The SLF has been publishing the national avalanche bulletin since 1945. The reporting format has now been revised and optimised for internet and smartphone users. The key changes are improved visualisation, the omission of detailed descriptions for individual regions, and the introduction of bulletins covering all regions twice a day in four languages (German, French, Italian, English). The revised format is to be adopted at the start of the 2012/13 winter season.
In future, the structure of the avalanche bulletin will reflect an “information pyramid” . On the internet, viewers will be directed first to the danger level, then to the “core zone” (especially dangerous altitude zones and aspects), and finally to the danger description
For the first time, the avalanche bulletin will be published twice daily, at 8 am and 5 pm, in four languages (German, French, Italian, English), for the Swiss Alps and, if necessary, for the Jura as well.
The new format is made possible by automated translation based on a catalogue of standard phrases. In future, the danger description will be assembled in German from a set of predefined phrases. Each of these phrases is stored in a database in French, Italian and English as well, so that all of the translations can be produced immediately.
The individual sentences are not fixed, but consist of various phrases. These phrases are selected from a list of predetermined options (e.g. “The danger will increase/decrease to moderate/considerable/high"). This allows the formulation of several billion different sentences. Without such flexibility, the danger could not be described with sufficient accuracy in every situation.
The White Risk app has been thoroughly revised to deliver the avalanche bulletin to smartphones with all its functions, including a zoomable interactive map. The app also offers extensive background knowledge about avalanche prevention, and is available free for the iPhone and Android operating systems.
The new avalanche bulletin format has been optimised for internet and smartphone users. The other distribution channels are to be shut down.