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Episode 09 with James Floyer

Episode 09 with James Floyer 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

James Floyer, the Program Director and Senior Avalanche Forecaster of Avalanche Canada, joins us for this episode. Avalanche Canada is a non-government non-profit that focuses on avalanche safety for individuals in the backcountry.

Avalanches can happen anywhere there is steep terrain and significant snowfall. There are also a few different types, with loose snow and slab avalanches being the most dangerous. Because there is a lack of infrastructure, those most at risk to avalanches are people in the backcountry.

The MIN, or Mountain Information Network, is an observation system used by Avalanche Canada to assess risk. Individual users can submit information to this network, as it was created in response to recognition of an untapped resource for safety: the public.

Avalanche Canada puts out the call for public user support early in the season, and generally the response is quite strong. People feel called to step up to the plate and submit data, and looking at this data is where avalanche analysis and safety really begins.

Avalanche Canada also has six field teams, five of which are located in Western Canada. They go out about four times a week into data-sparse areas to gather information about snowpacks and make observations of conditions to feed back into the forecast center. They also demonstrate best-practices to the public to help keep everyone in the backcountry safe.

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Episode 07 with Andrew Arreak and Lynn Moorman

Episode 07 with Andrew Arreak and Lynn Moorman 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

On this episode we’re joined by Dr. Lynn Moormon, Professor of Physical Geography at Mount Royal University, as well as Andrew Arreak, SmartICE Nunavut Operations Lead. The Inuit people across Northern Canada rely on sea ice for hunting and access, and it also plays a large role in their culture.

Knowing how to read the land and the ice has been passed down through Andrew’s family from one generation to the next. The people in his community have learned about it largely through first-hand experience. You really have to be there to understand how therapeutic it can be.

SmartICE is a co-development approach that aims to merge the traditional knowledge of sea ice with advanced data acquisition and remote monitoring technology. The goal is to create maps to help navigate ice conditions in real time using terminology that the community uses. This is becoming even more important as the climate warms.

They have been utilizing Facebook to transfer the knowledge throughout Northern communities and beyond. Digitizing the sea ice knowledge is another way of helping to pass the knowledge from one generation to the next. It also helps increase confidence around ice conditions.

In Andrew’s community, snow begins to fall in October, and the ice begins to form around mid-November. This is when they will begin creating sea ice maps again. Andrew loves it when he meets people out on the ice while he’s gathering data and enjoys taking the opportunity to educate them about the technology he’s using.

Listen to the episode here:

Episode 04 with Danika Kelly

Episode 04 with Danika Kelly 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

Danika Kelly is with us in today’s episode. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of My Normative, a female-focused health tracking app that can help the user gather data so they can understand more about how their unique hormone cycles impact their sleep, activity, and overall wellness.

Danika is a high-performance athlete who always used apps to track her health and wellness. However, she found they simply weren’t usable because these apps didn’t take into account that she is a female. Female bodies are different, and their needs should be met accordingly, which is why she decided to start My Normative.

Female-body inclusion is important in health tracking. Researchers are working on this, but they are generally very specialized. My Normative is helping to break these barriers by acting as a salient tool for researchers.

Before tracking her own patterns of behavior, Danika would say she has a tendency to “hunker down” when she’s beginning her menstrual cycle. What she’s learned through tracking is that this isn’t true. She actually spends a lot of time doing low-intensity ambient movement, which is common for women to do to mitigate pain and inflammation as their cycle begins.

It can take a few cycles for the My Normative app to gather the right amount of data and hone in on one’s personal experience. Over time, the insights become even more specific to the individual. In addition to this, they’ve put in barriers to ensure privacy protection for every user.

Listen to the episode here:

Episode 02 with Maggie Cawley

Episode 02 with Maggie Cawley 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

Maggie Cawley joins as a guest in this episode. Maggie is the Executive Director for OpenStreetMap, a nonprofit collaborative project to create an editable geographic database of the world. Anyone with an email address can edit this map. The goal is to try and build the best, most comprehensive map of the world.

OpenStreetMap has become a resource for people all over the world for analysis, to inform decision making, and allowing local participants to show the important features of where they live. Over 20,000 companies like Craigslist, Amazon, and Uber use OpenStreetMap.

About a year before recording this podcast episode, Maggie was contacted by park rangers concerned about the use and overuse of specific paths that were being perceived as trails based on information provided by OpenStreetMap. She used this opportunity to start a wider discussion on bringing awareness to this issue.

Maggie now has a working group with land managers, mappers, outdoor enthusiasts, and soil experts who are volunteering their time to work together and find a solution. This situation has highlighted the emphasis for adding the necessary metadata—for example, not just that there is a trail, but the features of the trail. As they work towards a solution, Maggie hopes educational resources will be available moving forward.

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