Monitoring and Mapping of Shallow Landslides in a Tropical Environment Using Persistent Scatterer Interferometry: A Case Study from the Western Ghats, India
Department of Geology, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram 695581, India
Centre for Remote Sensing, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli 620023, India
Department of Geological & Mining Engineering & Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
Department of Physical and Life Sciences, Nevada State College, Henderson, NV 89002, USA
Department of Applied Geology, The Gandhigram Rural Institute, Gandhigram 624302, India
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geomatics 2021, 1(1), 3-17; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geomatics1010002
Received: 27 November 2020 / Revised: 19 December 2020 / Accepted: 20 December 2020 / Published: 29 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ground-Based, UAV, Airborne and Satellite SAR for Geosciences)
Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (PSI) techniques are now well established and accepted for monitoring ground displacements. The presence of shallow-seated landslides, ubiquitous phenomena in the tropics, offers an opportunity to monitor and map these hazards using PSI at the regional scale. Thus, the Western Ghats of India, experiencing a tropical climate and in a topographically complex region of the world, provides an ideal study site to test the efficacy of landslide detection with PSI. The biggest challenge in using the PSI technique in tropical regions is the additional noise in data due to vegetation. In this study, we filtered these noises by utilizing the 95-percentile of the highest coherence data, which also reduced the redundancy of the PSI points. The study examined 12 landslides that occurred within one of the three temporal categories grouped as Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3, categorized in relation to PSI monitoring periods, which was also further classified into east- and west-facing landslides. The Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data is in descending mode, and, therefore, the east-facing landslides are characterized by positive deformation velocity values, whereas the west-facing landslides have negative deformation values. Further, the landslide-prone areas, delineated using the conventional factor of safety (FS), were refined and mapped using PSI velocity values. The combination of PSI with the conventional FS approach helped to identify exclusive zones prone to landslides. The main aim of such an attempt is to identify critical areas in the unstable category in the map prepared using FS and prioritizing the mitigation measures, and to develop a road map for any developmental activities. The approach also helps to increase confidence in the susceptibility mapping and reduce false alarms.