Blitzortung Uses Crowdsourced Data To Map Realtime Lightning Strikes

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs


A German organization in Dusseldorf has taken it upon themselves to create a website,, dedicated to tracking lightning strikes as they happen on an interactive map with the help of volunteers around the world.

While the purpose of Blitzortung isn’t more than just a fun experiment with no commercial intentions, volunteers have payed roughly $275 each to purchase the necessary tracking equipment, consisting of an antenna, amplifier and controller, to contribute to the project.

Each sensor is capable of picking up lightning strikes hundreds of miles away due to the low frequency RF waves produced, making it possible to cover a large geographical area with a minimal set of volunteers.

When a lightning strike is picked up, the data is sent to the Blitzortung servers and immediately plotted onto an online map that shows exactly where the strike occurred.

The largest volunteer base is currently throughout the U.S. and Europe, but new detecting stations are cropping up in other countries.

Blitzortung’s use may be limited at the moment, but there is something mesmerizing about watching the new lightning strikes appear in an old-school video game fashion on their online maps.


Sources: Blitzortung, The Verge, Engadget
Photo: Blitzortung

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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