Avalanche Hazard Mapping with Satellite Data and a Digital Elevation Model

  • Urs Gruber Remote Sensing Laboratories, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Harold Haefner Remote Sensing Laboratories, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Keywords: Avalanche tracks, Avalanches, Satellite imagery

Abstract

Today avalanche hazard mapping is a very time-consuming affair. To map large remote areas, a method based on satellite imagery and digital elevation model has been developed. For this purpose, two test-sites in the Swiss Apls were selected. To simulate the avalanche hazard, the existing Salm-Voellmy model was modified to the computer environment and extended to the characteristics of avalanches within forested terrain. The forests were classified with Landsat-TM data. So far, only a single forest-class was established. The separation of forest, shrub, and non-forested area along the timberline poses a problem. On the other hand, a classification of small openings and avalanche tracks within the forest could be achieved. A comparison with the existing avalanche cadastral map revealed that 85 per cent of the risk areas were correctly classified. On the other hand, the separation into the defined red and blue danger zones was not satisfactory. For the model's application to become operational, further improvements are needed. However, the general approach is very promising, and should lead to more reliable hazard maps for planning purposes, as well as to new and better insights into the mutual effects between snow and forest.

Author Biographies

Urs Gruber, Remote Sensing Laboratories, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Remote Sensing Laboratories, Department of Geography, University of Zurich.
Harold Haefner, Remote Sensing Laboratories, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Remote Sensing Laboratories,Department of Geography, University of Zurich.
Published
2013-01-01
How to Cite
GruberU., & HaefnerH. (2013). Avalanche Hazard Mapping with Satellite Data and a Digital Elevation Model. Defence Science Journal, 45(2), 131-140. https://doi.org/10.14429/dsj.45.4112
Section
Special Issue Papers