Landslide inventory, hazard and risk assessment in India

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

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

11 Citations (Scopus)
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The recent census in India revealed that India is now housing 17% of the world’s population, and India is on the way to become the most populated country. 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 the nodal agency for landslides by the Indian government, and they are 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, based on 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 relation between 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 combine them using the multivariate methods. For transportation corridors a method is presented for quantitative hazard and risk assessment based on a landslide database. Deterministic methods using several dynamic slope-hydrology and slope stability models have been applied to evaluate the relation between land use changes and slope stability in a steep watershed. The paper ends with an overview how 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, and how the results can be used in risk reduction planning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTerrigenous Mass Movements
Subtitle of host publicationDetection, Modelling, Early Warning and Mitigation Using Geoinformation Technology
EditorsB. Pradhan, M. Buchroithner
Place of PublicationBerlin
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-25495-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-25494-9, 978-3-642-42778-7
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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