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Applying Geospatial Technology to

Landslide Susceptibility Assessment


Mehrdad Safaei
Mountainous Terrain Development Research Center Department of Civil
Engineering and Faculty of Engineering, University Putra Malaysia 43400
Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
e-mail: m_safaei45@yahoo.com

Husaini Omar
Mountainous Terrain Development Research Center Department of Civil
Engineering and Faculty of Engineering, University Putra Malaysia 43400
Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
e-mail: Husaini@eng.upm.edu.my

Zenoddin B M Yousof
Mountainous Terrain Development Research Center Department of Civil
Engineering and Faculty of Engineering, University Putra Malaysia 43400
Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
e-mail: zmy@eng.upm.edu.my

Vahed Ghiasi
Mountainous Terrain Development Research Center Department of Civil
Engineering and Faculty of Engineering, University Putra Malaysia 43400
Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
e-mail: Ghiasi_upm@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT
Landslide or mass movement is a phenomenon of denudation process, whereby soil or rock is
displaced along the slope by mainly gravitational forces, usually occurring on unstable slopes
due to various reasons. The reasons can be either natural or man-made. Geospatial technology
includes Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote sensing (RS) tools and methods for
improved landslide inventory mapping and landslide assessment and susceptibility. The
application of geospatial sciences has spread very fast and wide over the past few decades in the
world. This paper presents a summary and a classification of the recent developments in different
approaches to landslide hazards while using GIS modeling for the analysis of the causative
factors. The application of GIS is an essential tool in the data analysis and slope stability
modeling that has been recognized worldwide.
In addition, this paper indicates the application of various remote sensing techniques in order to
prepare a landslide data collection. It also discusses the use of advanced spatial technology such
as space borne SAR and also the present technology of satellite based remote sensing that can be
used for qualitative prediction of landslide with high-resolution sensors that aids in the
preparation of better quality landslide hazard mapping.
KEYWORDS: Landslide, Susceptibility, GIS, Remote sensing

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INTRODUCTION
Landslide is the result of a wide variety of processes which include geological, geomorphologic
and meteorological factors. The main factors which influence land sliding are discussed by Varnes
(1984) and Hutchinson (1995). Normally the most important factors are bedrock geology (lithology,
structure, degree of weathering), geomorphology (slope gradient, aspect, and relative relief), soil
(depth, structure, permeability, and porosity), land use and land cover, and hydrologic conditions.
Landslides are triggered by many causative factors. Most landslide- triggering factors can be divided
into four main categories including: geological, hydrological, topographical factors and loading
conditions. Landslide hazard is a particular case of natural hazard defined as the probability of
occurrence within a specified period of time and within a given area of a potentially damaging
phenomenon (Varnes, 1984). From the experience of the USGS, the definition of a landslide
hazard map includes zonation showing annual probability (likelihood) of landslide occurring
throughout an area. Also, a landslide susceptibility map is a basic concept of landslide
susceptibility (Radbruch 1970; Dobrovolny 1971; Brabb and Pampeyan 1972) includes the spatial
distribution of factors related to the instability processes in order to determine zones of landslide-
prone areas without any temporal implication. This approach is useful for areas where it is difficult
to secure enough information concerning the historical record of landslide events ranks the slope
stability of an area in categories that range from stable to unstable. Susceptibility maps show where
landslides may occur.

There are several factors which directly or indirectly affect the slope stability. A change in any
one or a combination of these factors can alter the equilibrium position of slope, decreasing its
stability and sometimes leading to the slope failure. In some cases, the change may be caused by
natural processes such as the rising of mountains due to tectonic forces, rivers undercutting the toe
of a slope or bank scouring by debris flows. However, human interventions such as blasting,
excavation, cultivation or removal of material may also cause change in slopes. The factors which
affect the slope stability are described in the following sections. Force gravity, water, vegetation,
Earthquake shaking and Slope modifications and undercutting. For calculation, the slope stability is
often expressed as the safety factor, FS, the ratio of shear strength to shear stress (FS = Shear
Strength/Shear Stress). If the safety factor becomes less than one (i .e. shear strength is less than
shear stress), slope failure is expected.

