Earth Systems and Environment

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 491–506 | Cite as

A Novel Hybrid Machine Learning-Based Model for Rockfall Source Identification in Presence of Other Landslide Types Using LiDAR and GIS

  • Ali Mutar Fanos
  • Biswajeet PradhanEmail author
Original Article


Rockfall is a common phenomenon in mountainous and hilly areas worldwide, including Malaysia. Rockfall source identification is a challenging task in rockfall hazard assessment. The difficulty rise when the area of interest has other landslide types with nearly similar controlling factors. Therefore, this research presented and assessed a hybrid model for rockfall source identification based on the stacking ensemble model of random forest (RF), artificial neural network, Naive Bayes (NB), and logistic regression in addition to Gaussian mixture model (GMM) using high-resolution airborne laser scanning data (LiDAR). GMM was adopted to automatically compute the thresholds of slope angle for various landslide types. Chi square was utilised to rank and select the conditioning factors for each landslide type. The best fit ensemble model (RF–NB) was then used to produce probability maps, which were used to conduct rockfall source identification in combination with the reclassified slope raster based on the thresholds obtained by the GMM. Next, landslide potential area was structured to reduce the sensitivity and the noise of the model to the variations in different conditioning factors for improving its computation performance. The accuracy assessment of the developed model indicates that the model can efficiently identify probable rockfall sources with receiver operating characteristic curve accuracies of 0.945 and 0.923 on validation and training datasets, respectively. In general, the proposed hybrid model is an effective model for rockfall source identification in the presence of other landslide types with a reasonable generalisation performance.

Graphic Abstract


Rockfall GIS Hybrid model LiDAR Gaussian mixture model Remote sensing 



The authors acknowledge and appreciate the provision of airborne laser scanning data orthophoto images from airborne laser scanning data (LiDAR) by the Department of Planning.


This research is supported by the Centre for Advanced Modelling and Geospatial Information Systems (CAMGIS) in the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) under Grants 321740.2232335 and 321740.2232357.


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Copyright information

© King Abdulaziz University and Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  2. 2.The Centre for Advanced Modelling and Geospatial Information Systems (CAMGIS), Faculty of Engineering and Information TechnologyUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia

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