Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Scope replace the need for snowpits?

     No, although it could reduce the number of pits you dig, and make recording data from the pits you do dig faster.

    Think of a Scope profile as a direct substitue for a hand hardness profile, not an entire snowpit. While the Scope will give you a very accurate hardness profile of snowpack layers, it will not tell you anything about the sensitivity/reactivity of those layers.

     If the goal of your pit was to only identify the structure of the snowpack, or see if a certain layer is present, then the scope can definitely replace your pit. If the goal is a stability assesment, the scope should be used in conjunction with traditional stability tests, and the scope profile + app can be used to make recording your pit much faster and easier.


Why do the scope profiles look so much "noiser" than hand hardness profiles I'm used to?

     The Scope is a high resolution digital penetrometer, collecting over 5000 samples per second, and outputting a profile with a hardness value every mm. Hand hardness profiles are abstractions of the snowpack, and only identify "layers" that the human practitioner simplifies into a single hardness. The high resoultion output of the Scope is a more "true" and accurate picture of the snowpack, and identifies many minor layer boundaries and hardness transitions within "layers".

     We recognize that all these minor layers may be information overload for many practitioners, so in our apps, we offer a simplification slider that smooths out minor hardness differences while preserving the larger changes that practitioners are more likely to care about.


Does how fast I probe matter?

     Not particularily. As long as the probe is probed between 1-3m/s, the effects on the force signal are minimal.


How long is the Scope Probe?

     The standard Scope is 150cm long. If you would like to collect data deeper than that, we offer additional segments that can be screwed on to extend the length. There isn't a theoretical limit to how deep of snowpacks the scope will work in.


How long will the battery last?

     The Scope is powered by 3 AAA batteries and should last an entire season with moderate usage.


Do I need to take my phone out to collect a profile?

     Not necessarily. As long as you pair your phone with the Scope when you are starting your day, and leave your phone on, the Scope will be able to collect location data and transfer profiles without you touching your phone. If your phone is off , the Scope will not be able to automatically tag location, but all other features will work. However, looking at your phone is the only way to see profiles in the field.


How is the Scope different from the Avatech SP1/SP2?

     The Scope is the evolution of the Avatech SP2. We learned from the shortcomings of the SP2 and designed the Scope from the ground up to be more accurate, easier to use, and easier to interpret than the SP2. The Scope utilizes higher end force and depth sensors, allowing it to collect more accurate profiles, and to be less dependent on user technique. Additionally, the Scope does not have a screen and instead utilizes a phone app to show profiles. This allows the probe to be smaller, and creates a much richer user experience for viewing and manipulating profile data.


Is Propagation Labs different than Avatech

     Propagation Labs is a new group, formed by two former engineers from Avatech. We are a small company, working on digital snow penetrometers because we believe they have the potential to improve snow science and avalanche forecasting. See Our Story for more info.



Still have more questions? Send us a message at contact@propagationlabs.com