A complete landslide hazard assessment requires an analysis of all these factors leading to
instability in the region. The feature extraction of some of these factors can be done from the
interpretation of satellite images. With the increase in efficient digital computing facilities, the
digital remote sensing data and their analysis have gained enormous importance. Then the spatial
and temporal thematic in formations derived from remote sensing and ground based information
need to be integrated for data analysis. This can be very well achieved using GIS which has the
capabilities to handle voluminous spatial data. GIS (Geographic Information System) is a system of
hardware and software and personnel to help to manipulate, analyze, and present information which
is tied to the spatial location. GIS is the method to visualize, analyze, manipulate, and display the
spatial data. With the help of GIS, it is possible to integrate the spatial data of different layers to
determine the influence of the parameters on landslide occurrence. There are several publication on
landslide instability using geospatial technology by Guzzetti ( 2000), Dai et al. (2002), Van Westen
et al. (2000, 2005), and Carrara and Pike (2008).
In terms of the software used, GIS systems such as Arc Info, Arc View, ArcGIS, SPANS,
IDRISI, GRASS and ILWIS are mostly used and statistical packages such as Stat graph or SPSS.
Most GIS systems are good in data entry, conversion, management, overlaying and visualization,
but not very suitable for implementing complex dynamic simulation models. Some GIS systems are
specifically designed for implementing such dynamic models. GIS has proved to be an excellent tool
in the spatial analysis of the terrain parameters for landslide hazard zonation.

THE ROLE OF GIS IN MODELING


Today, GIS-based models are frequent, due to the unique capabilities of a GIS to capture, store,
and handle data, even referenced with spatial or geographic coordinates, and the ability to integrate
appropriate engineering models (Babu and Mukesh, 2002).

GIS can assist the modeling process in several ways. First, a GIS is a tool that can process ,
display, integrate different data sources including maps, digital elevation models (DEMs) , GPS
(global position system) data, images, and tables. These data for example landslide data are needed
for implementation, calibration, and validation of a model.

Second, models built with GIS can be vector based or raster based. The choice depends on the
nature of the model, data sources, and the computing algorithm. For this study raster-based model is
preferred.A raster-based model is also preferred if satellite images and DEMs constitute a major
portion of the input data, or if the modeling involves intense and complex computation.

Third, distinction between raster-based and vector-based models does not preclude modelers
process. Algorithms for conversation between vector and raster data are easily available in GIS
packages.

Fourth, the process of modeling may take place in a GIS or require the linking of a GIS to other
programs. Many GIS packages including ArcGIS, GRASS, IDRISI, ILWIS, MF works, and
PCRaster have extensive analytical functions for modeling.

LIMITATIONS OF GIS MODELING


Although the use of GIS and remote sensing offers a relatively easy and time efficient approach,
researchers should be cautious and understanding of the limitations and assumptions associated with
landslide modeling. Perhaps one of the biggest complications stems from landslide classification.
The classification of landslides forces naturally occurring phenomena, which vary over a continuous
spectrum, into discrete Categories, and often landslides are complex and have characteristics that
fall into different categories simultaneously (Alexander, 2008). Another complication in landslide
modeling is the quality of input data, consisting of both landslide inventories and landscape
variables (Carrara and Pike, 2008). This quality of data complication reiterates the point made by
Galli et al. (2008) that inferior observations are commonly gathered quickly in order to apply the
data manipulation and multivariate statistical analysis so easily conducted within GIS. However, the
sophistication of the technology and methods can not compensate for substandard input data
(Carrara and Pike, 2008), and use of such careless models can have devastating consequences to
human life and property.

To improve the quality and accuracy of input data for landslide models, remote sensing
techniques such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) can be utilized. LiDAR data are

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extremely accurate and have the ability to provide invaluable information for relatively large study
areas .Van Westen et al., (2005) mentioned that LiDAR data have been used by Montgomery et al.
(2000), Dietrich et al. (2001), and Crosta and Agliardi (2002) in the analysis of landslide
susceptibility assessments

GIS for Slope Stability Analysis


Recently, GIS with their excellent spatial data processing capability, has attached great attention
in natural disaster assessment. At the same time, GIS can easily and effectively analyze slope
stability if a GIS-based geotechnical analysis model can be developed. The geotechnical model,
which is deterministic or probabilistic, has been widely employed in civil engineering and
engineering geology for slope stability analysis, and even for landslide hazard mapping, especially
since the instruction of GIS.

