November 20, 2019

geoAndes – The New Monitoring and Early Warning System for Avalanches and Debris Flows

geoAndes is a new monitoring and early warning (EW) system completely wireless (WSN) for detecting and alerting from debris flows and avalanches occurence. The system was designed and developed by the Geosolving team with the collaboration of Winet, exploiting the complementary and integrated expertise in geology, geomechanic, civil engineering, electronic and IoT. The monitoring and EW system allows for effective risk mitigation and reduction in anthropized mountain areas.



The geoAndes system is modular and customizable following the customer’s specific requests, the type of element at risk (road, railway, public building, private infrastructure, etc.) and the specific installation topography.

Thanks to the expertise of our team, we are able to provide the customers with a turnkey and customized monitoring solution that include the following phases

  • Preliminary assessment of the phenomena to be monitored;
  • Monitoring system design;
  • Implementation of system operation logics;
  • Installation of the instrumentation;
  • System maintenance;
  • System management including periodic reporting to the client.

The basic elements of the geoAndes system are:

  • one or more trigger lines distributed along the gully equipped with one or more inclinometric and/or mechanical switch sensors;
  • one or more warning and alarm elements (traffic lights, barriers, sirens, dynamic message signs, etc.)
  • one or more high resolution cameras equipped with infrared sensor;
  • one or more weather stations;
  • wireless radio nodes (WSN);
  • webApp for the control and management of the WSN data.

The basic operating logic of the system provides that upon the detection of the avalanche or the debris flow along the trigger lines, an alarm is transmitted to the warning WSN elements (for instance traffic lights) thus activating them. At the same time alert SMS and email are send to specific recipients. Further advanced operation logics including the use of images acquired by cameras and the weather station data are available.


The WSN is designed to maintain very low energy consumption over time. All the nodes are thus completely stand-alone and are powered by a battery package coupled with photovoltaic modules.

Finally, the geoAndes webApp, accessible here, allows the data acquired by the monitoring system to be viewed and queried in a simple and direct manner even by non-specialized personnel.

The geoAndes system is the result of a prolonged tests carried out from 2017 along the Bouvaz gully in the municipality of Cogne (Ao) to protect the Cogne-Valnontey road. The activities, conducted on behalf of the Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta, made it possible to optimize the instrumentation and the algorithms implemented in the WSN. Between winter and spring of 2018, the system was able to early detect the transit of two different avalanches along the gully, thus safely blocking the traffic along the municipal road.