The Canadian Avalanche Centre warns the public to avoid using smart phone avalanche search apps in place of an avalanche transceiver.
iSis Intelligent (Mountain) Rescue System, Snøg Avalanche Buddy and SnoWhere are three apps that have been tested and are not up to the CAC’s safety standards.
These apps have been found to have a number of deficits that could put users at risk.
First, the apps can only interact with matching apps (for example, iSis with iSis, Snøg with Snøg) while they’re unable to interact with avalanche transceivers. Also, WiFi and Bluetooth signals are not strong enough to pass through dense snow, rocks, trees and other debris that could be between the buried victim and safety. The CAC cites numerous other failures with the apps including a phone’s susceptibility to short battery life and water damage.
The SnoWhere iPhone app has recently been removed from the App Store.
Click here to read the CAC’s review of Smartphone Avalanche Search Apps.