Item: Storage and visualisation of relevant avalanche information at different scales
Title: Storage and visualisation of relevant avalanche information at different scales
Proceedings: 2002 International Snow Science Workshop, Penticton, British Columbia
Authors: Pascal Hageli and Roger Atkins, Atmospheric Science Program, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver B.C., Canada, Canadian Mountain Holidays, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Abstract: It is the decision-makers' perception of snow stability and how it applies to terrain that determines their decisions about closing a highway, opening additional ski runs, or choosing a descent route. Targeted education and experience have positive effects on human perception, while human biases interfere with objective reasoning. 'Good' decision-makers have developed the ability to use the available information effectively and in an unbiased way to form their perception of the current snow conditions. It is our belief that there are three crucial measures to aid in the unbiased use of information: 1) observation standards; 2) efficient data storage; and 3) meaningful information visualization. This paper presents a number of tools, which can enhance the effective use of data available to avalanche forecasters. SNOWBASE is presented as an efficient database tool to record and access information pertinent to avalanche forecasting in helicopter skiing. SNOWBASE includes tools that allow the visualization of observations of avalanches or usage of explosives on top of images of individual runs~ This tool has proven to be of value for the guides' perception of snow conditions and its relation to specific terrain features. Since avalanches are relatively infrequent events, data exchange between operations is very important for avalanche forecasting. A second visualization tool is presented that creates overview maps of information relevant to avalanche forecasters over large areas. Such a tool might be very useful for large operators with numerous individual areas or even national forecasting centers.
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Keywords: avalanche forecasting, perception, database system, data visualization, software
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