The lightning detection system is capable of computing and displaying real-time lightning location information, archiving this data for historical analysis, allowing remote reconfiguration of the sensors, and resuming operations automatically after a power outage. The system also provides solution data in a format that allows the client to add the data to its master meteorological archive system and further distribute the data to its clients for further exploitation. The lightning data analysis and processing system which handles these tasks is called the Central Analyzer Processor (CAP™). The CAP™ includes all the required location software as well as archive, maintenance and network monitoring applications. The software can be installed on a network at the client’s operational centers along with PC-based lightning displays at each site. The main CAP™ software is compiled to run on a Windows Server operating system (Please contact TOA Systems Inc. for information on Unix based CAP).
The CAP™ is the heart and brain of the lightning location system. The system processes sensor data to calculate where lightning has occurred. After the data is processed, the results are sent to various communication ports which users can connect to in order to retrieve and display solution and housekeeping data. The CAP™ allows a user to modify or add additional sensors. The primary function of the network’s central processing system is to calculate the location of lightning in latitude and longitude coordinates to an accuracy of 0.0001 degrees. The data is then distributed to users for display purposes and then delivered to an archive system. The CAP™ is programmed to process the location and distribute the data in less than 10 seconds. This number can be reduced if required by changing the configuration file entry.
The central processor connects to the external lightning sensor via direct connect, serial or TCP/IP communication lines. When three or more sensors notify the CAP™ that a transmission has occurred, the CAP™ attempts to mathematically determine the transmission origin using a Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) algorithm. If the TDOA algorithm produces a solution, the solution and other pertinent stroke information is transmitted to the SQL Data Server Windows.