K. Kriz, M. Kinberger

Unuversity of Vienna, Dept. of Geography


The joint project LWD Online Maps between the Avalanche Warning Center Tyrol (Innsbruck, Austria) and the University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Regional Research is now ongoing for several years. Its goal has been and still is to develop and maintain a complex and very powerful database driven online decision support system for visualization and analysis of current avalanche relevant factors in the Tyrolean Alps. In order to understand the avalanche situation, it is important to have real-time spatial coverage of meteorological and snow pack factors as well as information covering the avalanche danger scale. Nowadays all information can be interactively made accessible to the user. This data can include information on current snow depth, amount of snow accumulation within the last 24 hours, temperature, wind speed and direction as well as the regional distribution of the avalanche danger scale including height and temporal dependencies. The crucial factor is however, how to administrate and communicate this vital information in a sound cartographic fashion to accommodate the users needs.


Beside cartographic design aspects, the quality and usability of a map mostly depends on the accuracy of the depicted information. The aim of the project LWD Online Maps is to visualize the daily avalanche report as well as the crucial meteorological factors of Tyrol with the goal to produce understandable and effective cartographic depictions. The representation of this constantly changing information demands efficient administration, high quality data and comprehensible knowledge transfer. In order to assist the data administration and production process as well as the experts of the Avalanche Warning Center, who must work daily with the system, it was important to facilitate the user with an interactive administration tool that sensitizes the client for spatial geographic issues.


This was achieved using software, such as php and PostgreSQL for programming and database administration, Google Earth for verifying geographic locations of weather stations and Mapyrus for high quality mapping.


This paper gives an overview on the communication, administration as well as information transfer processes within the project and will furthermore discuss the general framework with emphasis on cartographic design issues.