November 17

Lighting API and Mapping Enhancements

As a part of Vaisala, we’ve been able to accelerate our product roadmap, including improvements to our forecasts as well as the launch of MapsGL. The latest on the list is our ability to deliver lightning data from the world’s premiere detection networks. Earlier this year, AerisWeather integrated Vaisala’s global lightning data into our API and Maps. This integration provided access to Vaisala’s industry-leading detection networks, including the National Lightning Detection Network (NDLN) and the Vaisala Global Detection Network (GLD360). 

We are excited to announce our continued integration with Vaisala’s lightning data with our new Lightning Add-On, providing global lightning mapping and enhanced lightning API access!

The Vaisala Lightning Network

Vaisala has been detecting lightning within the US for over 40 years and globally for over 10 years. Vaisala’s network provides best-in-class lightning data, detecting over 2 billion lightning strikes a year around the world. 

Lightning API Enhancements

Historically, the AerisWeather lightning API has provided access to lightning by querying a specific point to obtain the lightning within a 40km (25 miles) maximum radius over the past 5 minutes. 

With the new Lightning Add-on, there have been several enhancements:

Maximum Radius Increase:

When requesting lightning for a location, data is now available for a maximum radius of 100km (62 miles) versus the previous maximum of 40km (25 miles). While the default radius remains 40km, you can utilize the radius parameter for a higher value. For example:

New Minimum Radius Parameter:

A new minimum radius parameter is available, named . This parameter is used in combination with the parameter. It allows for the fetching of lightning data within a range, such as 50 to 100km from a given point. For example:

Expanded Time Range Per Request:

Lightning data was previously limited to the last 5 minutes only. Now, the time range allows fetching up to 24 hours of lightning data per API request using the and parameters. The API will default to the last 5 minutes if no and parameters are provided. For example:

The following will return lightning within 25 miles of Miami, FL over the past 5 minutes:

The following will provide lightning within 25 miles of Miami, FL over the past two hours:

Need the past 24 hours of lightning within 100km of Miami, FL?

If a parameter is provided, but a parameter is not, then the API will return lightning data within a 5-minute range starting at the requested parameter. 

Expanded Maximum Limit Parameter Value:

The maximum number of lightning strikes/strokes available in a single lightning API request is now 1000, up from 250. This increase is helpful when requesting lightning over a more extended time range.  

Note that if the number of strikes returned matches the passed limit value, you could utilize the skip parameter to paginate through the lightning results.

To fetch up to 1000 lightning strikes within 100km of Miami, FL over the past 24 hours:

New Lightning Archive:

The new Lightning Add-on supports a lightning archive available from 2016 through the current date. Access to the lightning archive is perfect for verifying lightning strikes over time. The archive access allows fetching up to 24 hours of lightning data at a time.

To obtain the lightning strikes within 50km of Miami, FL on May 9, 2021:

Note that lightning archive requests may have a lower per-minute rate limit than lightning requests within the past few days.

Global Lightning Mapping

The Lightning Add-On includes access to our standard lightning strike mapping layers via our AerisWeather Maps raster API and our new MapsGL

Lighting mapping layers include options to display lightning within the last 5 or 15 minutes as circles or icons within the raster API. Within MapsGL, custom shaders are available for truly unique lightning maps:

Get Started with the Lightning Add-On Today!

Try out the new Lighting Add-On’s API and mapping features with our free Developer Trial, which allows querying lightning for up to 20 locations. Need to track lightning for more than 10 locations or looking to integrate lightning into a mobile application? Contact our Accounts Team for assistance.

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