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Understanding the Spatial and Temporal Occurrence of Landslides Using Satellite and Airborne Technologies: Papua New Guinea

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Data Release Report by Joanne Robbins

Landslides pose a significant threat to life and infrastructure in Papua New Guinea (PNG), with numerous movements being recorded annually. Such events are typically instigated by the combined effects of different geomorphological control factors, such as slope or geology, and the influence of a triggering event (i.e. an earthquake or heavy rainfall). Rugged topography and high seismicity combine in PNG, to make the region highly susceptible to large-volume, earthquake-induced landslides, while the climate encourages widespread rainfall-induced landslides. Of the two triggering mechanisms, understanding rainfall-induced landslide occurrence offers the best scope for early warning/forecasting system development, as meteorological models and data availability improve.

This paper presents an overview of research conducted to understand regionally-based, rainfall-induced landslide occurrence in PNG. Given the regional focus of this research and the need to develop a cost effective and reproducible methodology, pre-existing or freely available satellite and airborne data have been used. The aim of this research was to develop models capable of identifying rainfall events with the potential to trigger landslides, as well as models that distinguish areas of heightened landslide susceptibility from those with low/no landslide susceptibility. Together, these modelling approaches can be used to generate a broad-scale early warning/forecasting system, which could help to reduce the losses associated with landslides across PNG.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 09:55  

Newsflash

As a part of the Kiribati Government’s commitment to achieving sustainable land management on Kiritimati Atoll, (Christmas Island), staff of the Environmental Division recently undertook training conducted by the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), in Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

“We are so fortunate to get this training,” said Ms Ratita Bebe, of the Kiritimati Conservation Department. “The Kiribati Government recognizes the need to map land degradation sites and protected conservation areas so that we can identify ways to achieve sustainable land use practices.”

Ms Bebe explained that Global Positioning Systems (GPS) use information gathered from satellites circling the earth to locate the correct co-ordinates of any location, while Geographic Information Systems (GIS) combine maps and data to manage, store, analyze and display all forms of geographical information.