A deterministic approach is a traditional method to both homogenous and non homogenous


slopes. The factor of safety is the index of slope stability widely used and based on the appropriate
geotechnical model and on physical and mechanical parameters. The calculation of factor of safety
requires the geometrical data, data on shear strength parameters, unit weight, physical parameter,
and pore water pressure. And the reliability of data and appropriate model provide a correct result of
calculation. The deterministic calculations can be performed inside or without GIS. If the calculation
is outside the GIS, the system is only used for data storing, displaying and updating the input data.
But most programs have their data formats; the data conversion is a major problem. Furthermore,
using the external model will cause not to use the spatial data directly and the results are not
spatially distributed in GIS. In order to overcome this problem, deterministic calculation can be
performed in GIS.

GIS application for the slope stability analysis of an area refers to hazard zonation, which is
basically the division of land surface into areas and the ranking of these areas according to degree of
actual or potential hazard. Hence, the land slide hazard zonation shows potential hazard of land slide
or other mass movement on a map, displaying the spatial distribution of the hazard classes (Prabin
Kayastha, 2006).

The required parameters and the variables are developed in the respective GIS layers. In order to
perform slope stability analysis, generally four types of data are required that shown in Table 1.
However, geotechnical data and hydrological data are equally important since the geotechnical data
represent the characteristics of the materials, while the hydrological data represent the amount of
rainfall in the area. However, sometimes it is difficult to collect such information especially in rural
area of a developing country, where information on earth resources is always connected to the
budget provided and development priority given by the government.

DIFFERENT APPROACHES FOR LANDSLIDE HAZARD


ASSESSMENT USING GIS
There are many approaches to assessing slope stability and landslide hazards mostly using
geospatial analysis (Sidle et al., 1985; Dietrich et al., 1986; Montgomery and Dietrich, 1988;
Montgomery and Dietrich, 1989; Carrera et al., 1991; Dietrich et al., 1992; Sidle, 1992; Dietrich et
al, 1993; Montgomery and Dietrich, 1994; Wu and Sidle, 1995, Pack, 1995). Also overviews and
classification of GIS based landslide hazard assessment methods can be found in Soeters and Van
Westen(1996),Leorri(1996),Carrara et al.(1995,1999),Guzzetti et al.(1999),Aleotti and
Chowdary(1999), Van Westen(2000),Chung and Fabbri(1999),Lee and Min(2001),Lee et
al.(2002),Mandy et al.(2001), Carrara, A., and Pike, R.,( 2008) .Based on the literature review, four
different approaches would be dealt with in this research(Fig.2).

Table 1: The main data layer for slope instability hazard zonation
using geospatial technology
Main layers Sub layers
1.GEOMORPHOLOGY 1.1.Terrain Mapping Unites
1.2.Geomorphological (sub) Unites
1.3.Landslides(recent)
1.4.Landslide(older period)
2.TOPOGRAPHY 2.1.Digital Terrain Mapping
2.2.Slope Map
2.3.Slope Length
2.3.Concavities/Convexities
3.ENGINEERING GEOLOGY 3.1.Lithologies
3.2.Material Sequences
3.3.Structural Geological Map
3.4.Seismic accelerations
4.LANDUSE 4.1.Infrastructure(recent)
4.2.Infrastructure(older)
4.3.Landuse Map(recent)
4.5. Land use Map(older)
5.HYDROLOGY 5.1.Drainage
5.2.Catchment Area
5.3.Rainfall
5.4.Temperature
5.5.Evapotranspiration
5.6.Water Table Map

LANDSLIDE INVENTORY METHODS


According to Hansen (1984), Wieczorek (1984), Guzzetti et al. (1999); landslide inventories are
the simplest form of landslide mapping. Inventories for hazard assessment are discussed by Guzzetti
(1994), Guzzetti (2000), Chau (2004), Guzzetti and Tonelli (2004). However, the existing landslide
databases often present several drawbacks related to the completeness in space and even more so in
time, and the fact that they are biased to landslides that have affected infrastructures such as
roads.(Guzzetti, 2000; Ardizzone et al., 2002; Guzzetti and Tonelli, 2004)

An inventory of landslide maps can be prepared either by collecting historical information on


individual landslide events or by RS using satellite imagery and aerial photographs coupled with
field surveys by global position system (GPS) .This identifies existing landslides and provides a test
of model validity by comparing observed landslide locations with model predictions. The inventory
should provide characterization as good as possible of the landslides, such as type and subtype, as
well as the degree of activity or its size. The creation of landslide inventory maps and data bases is
tedious work because landslides occur individually and have to be identified and collected one by

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one (Van Westen et al., 2006) . The base of landslide inventory approach is probabilistic analysis.
That is assuming that occurrence of landslide in the past is a good indication of the likelihood of the
occurring in the future.

