About

This Wiki will continually change due to further developments and improvements. Please edit it yourself.

Blitzortung.org is a world-wide non-commercial low-cost community-based Time-of-Arrival lightning detection and lightning location network.

The system is made for private and entertainment purposes. The domain Blitzortung.org is not an official information service for lightning data. A commercial use of data from Blitzortung.org is strongly prohibited, even by the users that send data to our servers.

This Wiki can change without further notice. Publishing this Wiki or excerpts of it on websites not under our control is unwanted.

original source1) 2)

The aim of this project is to accomplish a low budget high accurate world-wide lightning location network based on a high number of receiver sites spaced close to each other, typically separated by 50 km - 250 km. The stations transmit their data to a central computing server, where the strike locations are computed by the arrival times of the signals.

The station operators are volunteers who bought and assembled the hardware by themselves. There are also volunteer 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. There is no fee and no contract. If a receiver site stops pooling its data for a longer time period, the server stops providing the access to the archive of sferic positions for the corresponding user.

Blitzortung.org is completely different to other data collection platforms as for example marinetraffic.com or flightradar24.com. Ships and airplanes already know their exact position. They send their positions by radio. The information can be received with simple receivers and transferred over the Internet to a data server. Receiving and sending the received position is not time-critical. On the data server nothing needs to be calculated. The data is only collected and visualized. To receive the position of a ship or aircraft, one receiving station is sufficient.

Lightning location, on the other hand, is much more complicated. The waveforms of the signals must be sampled with high frequency (512 values with at least 500 KHz) and assigned with an accurate absolute time stamp (+/- 1 usec). The exact location of the detector is extremely important. An absolute microsecond accurate time stamp and an accurate position of the receiving detector can only be obtained by a GPS module. On the computing server the signals from different detectors are adjusted and compared each other. Each pair of signals from different detectors defines a hyperbolic curve. The intersection point of several hyperbolic curves determines the location. This is calculated on our server in a few seconds, what even professional systems do not always achieve.

The sferic positions are free accessible in raw format to those participants whose stations transmit their data to our server. The station owner can use the raw data for all non-commercial purposes. The lightning activity is additionally displayed on several public maps like Blitzortung.org or LightningMaps.org. Most of the maps can be used for non-commercial purposes.

This wiki gives an overview about the physical and technical background of our lightning detection and locating technology. It is also an assembling and operation manual for participants.