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2 Information systems and applications with surface information

Chapter 2.2 introduces 6 examples that rely only on surface data such as topography,
surface geology, and vegetation. They may not be considered as established geotechnical
information systems today, but could be integrated into the systems together with subsurface
information. The examples presented here deal with the use of surface information rather than
building and managing data base or improving visualization technique to show inside the
The first 4 examples are about slope stability in Malaysia and Japan. They attempt to use
GIS for slope stability prediction, to map landslide hazard zones, to assess slope failure risks,
and to alarm slope disaster through mobile phones. The next example is about prediction of
liquefaction to occur during earthquakes based on surface information, and the last example
discusses slope stability during earthquakes.

2.2.1 Slope stability analysis using GIS technique

Ahmad F, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Hamir R, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Mohd S, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Yahaya S, Universiti Sains Malaysia

(1) Introduction
The recent research was done to investigate the stability of soil where areas of concern
was targeted to sloping area or areas which were identified as prone to failure such as
landslides or erosions . Nevertheless, activities such as land clearing, reclamation and
rehabilitation too should be carried out only after a thorough study on impacts of soil erosion
has been performed. These works should be followed by proper planning and management of
land utilization which to be adopted at the very early stage of any proposal of land usage. The
phenomenon of the failure in Malaysia has been interesting to study and these failures are to
be considered to be national disaster which can claimed lives and properties within or
surrounding area
This concept paper will present a model, which is a combination between geotechnical
and GIS (Geographical Information System). The discussion reviews the slope stability for
Gunung Tempurung area as a case study, where GIS was adopted and infinite slope method
was used to simulate the slope characteristics. The use of vegetation or roots factor was
considered in this study.
(2) Methodology
GIS is not new but using the information from the mapping techniques and
interpretation of the stability from the topographical map, soil data and contouring are useful
in this study (Chowdry,1982, Coppin and Richards, 1990, and Ruslan Rainis dan Noresah
Mohd Shariff, 1998). A site has been identified for the study. It is Gunung Tempurung area. It
covers 840 ha and is about 35km south of Ipoh. It is located at Gopeng in State of Perak and
highest peak of 611m from sea level was measured from the study, Figures 1, 2 and 3.

From the topographical map we can actually identify:

Area coordinate
Environment status
Contours for the surface area
Facilities or land usage

As for soil data, reference was done through soil reports where information was then
extracted to model the area. The following information taken is:

Soil strength
Soil profile
Soil characteristic
Ground water level

From the above references of information, analysis was done on the slope stability of
Gunung Tempurung by using a software named ERDAS IMAGINE. This software was used
as a tool to model the area for spatial data processing. The analysis involves scanning,
digitizing, modeling and result interpretation.

Figure 1 Topographical Map of Gunung Tempurung

(3) Modeling
By using Spatial Modeler, a slope stability analysis was done and run through and every
pixels where calculation from these images can produce a mapping of slope stability factors.
By using infinite slope method, failure plane that is the interface between the rooted soil and
bedrock were considered. Other assumption such as shallow soil layer and representation of
single slice for each area were then calculated through the spatial modeler. From the slope
stability analysis, two condition were taken into consideration besides all other aspects such

as soil parameters and contours, they were vegetation without land cover and with land
cover.(Figure 4)

Figure 2 3D View of Gunung Tempurung

Figure 3 Surface Profile from DEM for

Gunung Tempurung

Figure 4 Modeling for Gunung Temperung- Model Maker

(4) Analysis and results

From the modeling processes and all the factors considered, the results could be seen as
one map that will show the different categories of factor of safety derived from the analysis
done through using infinite slope analysis and GIS principles. The results for each categories
are shown in Figures 5 and 6.


Unvege, sat

Vege, sat

Unvege, unsat

Vege, unsat


MIN dsat

Unvege, sat

Vege, sat

Unvege, unsat

Vege, unsat

FS 1.0
1.0 < FS 1.2
1.2 < FS 1.5
FS > 1.5
Figure 5 Mapping of Stability Factors for Different Soil Condition















60.94 64.75

59.08 63.97

Tanpa Turapan, Tak Tepu

Turapan, Tak Tepu


Tanpa Turapan, Tepu

Turapan, Tepu

Soil Condition

Figure 6 Factors Of Safety Affecting The Area Versus Soil Condition

(5) Conclusion
From the studies, it shows that GIS can be used to determine the slope stability, very
convenient and easy to understand where prediction of failure can be seen on a single map.
This will make the studies much more accurate if the information of soil data and vegetation
are of true value or interpreted correctly through test and measurement being done on site.

