I love weather. In an alternate life I would have been a meteorologist, not a TV weather man, but the hard-core, number crunching science geek of atmospheric data. When you look at a thunderstorm and can comprehend how much raw energy is in a supercell storm, it puts things into perspective that us humans are nothing to the planet. One shake and the Earth can get rid of us.
With that a new site has crossed my feeds that is right up this weather nerd’s alley. A collection of other weather freaks have put together a worldwide lightning monitoring system where you can see where lighting is striking in the world, real-time. The site is called Blitzortung.org and it allows you to watch live lightning anywhere in the world, here’s how they describe themselves –“Blitzortung.org” is a lightning detection network for the location of electromagnetic discharges in the atmosphere (lightning discharges) based on the time of arrival (TOA) and time of group arrival (TOGA) method. It consists of several lightning receivers and one central processing server. The stations transmit their data in short time intervals over the Internet to our server. Every data sentence contains the precise time of arrival of the received lightning discharge impulse (“sferic”) and the exact geographic position of the receiver. With this information from all stations the exact positions of the discharges are computed. The aim of the project is to establish a low budget lightning location network with a high number of stations. The price for the hardware used is less than 200 Euro. The sferic positions are free accessible in raw format to all stations that transmit their data to our server. The station owner can use the raw data for all non-commercial purposes. The lightning activity of the last two hours is additionally displayed on several public maps recomputed every minute. “Blitzortung.org” is a community of station operators who transmit their data to the central server, programmers who develop and/or implement algorithms for the location or visualization of sferic positions, and people who assist anyway to keep the system running. There is no restriction on membership. All people who keep the network in operation are volunteers. There is no fee and no contract. If a station stops pooling its data, the server stops providing the access to the archive of sferics positions for the user of that station. A detailed description about how to participate to the network and how to setup an own receiver can be found in the following document.
The best part about this site is that anyone can participate and contribute to the worldwide data. For about $200 you can purchase and build your own lighting detection station and send the data to Blitzortung.org servers. There are also options to use their PHP scripts to use the data on your own sites and laid over your own maps. Either way this is an impressive site and even more impressive of how much lighting is happening in the world at any given time. Nature is an awesome force.
End of Line.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.