This mobile app tracks the treasures exposed by melting glaciers
In this archive photograph taken on October 1, 2019, shows a panorama of the Aletsch Glacier above Bettmeralp in the Swiss Alps. Glaciers in the Swiss Alps are in constant decline, losing 2% of their volume last year alone, according to the Swiss Academies of Sciences.
Mountaineers with mobiles
The Wallis Cantonal Archeology Office (OCA) is developing tools for monitoring objects released by melting glaciers. But faced with the sheer “impossibility” of monitoring the entire area, the region called for the help of mountaineers equipped with mobiles.
“Most of the finds are not made by archaeologists,” Romain Andenmatten, archaeologist and scientific officer at OCA Wallis, told AFP. He estimated that there were five to ten discoveries of glacial archeology per year, of varying interest.
The home screen of the free downloadable app tells users not to touch anything they find. Then they select the type of object discovered, take a close-up photo with a comparable object for scale and a larger shot of the landscape showing where the object was found.
In addition to geolocation data, the information will be compiled and the OCA will then assess the relevance of the results and get to work to collect and store them.
The app is currently only used by the Wallis OCA, but Andenmatten stressed that they will pass on any findings reported elsewhere. He also hoped that this app could eventually be used everywhere to record new discoveries.
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