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A Remote Sensing Approach for Landslide Hazard Assessment on Engineered Slopes

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stuart Barr, Dr Stephen Birkinshaw, Dr Geoffrey ParkinORCiD


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Earthworks such as embankments and cuttings are integral to road and rail networks, but can be prone to instability, necessitating rigorous and continual monitoring. To-date, the potential of remote sensing for earthwork hazard assessment has been largely overlooked. However, techniques such as airborne laser scanning (ALS) are now ripe for addressing these challenges. This research presents the development of a novel hazard assessment strategy, combining high resolution remote sensing with a numerical modelling approach. The research was implemented at a railway test site located in northern England, UK. ALS data and multispectral aerial imagery facilitated the determination of key slope stability variables, which were then used to parameterise a coupled hydrological-geotechnical model, in order to simulate slope behaviour under current and future climates. A software toolset was developed to integrate the core elements of the methodology and determine resultant slope failure hazard which could then be mapped and queried within a GIS environment. Results indicate that the earthworks are largely stable, in broad agreement with the management company’s slope hazard grading data, and in terms of morphological analysis, the remote methodology was able to correctly identify 99% of earthworks classed as embankments, and 100% of cuttings. The developed approach provides an effective and practicable method for remotely quantifying slope failure hazard at fine spatial scales (0.5 m), and for prioritising and reducing on-site inspection.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Miller P, Mills J, Barr SL, Birkinshaw S, Hardy A, Parkin G, Hall S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing

Year: 2012

Volume: 50

Issue: 4

Pages: 1048-1056

Print publication date: 03/04/2012

ISSN (print): 0196-2892

ISSN (electronic): 1558-0644

Publisher: IEEE


DOI: 10.1109/TGRS.2011.2165547


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Funder referenceFunder name
EP/D023726/1U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council