Database Driven Online Mapping at the "LWD-Tirol" Avalanche Warning Centre Tyrol – Austria

Karel Kriz
Department of Geography and Regional Research
University of Vienna, Austria

Patrick Nairz
Lawinenwarndienst Tirol
Bozner Platz 6/Stöcklgebäude
Avalanche Warning Centre Tyrol, Austria


Keywords: Online Mapping, Internet, GIS, Hazard Mapping

The Avalanche Warning Centre Tyrol (Innsbruck, Austria) together with the Department of Geography and Regional Research at the University of Vienna are developing a database driven online mapping system for the visualization and analysis of current avalanche relevant meteorological factors. This spatially depicted information will become part of a complex decision support system for the evaluation and prediction of the current avalanche situation in the Tyrolean Alps.

Avalanches represent a very short, local, dynamic event in snow covered mountainous regions. They are not easily predictable and often enough can produce devastating results. However, in order to understand these complex events it is important to have spatial coverage of current meteorological and topographic information. Spatial depiction of this information such as current snow depth, amount of snow accumulation within the last 24 hours, wind direction, wind speed, temperature etc. can help comprehend the situation. The faster this information is made accessible the more useful it can be. Using online high mountain weather stations for permanent data collection, GIS database connectivity and Internet access combined with cartographic expertise is one way of making use of this information.

This contribution will give a brief overview of the project and focus in the following areas:

--Avalanche Warning Centre Tyrol – general overview, avalanche commissions, daily tasks, expectations and problems

--Meteorological database decision support system – technical specifications, database design, online Internet access

--Cartographic expertise – conceptual structure, design aspects, restrictions, spatial depiction