Geomorphologic inventory maps may show:

(1) A landslide-event inventory, consisting of all the slope failures associated with a single
trigger, such as an earthquake, rainstorm or snowmelt, or (2) a historical landslide inventory, the
sum of many landslide events over a period of tens, hundreds or even many thousands of years. By
interpreting multiple sets of aerial photographs of different ages, multi-temporal inventory maps
can be prepared. Usually, a single map is used to portray all different types of landslides.
Alternatively, a set of maps can be prepared, each map showing a different type of failure, i.e. deep-
seated slides, shallow failures, debris flows, rock falls, etc. (Bruce et al., 2003)

In many landscapes, landslides tend to occur where they have occurred in the past. Thus, in
many parts of the world, landslides occur in clusters. A cluster may contain several landslides of
different sizes, types, and ages. (Bruce et al., 2003).Thus, landslide inventories are generally
incomplete and the level of completeness of the inventory is unknown, particularly for historical
inventories. Indeed, estimating the completeness of a landslide inventory is a difficult task. This is
due to the fact that many smaller- and intermediate-size landslides in historical inventories have
been erased by erosion and anthropic action. After landslides are transferred to a GIS, computations
of landslide areas are possible. Any vector-based GIS system can calculate the area and perimeter of
polygons used to represent the landslide (Bruce et al., 2003).

HEURISTIC METHODS
The second approach is the heuristic (qualitative) methods that evaluate actual landslides
comparing characteristics of geomorphology or geology (e.g. Stevenson, 1977; Anbalagan and Sing,
1996; Ayalew et al., 2004). This method is strongly dependent on the experience of the surveyors,
but it is the only practicable approach for landslides caused by different mechanisms. The increasing
popularity of Geographic Information Systems over the last decades has lead to a majority of
studies, mainly using indirect susceptibility mapping approaches (Aleotti and Chowdury, 1999).
However, there are less publications in which GIS is used in combination with a heuristic approach,
either geomorphologic mapping, or index overlay mapping (e.g. Barredo et al., 2000; Van Westen et
al., 2000; Perotto-Baldiviezo et al., 2004, Van Westen et al., 2003). An example from the US is the
SMORPH model (Shaw and Johnson 1995), which classifies hill slopes as high, moderate, or low
landslide hazard, based on their local topographic slope and curvature. Also Ruff et al. (2006),
demonstrated the heuristic approach of an index method, and analyzed the data layers of
geotechnical class, bedding conditions, tectonic layouts, slope angles, slope orientations, vegetation
and erosion. The susceptibility of each layer was evaluated with help of bivariate statistics. The
layers were weighted with indices due to their importance iteratively and were combined into a
landslide susceptibility map. Therefore it was decided to apply the heuristic approach with the aid of
a Geographic Information System (GIS) using grid data. When possible, factors leading to
landslides were analyzed with bivariate statistics to confirm the heuristic assumptions.
Index overlay
Index based
Indirect methods
methods
Qualitative
Logical analytical
/heuristic
Geomorphological
Direct methods
map

countinous time- Possion


based
inventory/
base-probability
discrete time-
based Binomial

landslide Bivariate Lineal regresion


assessment
approaches
Multiple
Multivariate
regrresion

statitical
Mont carlo

Discriminant
Multiple logistic
regrresion
Quantitative
Neural Net work
methods

Fuzzy logic

dSLAM model

SHATRAN MODEL

LISA model

Deterministic

SHALSTAB model
physical Propability
base/geotchnical determinstic -
SINMAP model
Dynamic-
deterministic
New Mark model

Figure 1: Classification of landslide susceptibility assessment approaches


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STATISTICAL METHODS
GIS is very suitable for indirect landslide susceptibility mapping using statistical methods.
Using these statistical methods, terrain units or grid cells are transformed to new values representing
the degree of probability, certainty, belief or plausibility that the respective terrain units or grid cells
may contain or can be expected to be subject to a particular landslide in the future.