Chowdry, R.N.,(1982), Slopes, Geology & Materials, Slope Analysis, 2nd edition, Elsevier
Science Publishing Company. pp1-27
Coppin, N.J. and Richards, I.G ..(1990), Slope Stabilisation, Use of Vegetation in Civil
Engineering, 1st edition, CIRIA, pp 165-199
Ruslan Rainis dan Noresah Mohd Shariff,(1998), Sistem Maklumat Geografi (in Malay),
1st edition, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur

2.2.2 Landslide hazard zonation using GIS

Fauziah Ahmad, University Sains Malaysia
Norliana Sulaiman, University Sains Malaysia
Laili Nordin, Malaysian Remote Sensing Centre
Jasmi Ab Talib, Malaysian Remote Sensing Centre

(1) Introduction
Landslides are one of the major hazards that cause losses in lives and property. The
termed landslide is defined as outward and downward movement of mass, consisting of rock
and soils due to natural or manmade. High intensity rainfall triggered many landslides in the
Paya Terubong valley. As long as landslides occur faraway from populated region, this
phenomenon treated as just a natural process disturbing the environment, but when occurs in
populated regions it will become a serious matter to investigate. Many landslides occur due to
manmade such as development of the area, deforestation and plantation. These disturbing
lands will simply absorb the rainwater and cause instability slope.
Types of landslides
Wide variety types of movement (failure) have been observed, it is simple to classify them
into three classes;
1. Slides: Rotational slipes, Translational slide
2. Falls: Rock Slides, Rock fall
3. Flow: Mudflows, Soil Creep
Causes of landslides
1. Nature related causes
Action of earthquake on slope is very complex; it involves an increase in shear stress
and decrease in shear strength. Rainfall also contributes to increase in pore water
pressure, which increases a shear stress.
2. Human related causes
Removing the lateral support such as cut for roads and canals, also removing trees and
vegetation, which all of this activities
(2) Objectives
1. To create database in GIS environment.
2. To produce landslide hazard map in various zonation level.
3. To visualize landslide hazard zone areas in 3D view.
(3) Study area
Study area is located in Paya Terubong valley, which is a hilly terrain in the North
East part of the Penang Island. The Paya Terubong valley surrounded by Bukit Penara and
Bukit Relau, which the high of the hill is around 500m.

(4) Methodology
1. Landslide hazard zonation mapping
Contour map was prepared from the topographic map scale 1: 50,000. The digitized
contour maps are given as the input into GIS-ArcView 3D analyst. In ArcView 3D
analyst, the 3D visualization of the study area is created. In this study, three thematic
layers (geology, landuse, and slope) were prepared. The landslide model was produced
and then, the ranks are assigned to each feature in a map layer according to the
frequency of occurrence of landslide. High the number of landslide occurs higher the
rank. These three thematic maps were overlaid and the different landslide hazard zone
was prepared.
2. Data base generation
The three different thematic maps generated are
Geology map
Landuse map
Slope map

Geology map
In the Paya Terubung Valley, the area consists of granite and alluvium only.
90% of granite and 10% alluvium in the form of clay, sand and silt
covering the study area. Digital geology map has been prepared from the
Geological and Mineral Department data.


Landuse map
Any man activities and various use which carried on land is defined as
landuse, whereas the land cover is refer to natural vegetation, water bodies,
rock, soil artificial cover and other resulted due to land transformation. In
this study, digital landuse map has been prepared from the Town Plan
Department, Penang data.


Slope map
One of the important factors in landslide study is a slope map. If the slope
is higher then they are usually more susceptible to slide. Contour maps
(Figure 1) have been used for the preparation of slope map. The tin model
(Figure 2) for the study area is prepared from the contour map by using the
ArcView 3D analyst. The tin model is converted to raster to produce digital
elevation model (DEM). From the DEM the slope map is created.

3. Analysis
After the entire model has been developed in GIS environment, the method on
assigning the ranks has been described below.

