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Volume 18, issue 1 | Copyright

Special issue: The use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in monitoring...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 405-417, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-405-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 30 Jan 2018

Research article | 30 Jan 2018

Criteria for the optimal selection of remote sensing optical images to map event landslides

Federica Fiorucci1, Daniele Giordan2, Michele Santangelo1, Furio Dutto3, Mauro Rossi1, and Fausto Guzzetti1 Federica Fiorucci et al.
  • 1Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, via della Madonna Alta 126, 06128 Perugia, Italy
  • 2Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Strada delle Cacce 73, 10135 Turin, Italy
  • 3Servizio Protezione Civile della Città Metropolitana di Torino, Via Alberto Sordi 13, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy

Abstract. Landslides leave discernible signs on the land surface, most of which can be captured in remote sensing images. Trained geomorphologists analyse remote sensing images and map landslides through heuristic interpretation of photographic and morphological characteristics. Despite a wide use of remote sensing images for landslide mapping, no attempt to evaluate how the image characteristics influence landslide identification and mapping exists. This paper presents an experiment to determine the effects of optical image characteristics, such as spatial resolution, spectral content and image type (monoscopic or stereoscopic), on landslide mapping. We considered eight maps of the same landslide in central Italy: (i) six maps obtained through expert heuristic visual interpretation of remote sensing images, (ii) one map through a reconnaissance field survey, and (iii) one map obtained through a real-time kinematic (RTK) differential global positioning system (dGPS) survey, which served as a benchmark. The eight maps were compared pairwise and to a benchmark. The mismatch between each map pair was quantified by the error index, E. Results show that the map closest to the benchmark delineation of the landslide was obtained using the higher resolution image, where the landslide signature was primarily photographical (in the landslide source and transport area). Conversely, where the landslide signature was mainly morphological (in the landslide deposit) the best mapping result was obtained using the stereoscopic images. Albeit conducted on a single landslide, the experiment results are general, and provide useful information to decide on the optimal imagery for the production of event, seasonal and multi-temporal landslide inventory maps.

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This paper describes the criteria for the optimal selection of remote sensing images to map event landslides, discussing the ability of monoscopic and stereoscopic VHR satellite images and ultra-high-resolution UAV images to resolve the landslide photographical and morphological signatures. The findings can be useful to decide on the optimal imagery and technique to be used when planning the production of a landslide inventory map.
This paper describes the criteria for the optimal selection of remote sensing images to map...
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