Floods, debris flows, rock fall and avalanches: Switzerland is, as a densely populated alpine country, particularly exposed to natural hazards. In order for the federal, cantonal and municipal authorities responsible for public safety to be able to issue warnings about natural hazards and quickly implement measures, they need to be able to access measurement data and forecasts fast and simply. GIN – the Common Natural Hazard Information Platform provides experts with this information on a central Internet portal. GIN is a joint product of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), MeteoSwiss, the Swiss Seismological Service SED and SLF, which also programmed the Web application.
Hundreds of indicators, ranging from wind speeds to water levels and snow depths at more than 700 automatic measuring stations are updated every minute. All the recorded data and forecasts can be combined with each other. For example, experts can analyse in spring the current run-offs, the snow quantities and the precipitation forecasts that are depicted all together in a map. SLF has recently improved the portal to make it more user-friendly and take into account practical experience in the field. Matthias Gerber, head of the development team at SLF, adds: “A further step will be the development of a mobile app during the next three years. Since so many of the things that affect natural hazards happen outside, experts must also have access to the portal when they are out of the office.”
In the ‘Best of Swiss Web Award’, which awards prizes to the best digital projects in Switzerland, GIN won several awards in 2018. The jury considered the project to be an excellent example of a successful cooperation between the authorities in E-government. For the general public, information about the current natural hazard situation is available via the information platform: www.natural-hazards.ch. (Sara Niedermann, Diagonal 2/18)