How accurate is my lightning tracker?
Hi! I’ve been using my lightning tracker to track where lightning is going, I tend to start using the app more or less when there’s lightning in my area, more so since I live In Florida. One thing I’ve noticed is that it’ll tell me that there’s a lightning strike 300 ft from my house.. and I won’t hear anything... so more or less is this app as accurate as people say it is or am I overstating it’s value?
I use the weather channel app too to track rain and lightning as well.
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(2020-12-11, 07:55)mikipetri74 Wrote: Hi! I’ve been using my lightning tracker to track where lightning is going, I tend to start using the app more or less when there’s lightning in my area, more so since I live In Florida. One thing I’ve noticed is that it’ll tell me that there’s a lightning strike 300 ft from my house.. and I won’t hear anything... so more or less is this app as accurate as people say it is or am I overstating it’s value?
I use the weather channel app too to track rain and lightning as well.
Actually your questions are very valid, important,.. a lot of folks have had, and will have, the same questions... there is ALWAYs the chance a response will seem patronizing, or 'snarky'... please keep that in mind, but as others will tell you, I have a tendency to be 'blunt'... as well as 'long fingered'... Tongue

What tracker are you talking about? Are you a Blitzortung participant? If you are, we need to upgrade your forum membership, PM us your credentials. If you're talking somebody else's stuff... you're definitely on the wrong website...

"As accurate as people say it is".....   what do you mean? What people? Blitzortung is NOT about 'detecting' lightning.  An AM radio will do that.  Our goal is to LOCATE a Cloud to Earth impulse discharge ground point in a circular area of 'less than' a kilometer... In a bell curve graphic you'd see locations from centimeters to many kilometers of 'deviation'.  We make no other claims, unlike proponents of some 'systems'.

"Value"???  What are you expecting???? Perhaps Blitzortung cannot supply that in a basic, simple package... but, then, it wasn't designed to. It may not fit your usage intent... But, perhaps it could, if we could explain a bit more about the network...

Assuming you're referring to a tracker/app using Blitzortung data:

Something occurred, and was of sufficient strength, that it was received by at least 8 (probably) geographically separated receivers which forwarded an atmospheric discarge event that you didn't experience.. any presence of absence of 'thunder' is irrelevant. The server decided it was a 'sferic event that met the criteria for a lightning impulse'.

Blitzortung Receivers can respond to a SAD, that (isn't "lightning" but) meets enough impulse criteria for such to register, but the likelihood of hearing thunder, or similar sounds, is slim.

The opposite can happen.  You experience a sferic in all it's aural and visual glory... but the network doesn't show it... Yep, obvious in your location, but in fact, if 'cloud to ground' not of sufficent power to be detected by (probably) at least eight BT receivers at distance.  Solution? .. simple... mucho stations each <50 km apart. Dodgy It may have also been an 'inter-or intra-cloud) event, which the system is designed to ignore.  It may have also been a horizontally polarized impulse, which our vertically polarized H field standard configuration won't respond to, unless nearby and quite strong. E field probe may detect some.  System BLUE does have a third H channel which can be specifically configured for Horizontal Pol

ALL sferics LOCATING, and other DETECTION, systems are prone to two irritations, weaknesses, whatever:... false positives, and missed or ignored sferics... at least from a  'local' observer's perspective.  That's it, period.

Those of us that have been around awhile, know very well, (generally without scientific proof...simply from long observations... the real geeks among us can probably show some proof and data)  that Blitzortung can and does indicate, under proper conditions, Elves, Sprites, Jellyfish, Meteor Tracks, Aircraft triggered SADS...rocket launches, anything that can ionize and discharge within the bandwidth, and if sampled at a high enough resolution... etc etc... if an operator has learned and has the tools to interperet both visually and electronically, the information contained in a receivers analog chain, prior to ADC.

It also receives electric fences, HVAC equipment, Light Dimmers, Car Chargers, engine ignition... etc.. etc... etc. If it occurs in the bandwidth, the receiver will see it. Fortunately, the network server basically knows the difference, will usually ignore such, and very rarely attempt locate the junk as a 'stroke'.  -- If optimized properly, the local receiver will not send a large portion of such junk, or least make it  'irrelevant' to actual valid impulse data.

