The Birth of Lightning


The main idea is to locate the reader and show the lightning strikes in the area from 2003-2015. The story also tells about the birth of lighting and answers to frequently asked questions.

The data was reduced to lightnings that have struck to land-area. Data was analysed so that it was investigated on which areas there has been an exceptional amount of lightnings.


Coder / Datajournalist Ville Juutilainen offered the idea to Yle’s weather team. The common idea was to make imposing and visually deviant story about thunder as phenomenon. When the weather team joined to project, came in ideas about things that would be good to tell readers.


The main source was database of Finnish Meteorological Institute which is open data. Still Juutilainen had to write a program so that the use of interface would be efficient.

As result the final data material was from 2003 to 2015 which was in total about one million lightnings. The original data with all lightnings was totally millions of lightnings.

The final story also used satellite maps from Mapbox.


The team consisted of one graphic artist, one coder, one meteorologist, one producer and a reporter.
The story was published in August and was started in June. In total the making took one month from which three weeks were the time when the team work intensively with it.


The story opened data, that has not been showed as a part of journalistic product in media before. The story is really a hyperlocal as the user gets the local data precisely about his current location. The end result is different depending on the place where the user is.

For Yle News data and online feature team using localization was a new conquest and ended up in making of new development environment where can be published new more technically demanding stories, for example stories that utilize geolocating.


The main obstacles were initialization of the API and that before the project there was no environment for projects that use geolocating and thus need https-connection.

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