Alluvium Highly erodable
Granite Poorly erodable

(rank 4)
(rank 2)

1: 50000

Figure 2 Tin model

Figure 1 Contour map

Landuse has got direct or indirect effect in triggering the landslides.
Various types of landuse cover the study area and suitable ranks are
assigned. (Figure 3)
rank 2 Transportation
rank 3
Forest/Shrubs/Swamp rank 2 Cemetery
rank 4
rank 2 Mine
rank 4
Government Institution rank 2 Business
rank 2
rank3 Bare land/Hill
rank 4
Public Facilities
rank 2 Plants
rank 3
rank 3 Mosque/Church/Temple rank 2
rank 2 Public utilities
rank 2

Figure 3 Land use map

Figure 4 Geology map


In the study area, slope varies from 0 to greater than 600. The entire
contour slope map was divided into five categories as follows:
very steeply sloping
(rank 5)
36 54 - steeply sloping
(rank 4)
250 350 - moderately sloping
(rank 3)
12 24 gentle sloping
(rank 2)
- very gentle sloping
(rank 1)

Figure 5 Slope map

(5) Result
By using raster calculator, all the maps were overlaid on one another and the landslide
hazard map was prepared by integrating the effect of various triggering factors. The map
divides the study area into five zones of landslide hazard such as very high, high, moderate,
low, very low. Thus, the landslide prone areas having 5 zones were obtained as shown in
Figure 6.

Figure 6 Landslide hazard zonation map

(6) Conclusion
GIS technique is being used widely in many engineering problems, which involves
spatial data management. Landslide hazard zonation is one of the important tasks in
disaster/hazard mitigation project. The analyses from GIS result give the planner and engineer
a better understanding and visualization of the problem. Thus, its help them for selecting
suitable location to implement development schemes in hilly terrain, as well as for adopting
appropriate mitigation measures in unstable hazard prone areas.
IKRAM, 2001,Overall Study On the Potentially Instability of Slope and Pavement Condition
in the Paya Terubung Valley, Kumpulan IKRAM Sdn. Bhd.
R. Whitlow, 1995, Basic Soil Mechanics, 3rd Edition

2.2.3 Risk assessment on slope failures in Penang Island using GIS and remote sensing
interfacing techniques
Fauziah Ahmad University Sains Malaysia
Mahadzer Mahmud, Kuala Lumpur InfrastructureUniversity College
Shabri Lebai Din, University Sains Malaysia
Sabarudin Mohd, University Sains Malaysia

(1) Introduction
During the last decade, the parameter of disasters due to slope failures became one of
the most remarkable phenomena been focused in Malaysia. The tragedies occurred
everywhere especially within the developed hilly and mountainous ranges throughout the
country those caused the damages, property loses or even there are some cases of involving
humans life (Jasmi, 2003). Nevertheless, Penang Island known as the most rapid
development zone in the north region of Malaysia Peninsular facing no exceptional on such
phenomena of which with the current pace of grows the problems expected to become on
increase in future.
This paper highlights an approach technique of interfacing geographic information
system (GIS) and remote sensing input within the outstanding conventional slope analysis in
order to promote some systematic indications upon the necessities of adapting scientific
measures toward alerting so as preventing the disaster due to slope failures. With the reason
of current GIS and remote sensing soft wares capabilities those able to equip the wider
scheme of land coverage including the areas those have no land access (Anbalagan, 1996), the
methods applied which are adopted from the previous studies are expected able to offer a
latest optional technique in failure analysis on slopes. (Anbalagan, 1996) and (Donati and
Turrini, 2002).

