Integrating Gaming Technology to Map Avalanche Hazard

Delparte, D., Peterson, M., Perkins, J., & Jackson, J. (2013). Integrating gaming technology to map avalanche hazard. Proceedings, International Snow Science Workshop, Grenoble, France.

The article presents a new approach to modeling avalanche behavior by incorporating a gaming-inspired particle physics flow model. The model uses physical parameters and DEM data to simulate avalanche flow and runout, and seeks to determine how closely they match observed avalanche paths.

Avalanche dynamics involve complex interactions between snow particles, air, and the underlying terrain, and as such they are difficult to model with computer software. Gaming-inspired model utilize particle physics algorithms to simulate the behavior of individual snow particles within an avalanche. These models consider factors such as mass, velocity, friction, and collision dynamics to replicate the movement and interaction of particles during an avalanche event.

The results showed that the GIS-ATES hazard map is not a truly accurate representation of avalanche exposure and should not be used for navigation or route decisions. The researchers explain that the inaccuracies from many GIS-ATES maps arise from: limited data, simplified models, lack of precision in mapping, insufficient understanding of avalanche processes, and changes in climate and land use.

Considering these results, I am curious as to how this modeling can be used to revise previously created hazard maps. If some of the maps are as inaccurate as this research suggests, they could be putting people into dangerous terrain unknowingly.