Andhra Pradesh is coming up with a lightning tracker – the first of its kind in India. A team of five girl students from Kuppam Engineering College are working on an app that will alert people of impending lightning strikes. The project has been taken up by the AP State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) in collaboration with ISRO.
The lightning tracker app is expected to be launched in the next few days, christened as Vajrapath. The APSCHE has tied up with ISRO for sharing satellite services for the weather forecasts that will be used to monitor and alert people against lightning strikes. So far, three sensors have been set up in Anantapur, Kuppam and Visakhapatnam for testing the same. Eight more sensors will be shipped and set up in the next 10 days. Each sensor comes with a range of 200 KM and has been installed in a zigzag pattern. ISRO has roped in US based Earth Networks to analyse the electromagnetic waves and spot the exact location the lightning will hit.
“The system helps us predict lightning, wind speed, rainfall and temperature, but mainly focuses on the detection of lightning. As according to NCRB data, a majority of the people dying in natural calamities die due to lightning. In order to save the lives of the people, livestock and monuments, we have come up with the app which will save many lives. The project is the first in the country and is being developed at a low cost to train students,” APSCHE Secretary S Varadarajan told DC.
The way the app works is – proximity sensors will assess electromagnetic waves and send data to the cloud of Earth Network. The company will then analyse and zero in on the details of the lightning’s latitude, longitude, directions of travel and the time of strike. The processed data will be sent to the Application Programme Interface and then be sent to users through the application in their regional languages and trough voice messages.
“We are working for more than one and half years on his project. We feel really great to have come up with such an idea, which will help in saving lives and also protecting monuments and heritage structures in the State. We are engaging students in the development of the app and also for surveying works of lightning.” said Prof Kodandaramaiah, HOD ECE Kuppam Engineering College.
M Bindhu Madhuri, one of the five to work on the project said, “It’s really a proud feeling to take part in such a great project and I feel it’s a stepping stone to my dream future. We have been working since last four months and soon it would be launched. We have been working since last four months and soon it would be launched.” Her dream is to end up working at SHAR and take up research work.
The lightning tracker app will alert users in the particular region where it is to strike 30 minutes before it does. The app will send text and voice messages, and alerts will be sent to feature phones through voice messages and Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Sources at ISRO told DC that the project will also be used to alert flights and ships and once the project reaches completion, airlines and ship companies could seek alerts. This way, an income will also be generated for the state government.