Many statistical techniques have been developed and applied successfully to landslide
susceptibility assessment and mapping in the last ten years using Bivariate or Multivariate
approaches, probabilistic approaches (like Bayesian inference or logistic regression) and artificial
neural networks approaches (Carrara, 1983; Carrara et al., 1991; Fabbri & Chung, 1996; Guzzetti et
al., 1999; Ermini et al., 2005).Among the most popular statistical landslide hazard methods reported
in the recent literature are logic regression and artificial neural network (ANN) classifiers. Logistic
regression relates to predictor variables (topographic factors, land use, soil types etc.), to the
presence or absence of landslides within geographic cells and uses the relationship to produce a map
showing the probability of future landslides. The ANN method is not available within existing GIS
systems, and has been programmed in systems like MATLAB (Lee et al., 2003).The increasing
versatility of GIS, and the ease at which multiple factors can be integrated, have influenced the
current trend of research towards using statistical spatial analysis and GIS to create these landslide
risk assessment maps (Baeza and Corominas, 2001; Dai et al, 2004; He et al., 2003; Ohlmacher et
al., 2003; Rickenmann, 1999).There can be, however, disadvantages in using GIS to create a
landslide susceptibility map as noted by Carrara et al. (1999). Disadvantages stem from two main
areas:

1) Any user experienced or not, can create overlay maps in a GIS, and 2) since the outputs of an
overlay analysis are subjective, they can be created by biased users to create inaccurate results. Bias
is a major problem with creating overlay maps and it exemplifies how truly subjective these models
can be. Statistical analysis should be used prior to any data manipulation within a GIS to avoid such
subjectivity. This technique was used by Baez and Corominas (2001).

DETERMINISTIC AND PROBABILISTIC ANALYSIS


In deterministic analysis, the landslide hazard is determined using slope stability models,
resulting in the calculation of factors of safety. Deterministic models provide the best quantitative
information on landslide hazard that can be used directly in the design of engineering works.
Deterministic slope stability analysis is related to shallow rainfall induced landslides. Several
experts have developed GIS models by coupling a dynamic hydrological model that simulates the
pore pressure over time with a slope stability model that quantifies the susceptibility as the critical
pore pressure threshold (Terlien et al., 1995; Gritzner et al., 2001; Chen and Lee, 2003). The slope
stability models developed by the US Forest Survey are also based on the infinite slope equation.
Hammond (1992), used this model and introduced the probability of slope failure by using Monte
Carlo simulations. Other interesting applications showing Monte Carlo simulations combined with
uncertainty mapping using fuzzy methods are presented by Davis and Keller (1997) and Zhou et al.
(2003). The deterministic approaches for earthquake-induced landslides hazard analysis are
generally based on the simplified new mark slope stability model, applied on a pixel-by-pixel basis,
which can be carried out completely within the current GIS computational environment (Miles and
Ho 1999; Luzi et al. 2000; Randall et al. 2000; Jibson et al. 2000). Refice and Capolongo (2002)
implemented a Monte Carlo simulation in combination with the new mark slope stability model.
Dietrich et al. (1992) developed a physically-based model based on a combination of the infinite
slope equation and a hydrological component based on steady-state shallow subsurface flow. This
model, called SHALSTAB, has been used extensively by researchers in the forestry field in the
western US (Montgomery et al., 1998) and in Italy (Borga et al, 1998). Other slope stability models
developed by the US Forest Service are the Level I Stability Analysis (LISA) and Stability Index
Mapping (SINMAP) which are both based on the infinite slope equation. All of the deterministic
models were executed using special extension in spatial analysis in recent types of GIS package
using the Arc GIS platform.

METHODS OF LANDSLIDE DATA COLLECTION USING


GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGY
Geo-information science and earth observation consist of a combination of tools and methods
for the collection, storage and processing of geo-spatial data and for the dissemination and use of
these data and of services based on these data. This implies the development and application of
concepts for spatial data modeling, for information extraction from measuring and image data, and
for the processing, analysis, dissemination, presentation and use of geospatial data. It also implies
the development and implementation of concepts for the structuring, organization and management
of geo-spatial production processes in an institutional setting. Due to the diversity and large volumes
of data needed, and the complexity in the analysis procedures, quantitative landslide risk assessment
has only become feasible in the last decade or so, due to the developments in the field of Geo-
Information science. When dealing with GIS-based landslide hazard assessment, experts from a
wide range of disciplines, such as earth sciences, hydrology, information technology, urban
planning, architecture, civil engineering, economy and social sciences need to be involved. Carrara
et al. (1999), in an interesting overview paper on the use of GIS technology for the prediction and
monitoring of landslide hazards, indicated some of the negative aspects of the extensive use of GIS
in the process, such as:

