Avalanche Forecasts Using GIS

SoCal does not experience avalanches very often.  Since 1950, at least 64 people have died in avalanches in California with 9 of those in SoCal, according to this article.

Snow avalanches can cause a significant loss of life. As a naturally occurring disaster they are unique in nature, usually being highly localized events, and often in remote areas. Their victims are often voluntarily at risk for recreation purposes and become the trigger of their own avalanche.

Avalanche forecasting seeks to safeguard recreationists in winter mountain environments using risk based decision making.  Avalanche experts interpret the spatial and temporal distribution of hazards and abstractly present these in the form of a forecast.  Recreationists can then use them for planning excursions into avalanche prone terrain and avoid high risk slopes that pose a hazard.

Check out this article on how Scotland looked at using GIS to make cartographic visualizations of predicted avalanche danger areas.


The First Weather Map

Sir Francis Galton was the first to identify the anticyclone (as opposed to the cyclone), and introduced the use of charts showing areas of similar air pressure – the modern weather map.  His book Meteorographica was the first systematic attempt to gather, chart and interpret weather data on a continental scale, a fundamental work of modern scientific meteorology.

Galton prepared the first weather map published in the British newspaper The Times (April 1 1875, showing the weather from the previous day, March 31), now a standard feature in newspapers worldwide.  Click below to read more about Sir Francis Galton.


Beyond The Sea Interactive Map

Standing out on the shoreline, have you ever wondered if you set sail straight ahead across the sea what other beach would you run into?  Check out the Beyond The Sea interactive map.  You can move your mouse along a shoreline or click on a country to visualize all the locations which lie directly across the sea.  Location names will be displayed once the track hits land.  Colors of the lines represent the different destination continents.  Try the Start Fireworks button too for an impressive display!