I wish this mobile iPhone application was Android compatible (word is Android version could be ready by mid-February) since it would be fun to play around with this newly released Ullr Mobile Avalanche Safety Tool that uses avalanche science principles, along with all the technology built into an iPhone (camera, GPS, compass, gyroscope, comms) to help create your own field study notebook and forecasting aid.Â Â Not that I’m a big snow-pit or avy forecasting kinda guy, but this Ullr Mobile Avalanche Safety Tool seems like a pretty cool application that can help you in determining the current avalanche hazard, even if you don’t have a forecasting center in your area.
I’m sure the avy pros (would love to hear your thoughts on this) will have a field day with this computer based program telling us when it’s safe to shred or not, but IMO, no avalanche forecasting device/tool/test is 100% spot-on for all potential ski terrain anyway, so convenience and technology are a welcome advancement in avy forecasting for a person like me.Â However, the creators of the Ullr Mobile Avalanche Safety iPhone App had the help of renowned avalanche science gurus, Bruce Tremper, Karl Birkland and many others when building it, so hopefully it works as planned.
Ullrâ€™s Mobile Avalanche Safety Toolsâ„¢ (MAST) combines established snow science principles with the iPhoneâ€™s built in camera, GPS, compass, gyroscope and data communications. This results in the only mobile electronic snow and avalanche field notebook, that lets users:
-Download the current snow and avalanche forecast for their region;
-Record weather, terrain, snowpack and stability conditions while touring the backcountry – no cell or wifi signal necessary;
-Receive warnings when observations deserve â€œextra considerationâ€ under established snow science guidelines;
-Transmit their observations to the closest regional avalanche forecast center for review and posting on their websites; and
-Obtain educational resources that increase knowledge and sharpen skills.
And if you think this avalanche hazard application is just a way to make money for it’s creators, you will be glad to know that 10% of the proceeds from purchasing it goes to participation regional avalanche centers and education groups. In addition, all certified AIARE and American Avalanche Association instructors will have the opportunity to obtain the app free of charge. This tells me that those in charge really want feedback and to make it better in the long run…which will be good for everyone.