The first part of this blog series, Snow avalanche detectors: IoT technology applied to people safety, Part 1, describes the utilization of the Internet of Things IoT, an interesting branch of electronics technology, in the prevention of snow avalanche risk in winter to preserve the life those passionate about winter sports like the skiers, snowboarders, and more in general, of all the people living in mountain localities exposed to the risk of snow avalanches. The IoT is the perfect solution for predicting snow avalanches since this kind of technology is capable of helping analyze a broad area surrounding the skier. As an example, in a real time way, this technology is wearable, thus each user can easily carry the safety device, functioning as a predictor of snow avalanches and thus saving that user’s life as well as others in the area if further linked to a local area network. (see Figure 1):
“Everyone wants the avalanche goggles that you can just look everywhere and see whether it’s safe or not — I don’t think we’re ever going to get there,” said Jeffrey Deems, a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado. “But we can start to create new observations that help us get a better view of how the snowpack varies across the terrain.” One method for making those observations uses LiDAR, the laser-based system used by some self-driving cars to gauge distance. With this equipment, avalanche forecasters can measure the snow depth at a known avalanche starting point — one of the best but most dangerous spots for assessing slide risk — from more than 1,000 yards away, Deems said. (Source: The Mercury News)
The Snowpack structure able to connect from ski pole directly to user smartphone. (Source: mountain hub.com)
The snowpack solution is able to analyze the snow depth in an area surrounding the user and to send the data to the user’s smartphone and it’s a perfect example of application of the electronics technology to preserve the safety of user in geographical areas that present the risk of snow avalanches. <.p>
The LIDAR system is indeed an application of the Internet of Things technology to make easier the everyday life of each person, it is a system that is able to detect in real time the structure of a geographic area by sending a light source and measuring the time of flight of the light beam (see Figure 2): <.p>
“LIDAR is an acronym for Light Direction and Ranging (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], 2007a). Other names it is known by are Laser Altimetry, Airborne Laser Terrain Mapping, Airborne Laser Swath Mapping and LADAR (Harding, 2000, Satale1 and Kulkarni, n.d., Wikipedia, 2007). It is a remote sensing system used by a variety of disciplines such as geography, natural resource management, engineering, atmospheric science … Remote sensing is beneficial in many ways. First and foremost, it is comparatively an inexpensive and fast method of data collection. It permits data collection in areas where access is difficult or conditions may be toxic or dangerous. Finally, it allows data collection with little or no impact on an environment or the subject of study (NASA, 1998). … .For many uses of LIDAR data it is important to classify the data. This means the landscape must be qualified. Is it an urban or rural landscape? What buildings or vegetation are present? Is the landscape barren? The mix of objects that make-up the environment and the density of coverage is import in developing products such as bare-earth DEMs (USACE, 2002) ” (Source: personal.psu.edu) <.p>
The LIDAR (Light Direction and Ranging) system images. Copyright Puget Sound LIDAR Consortium
The lasers in a LIDAR transceiver are a key part of the overall system architecture (see Figure 3), hence the robustness and the accuracy of such electronic systems are very important in guaranteeing the overall system effectiveness.
The block diagram of the transceiver of an A-LIDAR System, a Lidar for Earth Care (Source: ResearchGate)
Do you think that IoT technology will help to detect snow avalanche events and to advise the user in real time saving lives? Do you think it is a good solution? Do you have experience with LIDAR systems? Please share with our readers.