In this study, an expert knowledge-based model, a logistic regression model, and an artificial neural network model were compared for their accuracy and portability in landslide susceptibility mapping. Two study areas (the Kaixian and the Three Gorges areas in China) were selected for this comparison based on their well-known, high landslide hazard. To evaluate the performance of these models and to minimize the impact of the particularity of a study area on model performance, cross-applications of three models between the two study areas were conducted. When the Kaixian area was used as a model development area, prediction accuracy for the expert knowledge-based model, the logistic regression model, and the artificial neural network model were 71.5%, 81.0% and 100.0%, respectively. The high prediction accuracy of the two data-driven models were expected because the observed landslide occurrence used in training the models were also used to validate their respective performance, while the expert knowledge-based model did not use these observations for training. The perfect accuracy for the neural network model can also be attributed to its over-prediction of the susceptibility. When breaking the susceptibility into four classes: very low susceptibility (0–0.25), low susceptibility (0.25–0.5), high susceptibility (0.5–0.75), and very high susceptibility (0.75–1), the observed landslide density at the very high susceptibility level is 0.303/km2, 0.212/km2, and 0.195/km2 for the expert knowledge-based model, the logistic regression model, and the artificial neural network model, respectively. This suggests that the expert knowledge-based model was much better than the other two data-driven models at evaluating landslide occurrence in very high susceptibility areas. When the three models developed in the Kaixian area were applied in the Three Gorges area without any changes, their prediction accuracy dropped to 44.8% for the logistic regression model and 81.6% for the artificial neural network model, while the expert knowledge-based model maintained its initial accuracy level of 82.8%. The landslide density for the very high susceptibility areas in the Three Georges area was 0.275/km2, 0.082/km2, and 0.060/km2 for the expert knowledge-based model, the logistic model, and the artificial neural network model, respectively. These results indicate that the expert knowledge-based model is more effective at predicting areas with very high susceptibility. When the Three Gorges area was used as a model development area and the Kaixian area was used as the model application area, similar results were obtained. Results from the two experiments show that the performance of the logistic regression model and artificial neural network model is not as stable as the expert knowledge-based model when transferred to a new area. This suggests that the expert knowledge-based model is more suitable for landslide susceptibility mapping over large areas.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We express our great thanks to Karl Stahr, Editor of the journal of CATENA and anonymous reviewers. With their comments and suggestions, we were able to significantly improve the quality of our paper. This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 41431177 , 41601413 ), and the Natural Science Research Program of Jiangsu ( BK20150975 ), Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China ( 14KJA170001 ), and the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2015CB954102 ), and the PAPD program of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions ( 164320H116 ). The support received by A-Xing Zhu through the Vilas Associate Award, the Hammel Faculty Fellow Award, the Manasse Chair Professorship from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the “One-Thousand Talents” Program of China are greatly appreciated.
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.
- Artificial neural network
- Data-driven models
- Expert knowledge-based model
- Landslide susceptibility
- Logistic regression