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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Avalanche App Interest ???

    So I have an Avalanche Safety App 90% finished for iphones. The app is designed to be a review of all the important avalanche safety information to review prior to venturing into the backcountry along with links to Avalanche Centers worldwide, accident statistics and regional training facilities. I assure you the content is first rate and the interface will be user friendly.

    I know that many of you know this information inside out and even teach avalanche courses but there are many that do not as well and it never hurts to review and practice. My goal was to build this app as a useful tool to compliment proper sanctioned Avalanche training in a format that is with you on your iphone for a quick refresher while traveling, working or otherwise killing time.

    A sizable monetary investment remains for me to finish the app and I thought I would gauge interest in this forum before proceeding. Please let me know if you or people you know would purchase such an app and the price you might pay.

    Understand that this app will never make any money with the small market but hopefully could cover the development costs, educate and even save lives.

    Look forward to your comments....

  2. #2
    Hugh Conway Guest
    How is this superior to the Mammut app that links to bulletains, has clinometer, compass and altimeter built in and includes a rudimentary discussion of avalanche mechanics. More importantly how is it superior enough for people to pay $ for?

    If you are writing an app for people using an iPhone in Avy terrain, how about one that records pit data? That could be pretty useful especially with some site for users to export and share the pit data.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Basalt
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    I would purchase it for sure. Price point....I would probably pay $5 at most.
    "We had nice 3 days in your autonomous mountain realm last weekend." - Tom from Austria (the Rax ski guy)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    How is this superior to the Mammut app that links to bulletains, has clinometer, compass and altimeter built in and includes a rudimentary discussion of avalanche mechanics. More importantly how is it superior enough for people to pay $ for?

    If you are writing an app for people using an iPhone in Avy terrain, how about one that records pit data? That could be pretty useful especially with some site for users to export and share the pit data.
    The Avy information is far more detailed than the Mammut app more like a text book with photos and illustrations. There could even be a quiz section if interest is high enough.

    Great idea about recording pit data...I'll add to the list of desired features.

    Other suggestions?

  5. #5
    nomensteven Guest
    I think they key would be having quality local information that includes a ton of different regions. Before a tour I generally check a half dozen or so websites for weather and avy information, so if there was an app that helped streamline this process then I would be somewhat interested. So for me you are essentially competing against a bookmark folder in my web browser.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomensteven View Post
    you are essentially competing against a bookmark folder in my web browser.
    yep........

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    I'd prolly pay the typical $.99 just to check it out. But imho you're mixing two elements. The reference element would be sort of interesting, but unless it's from Tremper/Birkeland and other current snow scientists, i wouldn't give it much time. The basics are the basics, most just do some reading or take a very intro course and pick it up there. If somebody reads that and thinks they know enough to stay safe, could be twouble...

    The other is current data. That could be marginally more useful. But most are able to find that for the area they are in and skiing that day. I suppose adding avi websites and phone numbers could be a valuable add to your first skiguide app, but hard to see them justifying a whole new one.

    The other caveat i'll throw out [sorry to be all negative here...] is that many of us are aware and concerned about interference between avi beacons and phones and turn phones off at the start of a trip. So any use of it after leaving the truck are a bit problematic.

    I'll keep chewing on it. Cool that you're focusing on ski related apps...
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Mammoth/Santa Barbara
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    It's an intriguing idea. There may be some potential, but honestly I'm not sure what it is yet.

    "review of all the important avalanche safety information" ????

    I am skeptical. Slope angles. Slope exposures. Recent temperature history. Snowfall history. Accumulation. There are a lot of factors that go into avalanche prediction. I plain wouldn't trust any programmer to synthesize raw data for me.

    I'd talk to a lawyer about liability.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Atl
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    I like the idea. I would be interested if it was $.99-2.99. When will you be done with it?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    The Ranch
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    I'd pay $.25, $0.99 just seems too expensive.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    ask the midget
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    Can I take my phone and put it in the snow on the slope I want to ski - and then it tells me if it's good to go or not?

    I need one of those.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    North Vancouver
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    Will this replace my Stud Finder?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by frozenwater View Post
    Can I take my phone and put it in the snow on the slope I want to ski - and then it tells me if it's good to go or not?

    I need one of those.
    Not as ridiculous as might be thought. Was talking about this just a couple nights ago. Buddy who works up at a heli operation in the Chugach says Ethan G [former wasatch now CO forecaster] and a few others are working on some kinda thingy that can be flown over a slope under a heli, and certain snowpack info can be determined [not sure what]. They are currently validating it with physical inspection of the snowpack. The natural extension of the technology, if it works out, would be smaller and smaller...maybe one day phone/studfinder-sized...
    [/threadjack]
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    CA
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    I agree about recording Pit Data. It would be useful to allow users to access Pit data from other users (I know this can be suspect). It would also be very cool to pull the GPS information and find the closest Avalanche Bulletin to that location.

    If the app could allow for Pit Data entry and retrieval, I would certainly pay for it. If you need testers, I would certainly take a look at it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    A Chamonix of the Mind
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    I'd pay a few bucks for it. And the quiz function would be useful, I could see if I could finish it before my friends dig me out. Or vice versa, hopefully.
    "Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
    -- Jack Tackle

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    livin the dream
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    if the app had a programmed hazard evaluation matrix like the checklist in bruce tempers book it would be cool. As long as the overall conclusion of the checklist is conservative..
    Best Skier on the Mountain
    Self-Certified
    1992 - 2012
    Squaw Valley, USA

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    How about the same app for the crackberry?
    watch out for snakes

  18. #18
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    Oct 2003
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    I don't hike up a mountain to read fucking "textbook" and take quizes on my phone.

