Use of GIS Technology in the Prediction and Monitoring of Landslide Hazard

Abstract

Technologies such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have raised great expectations as potential means of coping with natural disasters, including landslides. However, several misconceptions on the potential of GIS are widespread. Prominent among these is the belief that a landslide hazard map obtained by systematic data manipulation within a GIS is assumed to be more objective than a comparable hand-made product derived from the same input data and founded on the same conceptual model. Geographical data can now be handled in a GIS environment by users who are not experts in either GIS or natural hazard process fields. The reality of the successful application of GIS within the landslide hazard domain seems to be somewhat less attractive than current optimistic expectations.

In spite of recent achievements, the use of GIS in the domain of prevention and mitigation of natural catastrophes remains a pioneering activity. Diffusion of the technology is still hampered by factors such as the difficulty in acquiring appropriate raw data, the intrinsic complexity of predictive models, the lack of efficient graphical user interfaces, the high cost of digitisation, and the persistence of bottlenecks in hardware capabilities.

In addition, researchers are investing more in tuning-up hazard models founded upon existing, often unreliable data than in attempting to initiate long-term projects for the acquisition of new data on the causes of catastrophic events. Governmental institutions are frequently involved in risk reduction projects whose design and implementation appear to be governed more by political issues than by technical ones. There is an unfortunate general tendency to search for data which can be collected at low cost rather than attempting to capture the information which most readily explains the causes of a disaster.

If the technical, cultural, economic and political reasons for this unhealthy state cannot be adequately tackled, the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction will probably come to an end without achieving significant advances in the prediction and control of natural disasters.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Alexander, D. E.: 1991, Applied geomorphology and the impact of natural hazards on the built environment, Natural Hazards 4(1), 57–80.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Alexander, D. E.: 1993, Natural Disasters, UCL Press, London.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Alexander, D. E.: 1995, A survey of the field of natural hazards and disasters studies, In: A. Carrara and F. Guzzetti (eds), Geographical Information Systems in Assessing Natural Hazards, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 1–20.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Aronoff, S.: 1989, Geographic Information Systems: A Management Perspective, WDL Publications, Ottawa.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Best-GIS: 1998, Guidelines for best practice in user interface for GIS, ESPRIT/ESSI Project No. 21580, Final Report, Brussels, pp. 69–84.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bitelli, G., Carrara, A., and Vittuari, L.: 1996, Comparison of DTMs derived from contour lines and digital photogrammetry, In: U. Unguendoli (ed.), Reports on Surveying and Geodesy, DIS TART, Nautilus, Bologna, pp. 159–179.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Brunsden, D.: 1993, Mass movements; the research frontier and beyond: a geomorphological approach, Geomorphology 7, 85–128.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Carrara, A.: 1983, A multivariate model for landslide hazard evaluation, Mathematical Geology 15, 403–426.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Carrara, A., Cardinali, M., Detti, R., Guzzetti, F., Pasqui, V., and Reichenbach, P.: 1991, GIS techniques and statistical models in evaluating landslide hazard, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 16(5), 427–445.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Carrara, A., Cardinali, M., Guzzetti, F., and Reichenbach, P.: 1995, GIS technology in mapping landslide hazard, In: A. Carrara and F. Guzzetti (eds), Geographical Information Systems in Assessing Natural Hazards, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 135–175.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Carrara, A. and Guzzetti, F. (eds): 1995, Geographical Information Systems in Assessing Natural Hazards, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Chung, Ch. F., Fabbri, A. G., and van Westen, C. J.: 1995, Multivariate regression analysis for landslide hazard zonation, In: A. Carrara and F. Guzzetti (eds), Geographical Information Systems in Assessing Natural Hazards, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 107–142.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Consuegra, D., Joerin, F., and Vitalini, F.: 1995, Flood delineation and impact assessment in agricultural land using GIS technology, In: A. Carrara and F. Guzzetti (eds), Geographical Information Systems in Assessing Natural Hazards, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 177–198.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Coppock, J. T.: 1995, GIS and natural hazards: An overview from a GIS perspective, In: A. Carrara and F. Guzzetti (eds), Geographical Information Systems in Assessing Natural Hazards, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 21–34.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Dietrich, E. W., Reiss, R., Hsu, M.-L., and Montgomery, D. R.: 1995, A process-based model for colluvial soil depth and shallow landsliding using digital elevation data, Hydrological Processes 9, 383–400.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Van Driel, N.: 1991, Geographical Information Systems for Earth Science Applications, Proc. IV Int. Conf. on Seismic Zonation, Stanford, Aug. 25- 29, 1991, Vol. 1, pp. 469–485.

    Google Scholar 

  17. El-Sabh, M. I., Murty, T. S., Venkatesh, S., Siccardi, F. and Andah, K.: 1994, Recent studies in geophysical hazards, Natural Hazards 9(1- 2), 1–285.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Guzzetti, F., Cardinali, M., and Reichenbach, P.: 1994, The AVI Project: A bibliographical and archive inventory of landslides and floods in Italy, Environmental Management 18(4): 623–633.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Guzzetti, F., Cardinali, M., and Reichenbach, P.: 1996, Maps of Sites Affected by Landslides and Floods: The AVI Project, CNR-GNDCI, Rome, Publication No. 1356, scale 1: 1,200,000.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Guzzetti, F., Cardinali, M., and Reichenbach, P.: 1996, The influence of structural setting and lithology on landslide type and pattern, Environmental and Engineering Geology 2(4), 531–555.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Guzzetti, F., Carrara, A., Cardinali M., and Reichenbach, P.: (in press), Landslide hazard evaluation: A review of current techniques and their application in a multi-scale study, Central Italy, VI International Conference on Geomorphology, Bingampton Symposium, Bologna Aug. 30- Sept. 3, 1997, Geomorphology (in press).

