EGU24-13686, updated on 09 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Integrated UAV and Field Data Analysis for High-Resolution DEM Enhancement, Rectification, and Debris Flow Modeling

Krishna Priya Vk1, Rajaneesh Ambujendran1, Nikhil Nedumpallile-Vasu2, Vanessa J Banks2, Christian Arnhardt2, and Sajinkumar Ks1,3
Krishna Priya Vk et al.
  • 1Department of Geology, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram 695581, Kerala, India
  • 2British Geological Survey, Environmental Science Centre, Nicker Hill, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, UK
  • 3Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA

To accurately assess landslide susceptibility and model debris flow paths, acquisition of high-resolution elevation data is essential. These data enable precise topographical analysis, considering factors like slope and curvature. But most of the time such high-resolution data will have inaccuracies due to vegetation, especially in tropical region. This study proposes a comprehensive approach that integrates field data and Structure from Motion (SfM) technology to rectify such DEM inaccuracies caused by dense vegetation. The goal is to enhance the accuracy of landslide simulations and volumetric analysis for effective post-disaster management. The Western Ghats, running parallel to India's western coast, has experienced a surge in rainfall-induced landslides, resulting in significant casualties in recent years. Notably, the Pettimudi village landslide in 2020 caused 70 deaths. The unique geomorphological features of the Western Ghats, such as concave curvature, colluvium deposits, and evidence of paleo landslides, contribute to the area's susceptibility. The study emphasizes the need for detailed assessment and mitigation strategies. The proposed method aims to improve the post-event high-resolution DEM accuracy by integrating field-collected elevation values and utilizing Agisoft Metashape software with the SfM algorithm. The rectification process involves combining elevation differences measured during a field study with photogrammetric elevation data. The field-collected elevation differences are crucial for rectifying these points, and enhancing the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) accuracy. The inaccessible source region is improved using a SfM-created DEM from drone footage, resulting in a more accurate post-event DEM. Correcting the 1 m DEM using an SfM-generated DEM proves challenging but significantly improves detail and accuracy, especially over the landslide source area. The impact of the rectification on accuracy is assessed by comparing volumes calculated from the initial DEM and the newly corrected DEM. The difference in volumes of debris depletion and accumulation, computed using initial and corrected DEMs, highlights variations, with depleted volumes being significantly larger due to the extensive depth increase over the landslide source region. These volumes are then utilized in Rapid Mass Movement Simulation (RAMMS) to validate the rectification process and enhance landslide impact predictions. Debris flow simulations in RAMMS, utilizing the rectified 1 m DEM, show specific outcomes at the landslide source region and toe of the landslide. The study emphasizes the importance of integrating SfM technology with field data to improve DEM accuracy, acknowledging the significance of additional field data for further refinement. The potential adoption of highly precise aerial imagery from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) surveys is suggested to further enhance the SfM DEM. Debris flow modeling with RAMMS serves as a vital step in validating the accuracy and reliability of the rectified elevation model.

Keywords: Landslides, Western Ghats, Pettimudi, Digital elevation model (DEM), Structure-from-Motion (SfM) technology, Rapid Mass Movement Simulation (RAMMS)

How to cite: Vk, K. P., Ambujendran, R., Nedumpallile-Vasu, N., J Banks, V., Arnhardt, C., and Ks, S.: Integrated UAV and Field Data Analysis for High-Resolution DEM Enhancement, Rectification, and Debris Flow Modeling, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-13686,, 2024.