20 Nov 2021

20 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Terrain visibility impact on the preparation of landslide inventories: some practical cases

Txomin Bornaetxea1, Ivan Marchesini2, Sumit Kumar3, Rabisankar Karmakar3, and Alessandro Mondini2 Txomin Bornaetxea et al.
  • 1Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU), Barrio Sarriena s/n, 48940 Leioa, Spain
  • 2CNR-IRPI, via Madonna Alta 126, 06128 Perugia, Italy
  • 3Geohazard Research and Management Centre, Geological Survey of India, Kolkata, India

Abstract. Landslide inventories are used for multiple purposes including landscape characterisation and monitoring, and landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk evaluation. Their quality can depend on the data and the methods with which they were produced. In this work we evaluate the effects of a variable visibility of the territory to map on the spatial distribution of the information collected by four landslide inventories prepared using different approaches in two study areas.

The method first classifies the territory in areas with different visibility levels from the paths (roads) used to map landslides, and then estimates the landslide density reported in the inventories into the different visibility classes.

Our results show that 1) the density of the information is strongly related to the visibility in inventories obtained through fieldwork, technical reports and/or newspapers, where landslides are under-sampled in low visibility classes; and 2) the inventories obtained by photo-interpretation of images suffer from a marked under representation of small landslides close to roads or infrastructures. We maintain that the proposed procedure can be useful to evaluate the quality of landslide inventories and then properly orient their use.

Txomin Bornaetxea et al.

Status: open (until 01 Jan 2022)

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Txomin Bornaetxea et al.

Txomin Bornaetxea et al.


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Short summary
You can't know if there is a landslide or not in an area that you haven't observed. This is a quite obvious statement, but when landslide inventories are obtained by field observation, this fact is seldom taking into account. Since field-work campaigns are often done following the roads, we present a methodology to estimate the visibility of the terrain from the roads, and we demonstrated that field-work-based inventories are under estimating the landslide density in the less visible areas.