NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has partnered with organizations around the globe to create a database to determine where landslides are most likely to occur and when they may occur, and what might be in their path. The SLIP-DRIP program uses modern technology to determine where landslides have hit, what their patterns are, what factors surround them, and where they may happen next.
The Sudden Landslide Identification Product, or SLIP, uses satellite imagery and data regarding rainfall and soil conditions to determine where a landslide is likely to occur. This project is currently focusing on Nepal, where high amounts of rainfall in a short period of time combined with steep hillsides are major factors that combine to create a high amount of risk to local agricultural efforts. The project uses images from the Landsat 8 satellite as well as information on localized topography from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emissions and Reflection Radiometer.
The DRIP portion of the Goddard project comes in to play when measuring the amount of precipitation in a particular area that may be susceptible to landslides. DRIP, or Detecting Real-time Increased Precipitation, helps fill in the information gaps from the satellites when they are orbiting the Earth. The Global Precipitation Measurement helps the team measure the amount of rain and snowfall several times a day, helping them see where the most precipitation has fallen.
The Goddard research is open source and is currently being used in Nepal to help pinpoint landslides and their impact on the country. The images and information gathered using SLIP-DRIP could help coordinate relief efforts in the wake of a landslide, prepare certain areas for potential landslides, and help residents of Nepal and other countries develop new technologies to help deal with the threat of landslides in the future.
More: Automating the Detection of Landslides, NASA, July 6, 2016