Blitzortung data begins its LOCATING journey like everybody else's systems... within a receiver configuration.  The Blitzortung controllers  are Wide Band, and ANY energy hitting the antenna or probe elements in that 0-330KHz  design band will pass through the 'analog' processing. This, however,  is light years away from accurate identification and LOCATION of any lightning impulse that may exist at that moment. IF you're a participant, you need to study more about what this system is, does, and why it does it. And we certainly cannot, and will not, analyze any app developer's intent, paradigms, and algorithms.  (Incidentally, because of budget restrictions (there is actually a zero budget), sampling and data frequencies are basically lower resolution, and the receiving bandwith on Systems Blue is server command restricted, currently, to 220KHZ to minimize digital aliasing of the converted analog signal).

If the tracker is using pure, raw, direct Blitzortung data, the following will apply.  If your app is something else...  you're definitely in the wrong place.

Detection systems, which do not LOCATE ( some may attempt and claim' distance and direction'),  are perhaps more vulnerable to false positives.  LOCATORs are perhaps more likely to "miss" or "ignore" actual valid strokes (from a local perspective)... and the "Normal" mode for Blitzortung display is ONLY 'located' impulses... ALL such systems are subject to variable paradigms, and environmental, design and processing situations. If a system functions with a VERY VERY sophisticated, extremely fast, super-computer driven, with mega-mega-mega memory, using extremely sophisticated and rigidly standardized network receivers, those 'weaknesses' are minimized. Sleepy Blitzortung is not funded for that incredibly expensive technology.  Heh.

(Incidentally, FYI, many of the so-called local warning detectors use the very same low cost module which we incorporated as an 'add-on' capability option, or experimental 'hobby' adjunct to the BT System RED, for local operator usage only.. not incorporated with BT data.  It proved virtually worthless, and unpredictable overall, as currently many 'owners' of such gadgets are discovering... ...most operators who deployed it, have long since removed it, and we quickly stopped supporting it. Bottom line, you get what pay for... if it's gadget priced, it probably is a gadget.)

Any app that restricts public display to 'generic' raw data, or 'early stage processed data', including the Blitzortung associated apps and webpages, does NOT show the full picture, and thus the various discalimers associated with such. And we certainly DO NOT have influence or knowledge concerning any third party sites, apps or trackers, ...those discussions DO NOT belong here.

Blitzortung is NOT a 'warning' system... it is a hobby and research tool... It may be that some expect a 'plug and play' layman's system.. and the project is NOT that! If you're not a participant in the network, at best you should consider your app's presentation as a potential Proactive information resource and NEVER use it for life or property determinations.  Your app won't supply all the goodies necessary for that.  More data and info IS available to participants. A low percentage who possess knowledge, tools, and experience to drive deeper, especially into their local systems RAW Analog chain... can pull and process a BUNCH of sferic data from an impulse, that Blitzortung does not currently 'seek' or 'compute' from the same signal image... given consistent best data, and depending of circumstances, it's possible in best caes to derive things like estimated power, estimated altitude at orignal feeler start, polarity, Group or Type family, distance travelled before termination.. e.g.

It's up to the receiver Digital Chain (ADC, microprocessors --influenced by any filters, modifications etc in the Analog section) whether to send a signal or not, but the heavy-lifting is done on the server to see if what is sent matches the stored 'DNA' pattern of that receiver. (Yes, it monitors and constantly updates a receiver's "DNA".  On occasion, server may send command to MODIFY a receiver / controller's current configuration! ..or which server(servers) that controller is talking to!). It 'normalizes' that receiver's data relative to everybody else's data, and if it corresponds with several other network receivers,  it assumes a 'stroke',  performs further analysis to confirm, and then will compute a location for a presumed gound point. 

While the network can locate a strike typically within a kilometer of the ground point, the deviations can be dramatic.  I've seen several strikes over the years where the network location was within meters of actual ground point.

Blitzortung should NEVER be used as a primary tool for protection of life or property.  It is NOT designed nor certified for that purpose!
 It can serve as a proactive resource for decision making, if utilized and considered with other VALID, accurate weather information sources and tools!
woahh !!! This is a response that has the merit of being precise and unambiguous. If there was a "LIKE" icon I would have validated this answer ...

S2401 Red - S2783 Blue  France (Cognac)

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