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Watch lightning strikes mapped like a real-time Missile Command

Watch lightning strikes mapped like a real-time Missile Command


Blitzortung uses crowdsourced data from volunteers across the globe

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A website called (German for "lightning radiolocation") is charting lightning strikes in real time as they happen across the world. The network uses data from volunteer-operated stations, which track the time and location of any electromagnetic discharge within their range. The results are then collated and processed to triangulate the geographical positions of these meteorological phenomena.

Blitzortung's maps look strangely reminiscent of old-school wargames, with flame-colored dots symbolizing each lightning strike and flashing lines indicating the location of the station that identified it. Anyone can contribute to the project so long as they're willing to purchase and assemble one of the lightning detection kits, which cost less than €200 (about $272). Volunteers can also make use of the raw data for non-commercial reasons, and are not contractually obligated to maintain their systems. As of this moment, Blitzortung has yet to gain any real traction outside of America and Europe. It currently only has one station in the Oceanic region, and still lacks coverage in Asia and Africa.