Semi-automated geomorphological mapping applied to landslide hazard analysis
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Computer-assisted three-dimensional (3D) mapping using stereo and multi-image (“softcopy”) photogrammetry is shown to enhance the visual interpretation of geomorphology in steep terrain with the direct benefit of greater locational accuracy than traditional manual mapping. This would benefit multi-parameter correlations between terrain attributes and landslide distribution in both direct and indirect forms of landslide hazard assessment. Case studies involve synthetic models of a landslide, and field studies of a rock slope and steep undeveloped hillsides with both recently formed and partly degraded, old landslide scars. Diagnostic 3D morphology was generated semi-automatically both using a terrain-following cursor under stereo-viewing and from high resolution digital elevation models created using area-based image correlation, further processed with curvature algorithms. Laboratory-based studies quantify limitations of area-based image correlation for measurement of 3D points on planar surfaces with varying camera orientations. The accuracy of point measurement is shown to be non-linear with limiting conditions created by both narrow and wide camera angles and moderate obliquity of the target plane. Analysis of the results with the planar surface highlighted problems with the controlling parameters of the area-based image correlation process when used for generating DEMs from images obtained with a low-cost digital camera. Although the specific cause of the phase-wrapped image artefacts identified was not found, the procedure would form a suitable method for testing image correlation software, as these artefacts may not be obvious in DEMs of non-planar surfaces.Modelling of synthetic landslides shows that Fast Fourier Transforms are an efficient method for removing noise, as produced by errors in measurement of individual DEM points, enabling diagnostic morphological terrain elements to be extracted. Component landforms within landslides are complex entities and conversion of the automatically-defined morphology into geomorphology was only achieved with manual interpretation; however, this interpretation was facilitated by softcopy-driven stereo viewing of the morphological entities across the hillsides.In the final case study of a large landslide within a man-made slope, landslide displacements were measured using a photogrammetric model consisting of 79 images captured with a helicopter-borne, hand-held, small format digital camera. Displacement vectors and a thematic geomorphological map were superimposed over an animated, 3D photo-textured model to aid non-stereo visualisation and communication of results.
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