Global Lightning Network

Global Lightning Network (GLN)
Data Available via the Unidata LDM

WSI Corporation


WSI Corporation is pleased to offer real-time lightning stroke data from the Global Lightning Network and the North American Precision Lightning Network (NAPLN) through the Unidata program. GLN and NAPLN data are made available to universities at no cost over the Internet for educational and research purposes.

Registration is required to request this data, and the free feed is available on an annually renewed basis. Registered users will receive GLN data from the primary and backup servers using the Unidata Local Data Manager (LDM) software. The decoders provided by Unidata for GEMPAK and McIDAS software packages support this data format. Details for configuring your LDM configuration will be sent after registration is complete and the distribution LDM servers have been configured to allow your system.


To register, all users must read and agree to the Conditions of Use of WSI Lightning Data by Unidata Participants associated with this proprietary data set. There are a number of restrictions, including the requirement that all users must be either full-time faculty or staff at the institution, and prohibition of any data redistribution or commercial use or gain from the data.

Please visit:
WSI Lightning Data via Unidata
to register for the GLN data and to review the complete description of the restrictions on GLN data use. Please provide a brief description of your research to ensure applicability of the GLN data to the effort.

Responses and access to data are generally granted in less than 1 week.

Please send technical/product questions about the lightning data to:

Data Details

The GLN is comprised of advanced lightning stroke detection sensors strategically located at more than 150 international hosting partner sites, in addition to the detectors that make up the North American Precision Lightning Network (all NAPLN data is included in the GLN data feed). In the key deployment areas, including North and South America, Europe, and Asia/Australia, GLN detection efficiency values are as high as 90-95% with corresponding location accuracies less than 1 km. Real-time data are collected in a 1-minute bin, and contain cloud-to-ground lightning stroke data and some cloud flash discharges. Because GLN detection efficiency and location accuracy can vary geographically, please provide a brief description of your research to ensure applicability of the data to your research effort.

For additional technical details, see WSI Corporation's Lightning Data and GLN pages.

The WSI LDM server will be the primary distribution point for GLN data, failover feed support will be provided by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach). Data are provided in the following format:

GLN extended format data record contents (ASCII)
Data record containing comma-separated:
  1. Date/Time[CCYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS.msec]
  2. Latitude[+-DD.fffffff]
  3. Longitude[+-DDD.fffffff] (west negative convention)
  4. Signed peak amplitude (with sign indicating polarity, zero -> cloud-to-cloud,intracloud, cloud-to-air)
  5. Error ellipse semi-major and semi-minor axes [km] and orientation of semi-major axis
Example: GLN extended data format

Frequently Asked Questions


The animated image below is provided by WSI as an example display of Global Lightning Network data.

Global Lightning Network