FOREST LAKE, Minn. - This week marked the beginning of a 2-week journey through most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, hydrologic technicians Bill Odell and Jesse Scott. Odell and Scott will travel to approximately 100 locations to take snow samples.Snow surveys are conducted annually to determine the amount of water in the snowpack that will be released when the snow melts. This information is shared with the National Weather Service and is used to assess the potential for flood conditions.This year Odell and Scott will be testing a new mobile application, Collector for GIS, which allows the data collected to be uploaded real-time and sent to the district's water management team and river regulators.The team will be travelling to northern Minnesota and then counter clockwise to the border of North Dakota/Minnesota at Whapeton, North Dakota, and then to the western portion of Wisconsin. The trip will also include stops along the Red River of the North to take ice thickness measurements using an ice auger.At each survey location, snow depth is measured with a snow tube, 0-30 inches and then the tube is emptied into a plastic bag. Once five samples have been taken, each one is weighed and recorded. A snow description (icy, large, granular), snow moisture (dry to slush), if there is an ice layer and the estimated snow cover at the site are also recorded.St. Paul District park rangers around the district, for example at Baldhill Dam (Valley City, North Dakota) and Lake Traverse (Wheaton, Minnesota) additionally take snow survey samples at an additional 200 locations.-30-