Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Visualising topographic hazards

Severe storms brought on by climatic changes are creating an increase in such natural hazards as landslides, mudslides, rockslides and avalanches. Until now, the measures for predicting such events have been limited in that there were no official maps to distinguish dangerous areas from secure ones. However, a German SME has developed an innovative method of assessing natural hazards that visualise potential risk areas.
Visualising topographic hazards
The topographic hazard maps are produced through a software-based method called Structure Process Inclination Response System (SPIRS). The analysis pinpoints the areas of the earth's surface that have the lowest resistance to morphological decomposition caused by erosion and denudation. The procedure uses a digital contour line model in raster data format in order to detect unknown danger areas.

In addition to its precise prediction capabilities, this method also has the advantage of being able to perform reliably without any additional information. Thereby, input data coming from observations, field tests, satellite photos or drilling is no longer required, a feature that provides long-term efficiency. Furthermore it is capable of analysing entire areas automatically and as it is the case with preventative measures in general, the benefits far outweigh the costs later on.

Planners, engineers and architects alike may use the maps for structural planning and as safety devices for buildings and infrastructures already existing. Given their holistic and long-lasting method, these topographic hazard maps are bound to provide reliable protection and safety precautions for all involved.
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