Geoscientific Model Development (Dec 2022)

Transfer learning for landslide susceptibility modeling using domain adaptation and case-based reasoning

  • Z. Wang,
  • J. Goetz,
  • A. Brenning

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 15
pp. 8765 – 8784


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Transferability of knowledge from well-investigated areas to a new study region is gaining importance in landslide hazard research. Considering the time-consuming compilation of landslide inventories as a prerequisite for landslide susceptibility mapping, model transferability can be key to making hazard-related information available to stakeholders in a timely manner. In this paper, we compare and combine two important transfer-learning strategies for landslide susceptibility modeling: case-based reasoning (CBR) and domain adaptation (DA). Care-based reasoning gathers knowledge from previous similar situations (source areas) and applies it to solve a new problem (target area). Domain adaptation, which is widely used in computer vision, selects data from a source area that has a similar distribution to the target area. We assess the performances of single- and multiple-source CBR, DA, and CBR–DA strategies to train and combine landslide susceptibility models using generalized additive models (GAMs) for 10 study areas with various resolutions (1, 10, and 25 m) located in Austria, Ecuador, and Italy. The performance evaluation shows that CBR and combined CBR–DA based on our proposed similarity criterion were able to achieve performances comparable to benchmark models trained in the target area itself. Particularly the CBR strategies yielded favorable results in both single- and multi-source strategies. Although DA tended to have overall lower performances than CBR, it had promising results in scenarios where the source–target similarity was low. We recommend that future transfer-learning research for landslide susceptibility modeling can build on the similarity criterion we used, as it successfully helped to transfer landslide susceptibility models by identifying suitable source regions for model training.