can cause problems for other safety-critical systems using GPS. In mobile phone and power networks GPS satellite signals are sometimes used as a source of accurate timing information and GPS navigation devices are used by ships and light aircraft and there are concerns that they could be affected by jammers.