    Make an app that can record and share pit data

    Otherwise stick to a free app that has links to weather, avi forecasts, and the most rudimentary safety info like red flags or ALPTRUTH if you like algorithms.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  19. #19
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    Apr 2006
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    Bravo Delta.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tye 1on View Post
    Not as ridiculous as might be thought. Was talking about this just a couple nights ago. Buddy who works up at a heli operation in the Chugach says Ethan G [former wasatch now CO forecaster] and a few others are working on some kinda thingy that can be flown over a slope under a heli, and certain snowpack info can be determined [not sure what]. They are currently validating it with physical inspection of the snowpack. The natural extension of the technology, if it works out, would be smaller and smaller...maybe one day phone/studfinder-sized...
    [/threadjack]


    This is the subject of my PhD.

    Not specifically that study, but snow studies with ground based, aircraft based, and spaceborne multifrequency infrared and multifrequency passive and active microwave remote sensing. ie. handhled is a while away. The current cost of one basic ground based sensor is $250,000 USD.

    It is difficult to adapt to mountian topography because of the nature of the EM frequecies relative to the resolution of the information required and the sensitivity limitations of technology today; but I'm working on making a scientific career out of this, so I have some time.


    [/thread jack]




    IMHO, an app to record pit data to upload to Avy centres is a good idea.
    Quote Originally Posted by Socialist View Post
    They have socalized healthcare up in canada. The whole country is 100% full of pot smoking pro-athlete alcoholics.

  20. #20
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  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    12
    Great suggestions! To address a few comments:

    The idea is not to read the app while hiking up a mountain....why go to the mountains if you plan to do this. I rarely even take my phone with me in the backcountry. The idea is to look over the app on the bus ride up the canyon if you live in SLC, on the car ride to quiz your buddies who may be called upon to save your ass, on the plane ride on a trip to Alaska or for those of us that still work regular jobs while killing time at work.

    Uploading pit data is a good idea but quality and knowledge of the people digging could be problematic...thoughts on this? Reception is lousy in many backcountry areas so this feature would be kind of iffy anyway.

    I have an agreement with a well-known and respected snow scientist for content so I can assure you that the content is FIRST RATE as far as Avalanches go.

    Keep 'em coming....

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    CA
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    133
    Some additional ideas:

    * Images of various crystal/grain types (rounds, facets, cupped facets, graupel, etc..) with international symbols and size range next to the image.
    * CT, ETC, SS, PST score sheet
    * Avalanche Quick Guide rescue documentation
    * Witness Form for documentation

    All of these items should really be well known and embeded within the memory banks of a backcountry user or avalanche practitioner. I worry about the person who use much of this information from an iPhone App. I was just trying to think of the most common issues I see while teaching Level I and Level II courses.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowcruiser View Post
    Uploading pit data is a good idea but quality and knowledge of the people digging could be problematic...thoughts on this? Reception is lousy in many backcountry areas so this feature would be kind of iffy anyway.
    The quality of data may vary, but there are several snow projects attempting to capture spatial variability of snow coverage, depth etc. that use tweets on twitter to upload and amalgomate data from regular people.
    http://snowcore.uwaterloo.ca/snowtweets/snowbird/

    The idea is that some data is better than no data at all; particularly when you're dealing with b/c snowpits, where data is spatially sparse. Additionally, for areas that are commonly used, there will be an increase in the data from the increased number of users, and this can act as a sort of quality control.


    The data could be stored on the phone/app until the data could be uploaded to a website/avalanche service, once a signal is re-acquired. It doesn't have to be real-time. Near real time is good enough.

    Avy reports from regular people/skiers in the field are already used to augment avy forecasts/risk predictions/warnings/classifications, particularly when slides occur and self extraction occurs. What says the reports from those people are incredible accurate or professional?

    IMHO, having a standardized form on your iphone/smartphone to accumulate data would very valuable to avy risk forecasting. The data quality would likely improve if people knew that it was going to avy forecasters/risk assessment. Sure there might be the occasional asshole who screws it up for shit and giggles etc. I think, given the gravity of the information and the potentail to saves the lives of others, most would take the data collectiona little more seriously.

    I think the snowpit data idea is a winner.
    Quote Originally Posted by Socialist View Post
    They have socalized healthcare up in canada. The whole country is 100% full of pot smoking pro-athlete alcoholics.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    NorCal
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    996
    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    Make an app that can record and share pit data

    Otherwise stick to a free app that has links to weather, avi forecasts, and the most rudimentary safety info like red flags or ALPTRUTH if you like algorithms.

    +1

    Also would be coold if it somehow downloaded data from S A C real time (chart + text) and put it into a form that is easier to view for hand-held. I think this info is more useful for this type of application. If the interface is good enough relative to the website links, you might be able to sell it for 99 cents.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    Warm, Flat and Dry
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    I'd just like an iphone that doesn't interfere with my beacon...

    My beacon in search mode will think it's detected something when I wave my iphone past it even in airplane mode.
    "if the city is visibly one of humankind's greatest achievements, its uncontrolled evolution also can lead to desecration of both nature and the human spirit."
    -- Melvin G. Marcus 1979

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