1. computer-generated results are considered to be more objective and accurate than products
derived by experts in the conventional way through extensive field mapping;

2. The use of GIS and the production of less accurate hazard maps by users that are not experts
in earth sciences.

3. The increased focus on the use of new computational techniques for landslide hazard
assessment, and less interest on the collection of reliable data; for the average earth scientist it is
difficult to keep up with the rapid developments in the field of Geoinformation Science and Earth
Observation. The number of new sensors and platforms, and the amount of acronyms is
overwhelming. Also the change of GIS software from one version to the next, in which the methods
that had been developed earlier on do no longer function, because of changes in file structure or
interface, can be frustrating to many earth scientists. Nevertheless, GIS has become an almost
compulsory tool in landslide hazard, and it is the challenge to keep on using it as a tool, and not as
an objective in itself. When using GIS, the following components of a landslide hazard project can
be differentiated: data collection, data entry, data management, and data modeling. An overview of
the various aspects related to the use of GIS technology in landslide risk assessment is given in
Figure 3. In the following section a number of specific aspects will be treated further.

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Figure 2: Different components related to the use of Geo-Information tools and methods
for hazard (van Westen, 2003).

In the field of data collection for landslide hazard, the developments in the fields of Geo-
Information Science and Earth Observation have shown a major impact in the fields of DEM
generation, digital mapping and mobile GIS.

TOPOGRAPHIC DATA
With the fast development in geo-information science and earth observation, there are more and
more tools available for carrying out a more reliable landslide hazard and risk assessment. As
topography is one of the major factors in landslide hazard and risk analysis (as it is also for other
types such as flooding, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, etc.), the generation of a digital
representation of the surface elevation, called the Digital Elevation Model (DEM), plays a major
role. During the last 15 years or so, there have been important changes both in terms of data
availability and in terms of the software that can be used on normal desktop computers without
extensive skills in photogrammetric. Photogram metrical methods using aerial photos, the use of
(high-precision) GPS and the digitizing and interpolation of contour maps, have now become
standard procedures that can be carried out by most landslide research teams themselves. In
addition, almost the entire world is now covered by a DEM with a spatial resolution of 30 m
(outside of the US distributed at 90 m) from the NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)
(Rebus et al. 2003), which serves as a good basis for landslide studies at regional scales. SAR
interferometer (InSAR) is gaining increasing importance as a technique for rapid and accurate
topographic data collection (Corominas, 2008), Radar interferometry analyses (InSAR), phase
differences between complex radar images resulting from different recording positions and converts
them into topographic height information. A number of space borne InSAR systems are operational
(ERS, ENVISAT, RADARSAT).Laser scanning is another suitable technique for preparing Digital
Elevation Model (DEM) and Digital Surface Model (DSM), which DSM contain information on all
objects on the Earths surface, including buildings, trees, etc.. LiDAR is an acronym for light
detection and ranging and is an airborne method using a pulse laser to measure the distance between
the sensor and the surface of the Earth Maps derived LiDAR including Shaded Relief Maps Surface
Roughness maps and Differential DEM that can be used for landslide mapping. LiDAR data have
been used by Montgomery et al. (2000), Dietrich et al. (2001), and Crosta and Agliardi (2002) in the
analysis of landslide susceptibility assessments. Norheim et al. (2002) made an extensive
Comparison of DEMs derived from LiDAR and airborne InSAR for the same area and concluded
that the accuracy of the LiDAR DEM was far bettercomparable in accuracy but more economical
as compared with a DEM derived by photogram metrical techniques from aerial photographs (Van
Westen et al., 2005).

LANDSLIDE INVENTORY
As mentioned above, landslide inventory maps are the key component of a landslide risk
assessment, especially if they represent landslides with date, type and volume, and if they are
updated after major triggering events (Coe et al. 2004b). Although there is an important role for the
collection of such data on the ground, where mobile GIS (Wong 2001; Ng et al. 2004) may be a new
tool for improved mapping, most of the information has to come from remote sensing. The
possibility of using satellite remote sensing data for the identification and mapping of small-scale
slope failures has been improved substantially over the last decade. Now, there is a potential value
for the application of multispectral and panchromatic data with up to 1 m spatial resolution (CEOS
2001).Different approaches can be seen in the use of remote sensing data for landslide inventory
mapping that can be carried out using a variety of techniques, which are summarized in Table 2.

