LEADVILLE, Colo. — Colorado has launched a new interactive map that pinpoints where fatal avalanches have happened across the state.
The program, called the Avalanche Accident Explorer, was launched on Thursday as a collaboration between the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) and Colorado Mountain College (CMC). It details the locations of fatal avalanches in Colorado since December 2009.
The map, which is accessible on CAIC's website under the Accidents tab, breaks down each case by the travel mode of the person involved — like ski, on foot, snowmobile, snowboard, or snowshoe — and the avalanche type.
Ethan Greene, director of CAIC, said this tool allows the center to share information about avalanches in an intuitive platform.
"We know that people learn better when they can explore information," he said. "Together, we have created a public safety tool that allows people to see avalanche accident data on a map so that they can learn how to avoid this natural hazard.”
CMC students Lucy Kepner and Joe Tayabji, along with professor Dara Seidl, created the data visualization tool. Seidl is an associate professor of geographic information systems.
“Partnering with CAIC on the Avalanche Accident Explorer has been a tremendous opportunity for CMC GIS students to engage in meaningful spatial visualization work for the benefit of our Colorado community,” she said. “Our collaboration enabled our GIS students to further hone programming skills and build a custom web map application from the ground up.”
CAIC has a live avalanche forecast on its homepage. It urges all backcountry adventurers to check the forecast, complete avalanche training and be prepared before heading out the door in the winter and swing seasons.
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