Natural Hazards

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 145–164 | Cite as

A heuristic approach to global landslide susceptibility mapping

  • Thomas Stanley
  • Dalia B. KirschbaumEmail author
Original Paper


Landslides can have significant and pervasive impacts to life and property around the world. Several attempts have been made to predict the geographic distribution of landslide activity at continental and global scales. These efforts shared common traits such as resolution, modeling approach, and explanatory variables. The lessons learned from prior research have been applied to build a new global susceptibility map from existing and previously unavailable data. Data on slope, faults, geology, forest loss, and road networks were combined using a heuristic fuzzy approach. The map was evaluated with a Global Landslide Catalog developed at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as several local landslide inventories. Comparisons to similar susceptibility maps suggest that the subjective methods commonly used at this scale are, for the most part, reproducible. However, comparisons of landslide susceptibility across spatial scales must take into account the susceptibility of the local subset relative to the larger study area. The new global landslide susceptibility map is intended for use in disaster planning, situational awareness, and for incorporation into global decision support systems.


Landslide Landslide susceptibility Remote sensing GIS Fuzzy logic 



Thank you to all of the contributors to the Global Landslide Catalog since its creation in 2007. Thank you also to all of those who provided landslide inventories for analysis, including Deo Raj Gurung and Jianqiang Zhang (ICIMOD), Mauro Rossi (CNR IRPI), Graziella Devoli, Manuel Diaz (MARN), the Oregon DOGAMI, the USGS, and the Utah Geological Survey. This work was supported by NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Missions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universities Space Research AssociationColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and ResearchColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Hydrological Sciences LaboratoryNASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA

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