Obtaining Snow Avalanche Information by Means of Terrestrial Photogrammetry—Evaluation of a New Approach

  • Paweł ChrustekEmail author
  • Natalia Kolecka
  • Yves Bühler
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


Recent snow avalanche hazard mapping tools and procedures offer methods to improve the accuracy and reliability of risk and hazard localization. The validation of numerical mass movement models mainly depends on recorded historical avalanche data sets such as avalanche outlines and release volumes. These data sets are often unavailable or of an unknown accuracy. Avalanche characteristics such as release area, flow height and flow path, runout distance and total amount of released snow mass are essential parameters for proper calibration and evaluation of numerical simulation tools. Incorrectly calibrated models can influence decisions-making which directly affects human safety. The acquisition of high quality data regarding observed avalanche events is often hindered by the high risk permanently present in avalanche terrain. This chapter describes a method based on photogrammetry and computer vision that allows using a single terrestrial photograph with unknown exterior and interior orientation parameters to accurately map avalanche outlines and release areas. We evaluate this method by comparing its results with GPS measurements made in the field and discuss the optimization of measurement efficiency, costs and human safety.


Global Position System Global Navigation Satellite System Digital Elevation Model Global Navigation Satellite System Terrestrial Laser Scanning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to express our gratitude to the Foundation for Polish Science for financial support of Paweł Chrustek. Performing the analyses was possible thanks to the VENTURES program organized by the Foundation of Polish Science and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Operational Program Innovative Economy 2007-2013. Natalia Kolecka is a grant holder of “Doctus” Programme. We also would like to express gratitude to our colleagues Marek Świerk from the Anna Pasek Foundation in Poland, for assistance in collecting field data, Wojciech Bartkowski and Jakub Radliński from the Volunteer Mountain Rescue Service (Górskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe, GOPR), for assistance in collecting data and materials concerning historical avalanches in the Tatra Mountains.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paweł Chrustek
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Natalia Kolecka
    • 1
  • Yves Bühler
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Geography and Spatial ManagementJagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland
  2. 2.Anna Pasek FoundationBędzinPoland
  3. 3.WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLFDavosSwitzerland

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