I have worked a few times in "gammas" and "teslas" (milligauss, mG and nanoteslas, nT) that is the units used to measure the Earth's magnetic field, which is affected by the solar storms.
Over fifteen years ago, as a field archaeologist in the former West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, NY on the east bank of the Hudson River a name shared with the military academy and perhaps also shared Constitution Island, an island fortified by Dutch patriot and cartographer Bernard Romans for General Washington, we conducted a magnetometer survey with two magnetometers, leaving one nearby as a steady position chronicler of flux while we walked from one wooden staked layout survey grid intersection to the next. Today computers and GPS will make that task even easier as I found on another survey in Saratoga Springs, NY easier than walking a dog.
The magnetometer left on nearby recorded any of the shifts in the Earth's magnetosphere as the day goes, a "geo-chronograph" so to speak, time mark recorded intervals and then used to adjust the grid placed magnetometer records. Subtracting from the readings of the equidistant survey across the ground with the other magnetometer we arrived at an "uninfluenced" reading for the magnetic reading in nT or milligauss. We were locating magnetic "anomalies" without the influence of a "storm" which could skew a reading, i.e., variation from a solar flare, solar wind changes, passing trains, power surges in power lines, etc. (Bruce Bevan, pers. comm., Bowdoin Park, NY).
We used a Psion hand-held computer to keep the record from the magnetometer, since it had no storage, but printed a record using a built-in printer, used with special paper, printing using a small spark gap. I'm guessing in some cases, it has to be legally defensible, like surveyors were not to erase anything historically, cross out errors so that there is a surviving trail if found in error in the calculations and notes taken. Maybe just a "rugged" tech solution. The magnetometer also had an RS-232 serial output that the Psion would read, a "standard" (nightmare) before USB (universal) connections.
In the ground, in the nationally and historically significant foundry, its periphery and Foundry Cove marsh about to be earthen dammed, then dug out, processed with concrete and then shipped by rail elsewhere, because of NiCad contamination from the NIKE ABM production nearby, that factory also later removed, we were looking for the R.P. Parrott "gun platform" used to fire incendiary shells from the swamp miles outside Charleston, South Carolina in the American Civil War in 1863 that was then nick-named "Swamp Angel". After constructing a grillage platform in the swamp in South Carolina, timber and sandbags, it was fired a number of times and then burst in part, yet was still loaded and fired. The citizens of Trenton, NJ, after the Franklin Institute investigations, obtained the broken gun which was put on display there. The grillage and site in South Carolina has yet to be definitively found. The gun platform we found appeared also on grillage and I would like to know if it was a prototype, and/or the platform was brought back and/or partly reconstructed for further testing.
Unfortunately, it seemed at the time, in the swamp, there was no time or funds perhaps to investigate it fully. If any here knows more about it please leave me a note. The pintle structure which attached the gun to the platform is in the Village of Cold Spring Highway Dept. storage facility, with the controlled storage for artifacts recovered during and after the fieldwork efforts in both the shore and the "Workers Houses" which were in the path of the vehicles used to bring the material for the earthen dam down to the Foundry Cove. Perhaps the gun should come back to Cold Spring, NY or to West Point.
Testing was conducted from and because the photographic evidence depicted in old stereo-pairs produced after the Civil War, the foundry shut by "steel" production by 1879 and the EPA National Priority cleanup required us to, working on the edge of the National Register Historic District.
It's cited from solar records that 1859 was a Category 4 Solar Storm year. We know also that 200-300 lb. shells from the patented R.P. Parrott "rifled cannon" were test fired for then President Lincoln and many other sizes were made the larger ones only about 1/2 (17 tons ?) what similar guns would have required in iron tonnage to achieve the range and weight of these projectiles, two large empties recovered on-site. These rifled cannons were used effectively as small and medium long-range weapons, though still muzzle loaded, presenting unique problems, yet were effective on the land and the sea, and after deployed, imitated.
In the late 19th and early 20th century "steel" came to the former and abandoned West Point "iron" foundry, to be assembled into large massive bridges and architectural elements by the Chicago Steel and Bridge Co., which lasted until 1912, and its large Bridge Shop burned in 1913. Under the concrete stanchion footings for the Bridge Shop, basically an assembly line for bridge sections, riveted and painted, and then sent out on rail to be assembled elsewhere, next to its former railyard and steel-yard gantry rail-crane and stagings assembly areas, we found the "gun platform" under one of the concrete stanchions.
We had deduced after testing marginally on land, in the marsh and over water, excavating various magnetic anomalies that there was not a buried mass of shells left from the Civil War so we would use another approach. Using a digitized photo of a hand painted color map behind glass in the Foundry School Museum, which had a rail-line to nowhere off the map into the marsh, coupled with base map in AutoCad and with the Sokkisha "total station" (now Sokkia) transit, we could deduce where the rail on the Foundry School Museum map (immobile) had gone. Combining the two sets of data, we recovered the remains of the end of that rail and the dismantled "range structure" used to observe and flag the target operations across the Hudson River where various shells landed at targets. It was in the fill for the former rail stagings area and Bridge Shop. One such cannon "misfire" ruined parts of the local Catholic Church, the first in the Hudson Valley of that faith, and it was the first time the Federal government it's said had to pay for damages to a religious structure it had inadvertently damaged. However, though the first "federal" labor action occurred also in the West Point Foundry during the Civil War, it was run as a private enterprise for many years by Robert P. Parrott then, and perhaps the "declaration of war" had caused it to come under different rules. One such "rule" was the smuggling of high tech foundry workers from overseas, given fake id's and put up in the Village of Cold Spring, NY under aliases.
I read the Chicago Bridge and Steel Co., is still in business, looking for "gravity waves" with an "instrument" in principle, like the one used by Michelson-Morley to test for "ether" though with lasers in a vacuum at right angles bouncing off mirrors at long distances through vacuum in long pipes and comparing the timings. The challenge in the Foundry Cove both on fast-land, marsh and over water, was enough, a "magnetic hell" stripped for scrap though, without an unknown geomagnetic storm "skewing" the results, back in 1989-1992. Today one can get the data easily for the overall larger global events. The diurnal variation is not that much right now but they're saying 2012 might be a "doozy". It could knock out communications for months it's being reported, and might lead to a period of worldwide unrest?
Over 1 million artillery shells, and some of the first incendiary long-range shells fired on civilians, were made there and went where? Into the civil war. In part, brought on by a Category 4 Solar Storm?!
Another source said that 30,000 wooden gun carriages and caissons were made there which gives an idea of the number of weapons. By the way, "brain storming" was invented in Buffalo, NY by the psychologist Carl Rogers.