History of the Service
The sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) brings you daily forecasts of the avalanche hazard for the 5 most popular areas of Scotland during the most popular period of the winter season.
History of the Web Site:
The Scottish Avalanche Project began in 1988 as an avalanche forecasting service funded by the Scottish Sports Council and operating in 2 areas, Glencoe and the North Cairngorms. This ran for 2 winters, with the addition in1989-90 of Lochaber and a weekend pilot scheme on Lochnagar. After this the Project was permanently adopted by the Scottish Sports Council and became the Scottish Avalanche Information Service.
Later that year the reporting service was `computerised'. Mark Sanderson from the Computing Science Department at the University of Glasgow heard of this and I thought it would be a good idea for the reports to be available on the Internet. When this was proposed to Blyth Wright he gave it his full support. The web site was up and running before the end of that season.
Early correspondence about the site, showing email to be the main conduit of information, highlights how early this site was in the history of the World Wide Web.
"I propose to set up an information server to distribute the reports. The main distribution method will be via email, where people mail an account in the department and get the latest report sent to them. Other methods of distribution could include an ftp/gopher/WWW site and perhaps a daily posting to `rec.climbing'...
..Running the server this year in no way commits us to doing this again next year."
Fortunately, the website was continued and with the addition of South Cairngorms and Creag Meagaidh in winter 1996-97 and the re-naming of the Scottish Sports Council, the operation became the sportscotland Avalanche Information Service. This is the form in which the service continues today. The website has grown to become the main source of dissemination of the Snow and Avalanche Reports, with over 3,000 visits on a busy winter's day.