Improving GIS-based landslide susceptibility assessments with multi-temporal remote sensing and machine learning

Jhe Syuan Lai, Fuan Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This study developed a systematic approach with machine learning (ML) to apply the satellite remote sensing images, geographic information system (GIS) datasets, and spatial analysis for multi-temporal and event-based landslide susceptibility assessments at a regional scale. Random forests (RF) algorithm, one of the ML-based methods, was selected to construct the landslide susceptibility models. Different ratios of landslide and non-landslide samples were considered in the experiments. This study also employed a cost-sensitive analysis to adjust the decision boundary of the developed RF models with unbalanced sample ratios to improve the prediction results. Two strategies were investigated for model verification, namely space-and time-robustness. The space-robustness verification was designed for separating samples into training and examining data based on a single event or the same dataset. The time-robustness verification was designed for predicting subsequent landslide events by constructing a landslide susceptibility model based on a specific event or period. A total of 14 GIS-based landslide-related factors were used and derived from the spatial analyses. The developed landslide susceptibility models were tested in a watershed region in northern Taiwan with a landslide inventory of changes detected through multi-temporal satellite images and verified through field investigation. To further examine the developed models, the landslide susceptibility distributions of true occurrence samples and the generated landslide susceptibility maps were compared. The experiments demonstrated that the proposed method can provide more reasonable results, and the accuracies were found to be higher than 93% and 75% in most cases for space-and time-robustness verifications, respectively. In addition, the mapping results revealed that the multi-temporal models did not seem to be affected by the sample ratios included in the analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3717
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • GIS
  • Landslide susceptibility
  • Machine learning
  • Remote sensing
  • Spatial analysis


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