SPOT6 Avalanche outlines 24 January 2018


Outlines of 18'737 avalanches mapped from SPOT6 satellite data over the Swiss Alps on 24 January 2018. The outlines have different attributes described in the data example key (ExampleKey_AvalMapping.pdf) The generation of the data is described in: Bühler, Y., E. D. Hafner, B. Zweifel, M. Zesiger, and H. Heisig (2019), Where are the avalanches? Rapid SPOT6 satellite data acquisition to map an extreme avalanche period over the Swiss Alps, The Cryosphere, 13(12), 3225-3238, doi:10.5194/tc-13-3225-2019. Abstract. Accurate and timely information on avalanche occurrence are key for avalanche warning, crisis management and avalanche documentation. Today such information is mainly available at isolated locations provided by observers in the field. The achieved reliability considering accuracy, completeness and reliability of the reported avalanche events is limited. In this study we present the spatial continuous mapping of a large avalanche period in January 2018 covering the majority of the Swiss Alps (12’500 km2). We tested different satellite sensors available for rapid mapping during a first avalanche period. Based on these experiences, we tasked SPOT6/7 data for data acquisition to cover the second, much larger avalanche period. We manually mapped the outlines of 18’737 individual avalanche events, applying image enhancement techniques to analyze regions in cast shadow as well as brightly illuminated ones. The resulting dataset of mapped avalanche outlines, having a unique completeness and reliability, is evaluated to produce maps of avalanche occurrence and avalanche size. We validated the mapping of the avalanche outlines using photographs acquired from helicopters just after the avalanche period. This study demonstrates the applicability of optical, very high spatial resolution satellite data to map an exceptional avalanche period with very high completeness, accuracy and reliability over a large region. The generated avalanche data is of great value to validate avalanche bulletins, complete existing avalanche databases and for research applications by enabling meaningful statistics on important avalanche parameters. Koordinate System: CH1903+ LV95 LN02

Metadata Access
Creator Elisabeth Hafner (SLF); Yves Bühler (SLF)
Publisher EnviDat
Contributor Yves Bühler; EnviDat
Publication Year 2019
Funding Reference BAFU; Kanton Wallis
Rights ODbL with Database Contents License (DbCL)
OpenAccess true
Contact envidat(at)
Language English
Resource Type Dataset
Format SHP
Size 157117977 bytes
Version 1.0
Discipline Environmental Research
Spatial Coverage (6.652W, 45.890S, 10.475E, 47.160N); Switzerland