  22. Hansen, A.: 1984, Landslide hazard analysis, In: D. Brunsden and D. B. Prior (eds), Slope Instability, John Wiley and Sons, New York, pp. 523–602.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Holland, G. L.: 1989, Observations on the international decade for natural disaster reduction, Natural Hazards 2(1), 77–82.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Housner, G. W.: 1989, An international decade of natural disaster reduction: 1990- 2000, Natural Hazards 2(1), 45–75.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Kolbl, O. (ed.): 1996, Application of Digital Photogrammetric Workstations, Proc. OEEPE Workshop, Lausanne, 4- 6 March 1996.

  26. Kovar, K. and Natchtnebel, H. P.: 1995, Application of Geographic Information Systems in Hydrology and Water Resources Management, HydroGIS 93, IAHS Publication No. 211.

  27. Krzystek, and Ackermann, F.: 1995, New Investigations into the Practical Performance of Automatic DEM Generation, Proc. ACSM/ASPR Conference, Charlotte, pp. 372–390.

  28. Ibsen, M.-L. and Brunsden, D.: 1996, The nature, use and problems of historical archives for the temporal occurrence of landslides, with specific reference to the south coast of Britain, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, Geomorphology 15, 241–258.

    Google Scholar 

  29. IDNHR, Advisory Committee: 1987, Confronting Natural Disasters. An International Decade for Natural Hazard Reduction, National Academy Press, Washington.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Lanza, L. and Siccardi, F.: 1995, The role of GIS as a tool for the assessment of flood hazard at the regional scale, In: A. Carrara and F. Guzzetti (eds), Geographical Information Systems in Assessing Natural Hazards, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 199–218.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Mark, R. K.: 1996, Map of Debris Flow Probability, San Mateo County, California, scale 1: 62,500, U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Map, I-1257-M.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Montgomery, D. R. and Dietrich, W. E.: 1994, A physically based model for the topographic control of shallow landsliding, Water Resour. Res. 30(4), 1153–1171.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Moore, I. D., Gessler, P. E., Nielsen, G. A., and Peterson, G. A.: 1993, Soil attribute prediction using terrain analysis, Soil Science Society of America Journal 57, 443–452.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Ottens, H. F. L.: 1992, GIS in Europe, II European Conference on GIS, Brussels, April 2- 5, 1991, Vol. 1, pp. 1–9.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Pike, Richard, J.: 1988, The geometric signature: Quantifying landslide-terrain types from digital elevation models, Mathematical Geology 20(5), 491–511.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Raper J. (ed.): 1989, Three Dimensional Applications in Geographical Information Systems, Taylor and Francis, London.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Ravden, S. J. and Johnson, G. I.: 1989, Evaluating Usability of Human-Computer Interfaces: A Practical Method, Ellis Horwood Limited, Chichester.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Schenk, V. (ed.): 1994, Some problems in applied seismology, Natural Hazards 10(1- 2), 1–191.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Shah, H., Boyle, R., and Dong, W.: 1991, Geographic Information Systems and Artificial Intelligence: An Application for Seismic Zonation, Proc. IV Int. Conf. on Seismic Zonation, Stanford, Aug. 25- 29, 1991, Vol. 1, pp. 487–515.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Sleiko, D. and Mayer-Rosa, D. (eds): 1997, Aspects in seismic hazard assessment, Natural Hazards 14(2- 3, 1996/97), 89–261.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Terlien, M. T. J., vanWesten, C. J., and van Asch, Th.W. J.: 1995, The use of deterministic models in landslide hazard assessment, In: A. Carrara and F. Guzzetti (eds), Geographical Information Systems in Assessing Natural Hazards, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 57–77.

    Google Scholar 

  42. UNDRO: 1991, Mitigating Natural Disasters, Phenomena, Effects and Options, United Nations, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Varnes, D. J. and IAEG Commission on Landslides and Other Mass-Movements: 1984, Landslide Hazard Zonation: A Review of Principles and Practice, UNESCO Press, Paris.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Van Westen, C. J.: 1993, Application of Geographical Information Systems to Landslide Hazard Zonation, ITC Publication No. 15, ITC, Enschede.

  45. Van Westen, C. J.: 1994, GIS in landslide hazard zonation: A review with examples from the Colombian Andes, In: M. F. Price and D. I. Heywood (eds), Taylor and Francis, London, pp. 35–165.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Wentworth, C. M., Ellen, S., Frizzell, V. A., Schlocker, J.: 1985, Map of Hillside Materials and Description of Their Engineering Character, San Mateo County, California. U.S. Geological Survey, Miscellaneous Investigations Series, Map I-i 257D, scale 1: 62,500.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Carrara, A., Guzzetti, F., Cardinali, M. et al. Use of GIS Technology in the Prediction and Monitoring of Landslide Hazard. Natural Hazards 20, 117–135 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008097111310

Download citation

  • GIS technology
  • landslides
  • natural hazards
  • predictive models