NASA Lightning Map in Google Earth

Lightning Map in Google EarthA few months ago, NASA released a high resolution map showing the annual flash rate of lightning colorized by frequency for the entire Earth. NASA has several satellites for studying lightning, some of which provide real-time data and images for researchers and for practical use. I know that pilots especially find lightning data useful for spotting areas of developing storm activity where we don’t want to fly.
Naturally, as soon as I saw the map, it occurred to me this would look better overlayed onto Google Earth. So, with a little bit of image cropping and overlay tweaking, I produced this annual lighning flash map overlay . Note, most intense levels are black or red. You can see a legend by clicking on the placemark “Annual Lightning Flash Map”. You can also read NASA’s scientific description of the annual flash rate map here with lots of interesting units of measurement.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. How did you create your Legend?

  2. Adam Fehnel says:

    Very nicely done. 😀

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