Avalanche Mapping

This new course teaches avalanche professionals what GIS (Geographic Information Systems) can do and how they can apply the technology to understanding and monitoring avalanches. Working with various components of ESRI ArcGIS and Google Earth, students will build digital maps, explore and analyze the data behind the maps, and learn easy methods to share maps and analyze the results.

By the end of the course students will have a solid understanding of how GIS maps and ArcGIS tools are used to visualize real-world features, discover patterns, obtain information, and communicate that information to others in the context of avalanches.  Historically, avalanche professionals have used a wide range of tools to cobble together systems that don’t always work that well.    

This will be a very hands on course. If time allows we will get out in the field for a portion of the course. 

Course Outcomes

Through course work and practical hands on projects, students will explore:

  • Mapping avalanche paths for highway corridors
  • Mapping avalanche terrain for ski areas
  • Integrating weather snowpack data and historical patterns into a geographic database
  • Georeferenced Avalanche Terrain photo atlas
  • Advanced ski tour planning
  • Work on team based and individual projects
  • Run routes, control routes and marking landing zones for helicopters
  • Integrating GPS data into your project

This course is intended for:

  • Avalanche forecasters
  • Mountain guides, backcountry ski guides
  • Land use planners who work with avalanche terrain
  • Ski patrollers
  • Land managers who work with avalanche terrain 

What to Bring:

  • Laptop 
  • GPS
  • pencil, paper
  • clinometer
  • backcountry ski equipment
  • snow science kit


Course Details:

Time: 8:00am – 5:00pm daily

Venue: Silverton

Cost: $500

Date: Dec 5-6, 2019

Doug Scott

Doug Scott

Founder of Avalanche Mapping

Doug is the founder of Avalanche Mapping and has conducted projects throughout the Western US on mapping and creating avalanche hazard maps for the ski industry, transportation industry and heli skiing operations. He is a certified ESRI trainer and works as a GIS professional. He has presented his projects at the International Snow Science Workshop and the ESRI User Conference. He has pioneered the use of GIS in the avalanche industry.

Jim Donovan

Jim Donovan

Director of the Silverton Avalanche School

Jim is the Director of the Silverton Avalanche School. He is a GIS professional in the non snow months. He has worked as a developer on the ESRI platform for projects ranging from oil and gas exploration, endangered species modeling, geodatabase modeling for the Department of Defense and GIS development for private businesses. He has also developed applications for Google Earth and hybrid web based systems. He has been developing applications for the modeling of avalanche phenomena and natural hazards in the San Juans.

Interested In Attending?