Colorado Avalanche Information Center releases mobile phone app | SkyHiNews.com

Colorado Avalanche Information Center releases mobile phone app

Sebastian Foltz
Summit Daily News

A group of back country skiers prepare to drop from a ridge in Mayflower Gulch, near Copper Mountain, earlier this winter. The Friends of CAIC released a mobile device app this week designed to make the CAIC avalanche forecast more accessible to backcountry users.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center, together with the Friends of CAIC, on Wednesday announced the release of a new mobile forecast application for Android devices.

The free app — paid for by funds raised by the Friends of CAIC — is a streamlined version of the CAIC's avalanche forecasting website and is designed for backcountry users to more easily access the forecast while on the go.

"I think it's a great tool for people who are trying to get avalanche safety information on their telephone," Friends of CAIC executive director Aaron Carlson said.

While the Android version is now available to download at the Google Play store, the Apple version of the program is currently going through Apple's review process. Carlson said the app could be available for Apple mobile devices sometime next week. The CAIC will announce its availability on its website as soon as Apple approves.

“I think it’s a great tool for people who are trying to get avalanche safety information on their telephone.”
Aaron Carlson
Friends of CAIC director

The app provides up-to-date information on state avalanche conditions in a manner designed for mobile devices.

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In addition to forecasting information, it has the capability for backcountry users to easily submit field observation reports to the CAIC.

"What we're trying to do is make it so the information we're putting out is easy to get," CAIC director Ethan Greene said. "The app is a nice way to do that. It updates very quickly and it's designed for a small screen."

He said that CAIC officials hope the app will also help to expand their database of field observations because of its mobile capability.

Friends of CAIC already has plans to build on the program's capabilities with future updates to the program. The current application provides access to the CAIC Forecast map with the GPS location of the user and the detailed avalanche forecast for each Colorado region.

Field reports can be submitted but cannot currently be viewed in the new app.

Future editions of the program will likely include field observation information and increased access to features of the CAIC's full website. The current program also does not allow for submitting photos with field observations, but that option is expected to be added to the app soon. Greene said the app is a step in the right direction, adding, "We hope to expand the capabilities in the months and years to come."

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