From landslide inventories to landslide risk assessment: An attempt to support methodological development in India

C.J. van Westen, S. Ghosh, P. Jaiswal, T.R. Martha, S.L. Kuriakose

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
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India is now housing 17% of the world’s population. Landslides are an increasing concern in India due to the rapid population expansion in hilly and mountainous terrain. Landslides affect vast areas within India, in particular in the Himalayan chain in the North and Eastern part of the country and the Western Ghats in the Southwest. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has been designated as agency responsible for landslide inventory, susceptibility and hazard assessment. Until recently their landslide susceptibility assessment was based on a heuristic approach using fixed weights or ranking of geofactors, following guidelines of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). However, this method is disputed as it doesn’t provide accurate results.

This paper gives an overview of recent research on how the existing methods for landslide inventory, susceptibility and hazard assessment in India could be improved, and how these could be used in (semi)quantitative risk assessment. Due to the unavailability of airphotos in large parts of India, satellite remote sensing data has become the standard data input for landslide inventory mapping. The National Remote Sensing Center (NRSC) has developed an approach using semi-automatic image analysis algorithms that combine spectral, shape, texture, morphometric and contextual information derived from high resolution satellite data and DTMs for the preparation of new as well as historical landslide inventories. Also the use of existing information in the form of maintenance records, and other information to generate event-based landslide inventories is presented. Event-based landslide inventories are used to estimate the temporal probability, landslide density and landslide size distribution.

Landslide susceptibility methods can be subdivided in heuristic, statistical and deterministic methods. Examples are given on the use of these methods for different scales of analysis. For medium scales a method is presented to analyze the spatial association between landslides and causal factors, including those related to structural geology, to select the most appropriate spatial factors for different landslide types, and integrate them using a combination of heuristic and multivariate methods. For transportation corridors a method is presented for quantitative hazard and risk assessment based on a nearly complete landslide database. Deterministic methods using several dynamic slope-hydrology and slope stability models have been applied to evaluate the relation between landuse changes and slope stability.

The susceptibility maps can be combined with the landslide databases to convert them into hazard maps which are subsequently used in (semi) quantitative risk assessment at different scales of analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLandslide Science and Practice
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1: Landslide Inventory and Susceptibility and Hazard Zoning
EditorsC. Margotti, P. Canuti, K. Sassa
Place of PublicationDordrecht
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-31325-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-31324-0, 978-3-662-52228-8
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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