GPATS has recently invested in significant upgrades to its network with the addition of large numbers new sensor sites which will lead to an eventual network footprint of over 150 sensors using our latest LPS-200 and VHF technologies. We now boast the largest precision lightning detection network in Australia. Our high density of sensors allows us to detect even the weakest lightning events. Our broadband detection technology operates from very low frequencies (VLF) through to very high frequencies (VHF) to ensure we can detect lightning at very long ranges, up to thousands of kilometres and very short ranges down to 10's of kilometres.
The GPATS network has been designed to provide the greatest levels of detection efficiency for both intra-cloud and cloud-to-ground events. With super high-resolution capabilities around capital cities which enable us to produce our latest data advancements of altitude discrimination of cloud events. This allows us to show thunderstorms in a real-time 3D environment to highlight storm structure and evolution.
Sensors Provide Reliable Lightning Detection & Discrimination
The advanced lightning sensors automatically detect and analyse the radio wave produced by each lightning stroke (cloud-to-ground and intra-cloud). The sensors record the precise time of the detection, as well as important characteristics such as rise time, fall time, amplitude, and a digitised output of the lightning waveform.
GPATS’s sensor management programs are very valuable sensor performance analysis tools that should be used by factory-trained technicians, under management supervision. An authorised user can access and communicate directly with any of the active sensors. The programs are equipped to download new software and firmware, monitor oscillator frequency, power supply levels, read the temperature in the sensor unit, as well as scores of sensitive receiver parameters.
CAP™ Provides Lightning Analysis & Location Processing
The raw lightning data from the sensors is passed over communication lines to the Central Analyser Processor (CAP™). The CAP™ is preprogrammed to contain information related to the particular sensor sites and many other mathematical and physical coefficients. With this information, the CAP™ performs many functions but ultimately computes a position for that lightning strike or reject the information as noise. The solution information can be accessed from CAP™ in binary or ASCII text format.
Lightning Database Functions
After the CAP™ calculates the location of the stroke; it then transfers the solution data to the database subsystem known as the lightning archive. This database will archive the detection network data, with online storage for over one year of storms, plus allow automatic offline archiving to CDROM, or other storage media. The sub-system also provides system-manager access for monitoring the lightning system using a network-monitoring tool.
Lightning Real-Time Display System
The display system software is very user friendly. The different programs provide real-time plotting of cloud-to-ground and cloud lightning on selectable map bases, with flexible zooming capability. Besides the graphical presentation, text format messages are also available for display or printing.
Performance Monitoring and Maintenance
The lightning network central data processing and management system is delivered with a comprehensive set of system performance monitoring and maintenance tools. This system collects and displays real-time performance and status information on the all the network’s lightning sensors. The information provided includes such important data as the number of times each sensor reports activity, the number of times the sensor takes part in the solution, and a broad range of other network performance data. The software included can also access the database server to support historical performance analysis.