Identifying and Mapping Landslides with LiDAR

We conduct landslide mapping using LiDAR within our surficial mapping projects. On our surficial maps, we may indicate individual landslides by symbology and landslide terrain which is included within broader slope debris polygons. 


A large landslide in the rugged uplands north of Edson is difficult to recognize on a SPOT (satellite for
observation of Earth) satellite image (left); however, in the LiDAR image (centre) landslide features
such as the head-scarp, side-scarps, grabens, cracks and flow-lobes are easily identified. The
landslide is included within the colluvium (brown) polygon in the reginal surficial map (right).


LiDAR is Useful for Landslide Mapping

Landslide mapping using LiDAR is useful because the slow creep or intermittent movement style of many landslides in the plains of Alberta can make even active or recently active landslides difficult to recognize. These landslides often remain covered in vegetation which obscures ground surface features that indicate the presence of landslides in air photos, satellite images, or even in the field. High-resolution LiDAR penetrates the vegetation to produce an accurate image of ground surface features, allowing us to identify even old, inactive landslides.