(2) Study Area

Penang Island recorded much landslide cases within the past decade (Jasmi, 2003).
Stated on land covers of 285 km2, lying on latitudes between north 50 15 50 30 and
longitudes east 1000 10 1000 20. The Island topographically at pace of rapid undulating
forms of hilly terrain and mountainous ranges in the middle, northern and southern part,
whereas the flat lands cover the west and east sides of the Island. Bukit Western, 830 meters
above mean sea level, situated at the middle north stated as the summit of the island. In
overall topography, the northern part of the island is higher than the southern part of where in
panoramic view from the east of the island, slopes declining gently to the south (Ong, 1993).
Rainfall recorded throughout the year and the highest rate indicates from September to
November. For the period from 1975 to 2000 the mean annual rainfall recorded a variation
from 338 mm in August to 352 mm in October (Jasmi, 2003).
Most of the rivers in the island are small, short and fast flowing. The drainage pattern
is dendritic, controlled to a large extent by lineaments which invariably coincide with joints,
veins and faults in the rock mass.
(3) Geological Coverage
The Penang Island is underlain by two main granite plutons, namely the North Penang
Pluton and the South Penang Pluton (Ong, 1993). The North Penang Pluton comprise of the
biotite granite with predominant orthoclase and subordinate microcline occupies the hilly
regions in the northern part include the Pulau Jerjak on the southeast of the island. This pluton
has been divided into three major units known as Tanjung Bunga granite, Feringgi granite and
Muka Head microgranite. Whereas the South Penang Pluton is made up of biotite-muscorvite
granite with predominant microcline occupies the undulating southern part of the island. The
rock also divided into two units thus as, Batu Maung granite and Sungai Ara granite. At the
contact zone of the two plutons the rocks exhibit some alteration in the mineral compositions
and the prominent spot of fault fascies. The overall geology of the Penang Island are as per
illustrated in Figure 1.
Fault, joint and vein are conspicuously seen on the rock exposures. Several prominent
trends of these structures have been recorded at numerous directions. The veins are of
quartzitic and aplitic filling types and some are extrude as surface dykes. Most of the major
faults show no apparent displacement except the indication by the granite bodies which
undergone massive shearing at various degrees.
Most part of the granite bodies are generally covered either by the topsoil or the
residual weathered granite soil at the underneath. The thickness of the topsoil is normally less
than three feet, sandy silt dominant type with humus and plant roots. The residual soil which
is originally from the marginal weathered portion of the granite obviously contains boulders
overlies the rock at various thicknesses.
They are seven groups of marginal sedimentary soils mainly of alluvium type covering
the flat depositional basins on the western and eastern part of the island at various thicknesses.
The soils deposited within the Holocene to Pleistocene era thus of less than three million
years of ages. Even the soils are soft and loose in nature, but as the depositions are within the
flat area, the aspect of sliding is commonly rare.

Figure 1: Geology of Penang Island

Muka Head Granite
Feringgi Granite
Tanjung Bunga Granite
Sungai Ara Granite
Batu Maung Granite
Fluvial soil
Major fault
Dyke and vein

(4) Vegetation and land use Coverage

The status of vegetation and land use coverage in the Penang Island are varies depend
on the topographic feature of such places. The areas within the rugged hilly zones in the
northern and central part of the island are still under government reserved primary tropical
rain forest, except on several places those having good water catchments, the reservoirs and
dam have been built across stream for water consumption to entire population of the island.
The areas within the hilly zones up to 360 metres height are mostly cultivated with
rubber, orchards, cloves, nutmeg and other fruit trees. In the flat and swampy area on the west
and southern coast of the island are still maintained as the agricultural sites and the main
cultivation are padi and coconut.
The multi-racial populations mostly concentrate on the low-flat areas of the island.
The eastern, southeast, west and northern part become the highest density of population in the
island. The areas within the rugged terrain zones in the north and centre, southern, middlewest and north-western indicate sparsely populated due to the topographic condition.
(5) Study concept
The main objective of the study is to asses the risk of each slope on their susceptibility
to fail and the hazard probabilities that might cause the danger, damages or even up to the
extend of fatality as the failure occurs. The parameters focused in the assessment involve:


Categorize the slopes that prone to fail based on contour drape processes.
Evaluates hazard possibility based on parameters of soils, geology, land use and
rainfall those digitized to GIS thematic data.
Assessment of the hazard risk based on the adaptation of risk models.

The risk susceptibility is mainly related to the aspects of the following:

Danger- refers to an existing natural phenomenon such as creep, rock fall or debris slide
and these characterizations do not include any forecasting of events (Anbalagan, 1996).
Hazard- refers to probability of occurrence of a danger subject to the outstanding condition
of a slope when it shows no more ability to sustain the stability due to the reduction of
shearing resistance caused by the factors moisture and density increments.
Risk (R) - refers to the nature of damages likely to effect to adjacent properties or human
dwellings if the failure occurs. The damages may range from minor losses up to unexpected
serious hazard, what so called damage potential (DP). Upon which, risk is proportional to
the function of hazard probability (HP) and the damage potential, R = f (HP,DP).
(Anbalagan, 1996).
Considering all the above, the risk assessment is undertaken through evaluating the
both aspects of hazard probability (HP) and the damage potential (DP) and the overall study
approaches are as per illustrated in Figure 2.
(6) Methodology
The raw data of contours, geology, soil, land use, vegetation, rainfalls, roads and rivers
been converted into respective series of digital thematic layers at scale of 1:25000 for the
overlapping processes in the landslide hazard possibility analysis. The data were
georeferenced in the universal transverse mercator (UTM) geographic reference system and
ERDAS 8.3.1, the outstanding GIS software was used in preparing and processing all the data.
An overall slope facet map of the Penang Island was produced through draping techniques on
the contours layer thus prepared at the interval of 50 meters. The facet map interpolates parts
of hill slope in groups, which each group indicate more or less similar slope characteristic
includes the direction and inclination. Boreholes and laboratories analytical data gave the
input of in-situ geotechnical characteristic of the soil.
(6.1) Landslide hazard zonation map
The reclassification process supported with slope stability modelling was applied on the data
available for the purpose of obtaining the divisions of land surface zones in numerical rating
scheme based on landslide hazard evaluation factors. The zones indicate the critical degrees
of slope stability that tentatively signify the causative factor on the potential failure of the
respective slope in numerous part of Penang Island, what so called the landslide hazard
zonation map (LHZ). With the map, other than identifying and delineating the hazard prone
areas, it can be used for further assessment on the hazard risk of the slopes to surrounding,
(Anbalagan, 1996).




