The Role of GIS in Snow Management

The accurate and efficient assessment of snow is required to provide relief to communities and help people get back on their feet. GIS can help agencies establish protocols for the effective management of snow.

The Role of GIS in Snow Management

The Role of GIS in Snow Management

The State of Jammu and Kashmir saw snowfall in November 2019 that was almost labelled a calamity by the government. Claiming seven lives, this snowfall had a very high bearing on life business in the State, especially horticulture, a primary source of income, which was impacted very severely.

Snow, like any other natural phenomenon, occurs in cold-climate regions. Countries like Canada and Russia witness heavy snowfall for a good part of the year and have accustomed to the climate for the most part.

The use of technology has been prevalent in the management of snow. But GIS or Geographic Information System can prove quite beneficial in the management of snow. The accurate and efficient assessment of snow is required to provide relief to communities and help people get back on their feet. GIS can help agencies establish protocols for the effective management of snow.

In many cases, snow can become an obstacle for people travelling on high altitude roads on an everyday basis. A lot of cities might get blocked and stranded due to snow. 

GIS can help agencies and governments prepare better for snow management with the help of consistent, live weather data. This data can be used to identify patterns that can, in turn, help identify periods that have a high chance of snowfall.

GIS can be used to create spatial models that help to analyze data and snowfall patterns. This data analysis can help governments establish routines and ensure that essential services are not interrupted.  

The ploughing and removal of snow can be managed and monitored in real-time with a GIS-enabled dashboard. This dashboard can show updates on current snow removal and overall progress. Public accessibility of this dashboard can help people take routes that are safer and cleared of snow. 

Geographic Information System can also provide authorities with data that helps identify avalanche-prone regions. This identification can help by alerting people and relief societies to minimize damage to life and property. 

Since Geographic Information Systems can integrate any information that has a spatial aspect to it, GIS can be of great value in snow management because monitoring large areas of land can be a cumbersome task if done manually.

GIS offers intelligent mapping, smart analysis of information, a data repository for decision-making, and also spatial and weather analytics. All of this can help plan snow and ice control in areas where damage is possible. It can also help government departments stay a step ahead of calamities and help societies not become a byproduct of their circumstances. 

While the role of GIS in snow management is not something new, it has been limited to identifying and mitigating damage in avalanche-prone areas. With advancements in technology, reduced turnaround time, sophisticated satellites, advanced remote sensing, spatial analytics, and high-res mapping, GIS can now be used in many more aspects of management of natural phenomenons like snow. 

Also Read: What is the role of GIS in Natural Resource Management