Yesterday I had an interesting morning with Thomas Laakso, Brand President at AvaTech Inc, introducing the new SP1 avalanche probe to a group of British and US Mountain Guides. The AvaTech philosophy, as stated on their website, is:
We believe saving lives in our mountain community starts with understanding the snow under our feet and avoiding avalanches before they happen.
The marketing info for the SP1 says:
- Measure snowpack structure and slope angle, and geo-tag it all within seconds
- Make better decisions with consistent objective data powered by proprietary technology developed at MIT
- Rugged construction with a collapsible 150cm probe that folds easily in your backpack and weighs about one pound
- Wirelessly send snowpack data to your smartphone and the cloud – share with colleagues and the community
To test the probe's performance, we dug a snow pit and looked at the layers in the traditional way, and compared it with the data from the probe. The information about the snow density and temperature from the probe was very accurate, so using the probe you can get in seconds what would take hours of digging pits to find. The information from the probe along with the GPS fix and slope angle can be shared in minutes with whoever you choose. It will be good to see what can be done with the huge amount of data gained - it should make avalanche predictions much more accurate in the future.
Thanks to Craig from Concept Pro in Chamonix and Thomas from AvaTech for organising the event. Check out www.avatech.com for more information.