EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Monitoring of a landslide through the use of UAV survey

Simone Pillon1, Davide Martinucci1, Annelore Bezzi1, Giulia Casagrande1, Giorgio Fontolan1, Fiorella Bieker2, and Antonio Bratus2
Simone Pillon et al.
  • 1Dipartimento di Matematica e Geoscienze, Università degli Studi di Trieste, Trieste, Italy (
  • 2Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trieste, Italy

The monitoring of landslides using UAVs is particularly convenient as these are dangerous areas that present access difficulties. This study aims to integrate monitoring carried out via traditional techniques (GNSS and total station surveys of benchmarks) with UAV photogrammetric survey, as the latter allows for a precise assessment of the volumes affected by movement. The Masarach landslide, located in Friuli Venezia Giulia (north east Italy), covers an area of approximately 200 ha. Two surveys were carried out two years apart in order to measure displacements of much greater magnitude than instrumental errors. In the first survey, restricted to the most active area, a six rotor UAV was used, with a maximum take-off mass of 4 kg, which carried a 20 Mpixel APS-C camera. 243 high resolution images were captured and 27 GCPs (Ground Control Point) were surveyed with a GNSS RTK reciever. In the second survey a DJI Phantom 4 Pro UAV was used, carrying a 20 Mpixel 1“ sensor camera. 978 high resolution images were captured and 40 GCPs (Ground Control Point) were surveyed with a GNSS RTK reciever. Data were analyzed using Agisoft Metashape Professional to produce an orthophoto and a DSM (Digital Surface Model) with a ground resolution of 0.02 m and 0.04 m respectively. The DSMs were compared in ArcGIS to calculate the moving masses and highlight the areas of greatest instability. It emerged that approximately 10,000 cubic meters of landslide material were transported to the Arzino stream below, with verified displacements on the control point ranging from meters to centimeters. This work made it possible to accurately define the most active portion of the landslide.

How to cite: Pillon, S., Martinucci, D., Bezzi, A., Casagrande, G., Fontolan, G., Bieker, F., and Bratus, A.: Monitoring of a landslide through the use of UAV survey, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-7696,, 2020

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Presentation version 1 – uploaded on 24 Apr 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-7696, Hanne Hendrickx, 14 May 2020

    Dear Simone, I was interested in which flightplanning software you used for your two surveys. In the first survey it seems that you applied a fix altitude per flighline, whereas in your 2e survey it seems that a more terrain following mode was adopted. Thank you!

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Simone Pillon, 14 May 2020

      Dear Hanne, in the first survey we used a UAV with a DJI Wookong flight controller. To plan the flight missions we used a Qgis plugin specifically made for us. In the second survey we used a commercial DJI Phantom 4 Pro, so we were able to use DJI Ground Control Pro IOS app to plan the flight missions. Anyway the single missions have constant altitude, but on the second survey we could use a LIDAR DTM to subdivide the survey area in smaller areas to fine tune the single missions and preserve the desired GSD. Then we uploaded these smaller areas to GCpro knowing which altitude to set.