People detection system Zermatt


In many ski resorts, preventive avalanche triggering from remotely controlled blasting systems are common practice. In each case, it must be ensured that no-one is present near the blasting or in the path of the avalanche. At Stafelalp, Zermatt, Switzerland, the triggered avalanches can reach a road and hiking trail. Up until now, the hazard zone had to be checked on foot or from a helicopter, to make sure that it is safe to trigger an avalanche. Both methods are time-consuming and expensive, require daylight and can delay the opening of the ski resort.


Geoprevent has developed and installed a radar based people detection system that detects the presence of people in the hazard zone. The radars monitor a large area and detect persons regardless of weather and daylight. The Geoprevent data portal provides the decision-makers with easy access to past and current data, allowing them to easily monitor the area from any computer, smartphone or tablet. Additional information about speed and duration of the presence in the hazard zone are also mapped.

We installed a system composed of a people detection radar, camera, infrared (IR) floodlight and IR camera in winter 2015/2016. The system will be expanded in late 2016, when we will add three additional radars, cameras with IR floodlights, remotely controllable road barriers with sirens and beacons. This addition will allow a complete surveillance of all access ways to the hazard area.

The system comprises the following key functions:

  • People detection day and night regardless of weather
  • Online visualization of current and past detections with corresponding webcam images
  • Remote control of barriers, beacons and sirens
  • Automatic activation of sirens if a person enters the hazard area behind closed barriers
  • Simple operation and user-friendly system overview in our data portal

Thanks to the new system, expensive helicopter flights and time-consuming patrols of the danger zone are no longer necessary, and a the ski resort can always be opened on time.

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