, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp 1833–1850 | Cite as

A hybrid model using machine learning methods and GIS for potential rockfall source identification from airborne laser scanning data

  • Ali Mutar Fanos
  • Biswajeet Pradhan
  • Shattri Mansor
  • Zainuddin Md Yusoff
  • Ahmad Fikri bin Abdullah
Original Paper


The main objectives of this paper are to design and evaluate a hybrid approach based on Gaussian mixture model (GMM) and random forest (RF) for detecting rockfall source areas using airborne laser scanning data. The former model was used to calculate automatically slope angle thresholds for different type of landslides such as shallow, translational, rotational, rotational-translational, complex, debris flow, and rockfalls. After calculating the slope angle thresholds, a homogenous morphometric land use area (HMLA) was constructed to improve the performance of the model computations and reduce the sensitivity of the model to the variations in different conditioning factors. After that, the support vector machine (SVM) was applied in addition to backward elimination (BE) to select and rank the conditioning factors considering the type of landslides. Then, different machine learning methods [artificial neural network (ANN), logistic regression (LR), and random forest (RF) were trained with the selected best factors and previously prepared inventory datasets. The best fit method (RF) was then used to generate the probability maps and then the source areas were detected by combining the slope raster (reclassified according to the thresholds found by the GMM model) and the probability maps. The accuracy assessment shows that the proposed hybrid model could detect the potential rockfalls with an accuracy of 0.92 based on training data and 0.96 on validation data. Overall, the proposed model is an efficient model for identifying rockfall source areas in the presence of other types of landslides with an accepted generalization performance.


Landslide Rockfall Machine learning LiDAR GIS Remote sensing 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  2. 2.School of Systems, Management and Leadership, Faculty of Engineering and Information TechnologyUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Energy and Mineral Resources EngineeringChoongmu-gwan, Sejong UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia

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