Contour map
Geological map
Slope data
Land use data
Rain data

Map digitization,
& layering

Soil data / analysis

Field survey / observation

Slope facet map

Final factorial thematic maps

Reclassifications & modelling



Hazard probabilities & modelling

Landslide damage
Potential for
Human dwellings

Risk assessment matrix

Landslide damage
Potential for
Land and properties

Risk assessment for

Human dwellings


Risk assessment for

Land and properties


Figure 2: General procedures of the risk assessment and the parameters of evaluation involve.

(6.2) Hazard risk assessment

Hazard risk assessment represents the denotation and general estimation on the extent
of damage likely to result if the landslide occurs, (Anbalagan, 1992). The damage may occur
on same slope facet where the hazard exists or it may disperse into adjoining facets. The
damage can be classified into two categories:

Loss of properties or other human dwellings

Injuries or loss of life when the landslide occurs at sudden or within a short time.

The two categories of damages have entirely different in consequences and evaluated
differently in the risk assessment. The category number (ii) on the above has more relevance
in cases of high hazard (HH) and very high hazard (VHH) slope facets and other contribution
factors compared to the less extent of hazard probability for the category number (i).

(6.3) Risk assessment matrix (RAM)

The risk assessment matrix is the rate of damage potentials subject to varying
parameters of impacts that going to happen on each losses category of the above when the
landslide occurs. On the assessment process, each theme of the digitized data layer will carry
its own parameter of risk assessment matrix and by the raster interpolation processes a risk
assessment map can be produced.
(7) Current results and conclusion
Digitizing works to produce the thematic layers of each parameter involve in the slope
failure analysis are very tedious job. Currently the slope facet map, grid map, aspect map and
drape image map for the whole Penang Island has been produced (Figure3, Figure 4, Figure5
and Figure 6 respectively). The factorial map involving the parameters of geology, soil, land
use, vegetation, rainfalls, roads and rivers are still on process.
The method of interfacing GIS techniques in the analysis is expected able to improve
the procedure on the landslide risk assessment which can be used as the basic data to assist in
the slope management and land use planning purposes.

Figure 3: Slope facet map

Figure 4:
Slope grid map

Figure 5:
Slope aspect map

Figure 6 :
Drape image map

Anbalagan, R., 1992. Landslide hazard evaluation and zonation mapping in mountainous
terrain. Engineering Geology 32, pp. 269 277.
Anbalagan, R. and Singh, B., 1996. Landslide hazard and risk assessment mapping of
mountainous terrains a case study from Kumaun Himalaya, India. Engineering
Geology 43, pp. 237 246.
Donati, L. and Turrini, M.C., 2002. An objective method to rank the importance of the factors
predisposing to landslide with the GIS methodology: application to an area of the
Apennines (Valnerina; Perugia, Italy). Engineering Geology 63, pp. 277 289.
Fauziah, A. et al., 2002. GIS application on slope stability. Proceeding of the 2nd IKRAM
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and remote sensing data at Penang, Malaysia. Geological Society of Malaysia 46, pp.
173 179.
Mahadzer, M. and Mohd, F. B., 2002. Application of aerial photos, GIS and GPS in slope
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Ong, W.S., 1993. The geology and engineering geology of Pulau Pinang. Geological Survey
of Malaysia, Map Report 7.
Turrini, M.C. and Visintainer, P., 1998. Proposal of a method to define areas of landslide
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