Many of the medium resolution systems such as LANDSAT (Honda et al. 2002), SPOT
(Yamaguchi et al. 2003) and IRS-1 (Nagarajan et al. 1998) have been used in situations where
landslides without vegetation can be differentiated spectrally from the rest of the area.

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Table 2: Overview of techniques for the collection of landslide information


(Van Westen et al. 2008)

Indicated is the applicability of each technique for small, medium, large and detailed mapping scales. (H=highly
applicable, M=moderately applicable, and L=Less applicable).

ASTER data is currently one of the least expensive types of medium resolution satellite data
available for landslide mapping. ASTERs 14 multi-spectral bands (in the VNIR, SWIR and
Thermal IR) and stereo capability facilitate mapping and assessment of landslide hazard on a
regional scale and especially in areas where detailed geological and topographic maps are not
available (Liu et al. 2004). The other approach is the use of stereo imagery in the geomorphologic
interpretation and the mapping of landslides, using high-resolution imagery such as IKONOS or
Quick bird (De la Ville et al. 2002; Petley et al. 2002). With the current GIS and image processing
software such as ERDAS Stereo Analyst or ILWIS, it is also possible to generate a stereo pair from
one orthorectified image and a DEM. This is especially useful in those cases where the original
image data is only available monoscopically. Several techniques can be used to visualize the digital
stereo images, such as anaglyph, chromadepth, polarized light, or the use of a screen stereoscope
mounted on the computer screen. Currently, the InSAR technique has been used to monitor and
measure landslide movements (Fruneau et al. 1996; Rott et al.1999; Kimura and Yamaguchi 2000;
Rizo and Tesauro 2000; Squarzoni et al. 2003; Van Westen et al. 2005). Differential radar
interferometry (D-InSAR) allows their quantitative assessment in the scale of a few centimeters
(Fruneau et al., 1996; Massonnet and Feigl, 1998; Singhroy et al., 1998). The applicability of the
DInSAR method for detecting slope movements in vegetated terrain is much more limited, however,
due to phase decorrelation and atmospheric disturbances (Van Westen et al.2005).The LiDAR-
derived shaded relief maps image, have shown surface morphology, geomorphic of slope material ,
slope movements and location of different types of landslide that Mapped landslides classified
(Varnes 1978, Campbell et al. 1985 and Hungr et al. 2001) as planar slides, rotational slumps,
debris fans, debris flow, debris slides, or active slopes .

CONCLUSION
Based on the above literature and information available and types of assessment approach it can
be gathered that geospatial technology is not only economic but also able to cover a large area of
interest by means of a much simpler processing method. Hence, land use and landslide maps can be
created easily and it can be updated too. Furthermore, the present technology of satellite based
remote sensing can be used for qualitative prediction of landslide. Because of the forthcoming high
resolution sensors, a better quality LHZ can be prepared. RS and GIS play a very important role in
the preparation of LHZ. Yet, many thematic maps would be needed for this purpose.

A geographic information system has proven to be an excellent tool in the spatial analysis of the
terrain parameters for landslide hazard zonation. Good results are obtained in regional
reconnaissance maps, when experienced based conclusions on hazard susceptibility are qualitatively
extrapolated over large areas. The development of expert systems is promising for small-scale
landslide hazard surveys. The maximum benefit of GIS is obtained at larger scales, when the
causative factors are determined by a statistical analysis of terrain parameters in relation to the
occurrence of landslides. Bivariate statistical methods are preferred over multivariate statistics, as
the professional can use his experience in the determination of the parameters or parameter
combinations chosen for the analysis. In an iterative process the optimization of the hazard zonation
are positive as long as the quality of the input data is good and sufficient knowledge exists on the
relation of the occurrence of the triggering mechanisms in relation to the occurrence of landslides.

Also, the best source of spatial data is aerial photography, but it is an expensive technology,
restricted for common availability. The alternative source is satellite imagery, but it does not give
better resolution and hence accuracy for thematic map preparation is low when compared to
conventional photogrammetric technique. Among the different remote sensing methods, the InSAR
and LiDAR are the best methods for DEM generation and landslide mapping. Using digital landslide
data collection in the field by GPS could amplify the accuracy of input field data to create landslide
database.

LANDSAT, SPOT and IRS-1 have been used in situations where landslides without vegetation
can be differentiated spectrally from the rest of the area. An alternate approach is the use of stereo
imagery in the geomorphologic interpretation and the mapping of landslides, using high-resolution
imagery such as IKONOS or Quick bird.

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