Enhancing Hazard Awareness with a Mobile Application for High Risk, High Consequence Avalanche Terrain Decisions

Jenkins, M., Gale, K., and Young, D.

Presented at the 2016 IEEE International Multi-Disciplinary Conference on Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support (CogSIMA), San Diego, CA (March 2016)


Design of decision-support tools for high risk, high consequence decision making has been an area of focus for many high profile domains (e.g., aviation, military operations, first response, trauma surgery); however, one domain that has seen an increase in individuals undertaking the risks, without proper training or tools to properly assess their situation when making decisions to accept and proceed with those risks is the traversing avalanche terrain. This paper provides a brief overview of the history of avalanche science that has evolved as the number of recreational and professional individuals journeying into avalanche territory, and the number of fatal accidents has increased. It then provides an overview of several analog decision-support tools that exist but have not been widely adopted or effective for a variety of reasons. Finally, it presents an overview of a work in progress smartphone application that is being designed to address this gap, which we hope will provide a more robust and reliable risk assessment and decision-support tool to aid users in making the most appropriate decision when considering entering into avalanche territory.

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