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Landslide warnings from satellites may save lives

remely slow movements usually occur for several weeks or months before a sudden collapse."

Trial services are being provided across Italy's Arno river basin as well as a section of the Campania region. In Switzerland the service covers the eastern Valais and Berne cantons.

"Our interest is to have a tool evaluate landslides and mass displacements all across the Swiss Alps," explains Hugo Raetzo of FOWG. "About 8% of Swiss territory is vulnerable to landslides, making up thousands of square kilometres. The annual landslide frequency varies with the weather heavy rainfall can potentially re-accelerate existing landslides."

Three different service products are available: a large-scale Landslide Motion Survey identifying areas affected by landslides across an entire river basin, a reduced-scale Landslide Displacement Monitoring measuring ground deformation over particular sites of interest, and Landslide Susceptibility Mapping which merges the previous data products with thematic maps of land use, slope, geomorphology and other relevant parameters to provide geological hazard maps.

More than a decade's worth of ERS data archives are being exploited to derive SLAM products. These products disclose new and essential information to the institutions charged with landslide risk and hazard management. Benefits from the service include the identification and characterisation of displacements both known and previously unknown and the verification of remedial interventions performed in the past to stabilise particular landslides.

The SLAM service is being formally implemented in February and will run until the end of this year. It is entirely funded as part of ESA's Data User Programme and is carried out by an international consortium led by Planetek Italia with five other partners: Tele-Rilevamento Europa, Gamma Remote Sensing, Spacebel, Geotest and Florence University.


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Contact: Marc Paganini
marc.paganini@esa.int
39-6-941-80-563
European Space Agency
4-Feb-2004


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