The history of nowcast

Prof. Hans-Dieter Betz, Inventor of LINET

The success story of nowcast began at the end of the 1980s within the framework of a research project led by Prof. Hans-Dieter Betz at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich.

At this point in time, Prof. Betz had gained some initial experience with the few existing lightning-detection systems, and was consternated by the unsatisfactory quality of the measurement data. He was certain that, by optimizing the measurement principle and improving certain components, a considerable enhancement in the quality – in particular in location accuracy and sensitivity – could be achieved. Hence, the development of system components and software concepts for high-precision lightning-data collection became the central research challenge.

After years of intensive research, it was shown that LINET, the lightning-detection network of the research group, actually did demonstrate a number of significant improvements in comparison to the existing lightning-detection systems. Till today, these patented improvements form the basis for the unsurpassed precision of the lightning-detection network.

In the year 2002, the company nowcast GmbH (formerly NowCast mobile GmbH) was founded in order to make the successful research work available to weather services and meteorological-services providers, as well as to customers from the industry.

After a comprehensive evaluation of the advantages offered by LINET, the lightning-detection system by nowcast, the German Meteorological Service (DWD) decided in 2006 to use the data provided by nowcast from then on, following intensive checks and assessments. This decision was confirmed in the year 2009 after a new invitation to tender.

Following the confirmation of quality granted by DWD, Allianz, the world’s largest non-life insurer, also awarded nowcast a contract. As such, the expansion of the measurement network throughout Europe was completed quickly. In the meantime, nowcast is successfully represented in large parts of the world with commercial and research networks.

With LINET, nowcast has been able to establish itself within a short period of time as a premium provider of lightning data.

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