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Investigating the Effects of Cell Size in Statistical Landslide Susceptibility Modelling for Different Landslide Typologies: A Test in Central–Northern Sicily


Optimally sizing grid cells is a relevant research issue in landslide susceptibility evaluation. In fact, the size of the adopted mapping units influences several aspects spanning from statistical (the number of positive/negative cases and prevalence and resolution/precision trade-off) and purely geomorphological (the representativeness of the mapping units and the diagnostic areas) to cartographic (the suitability of the obtained prediction images for the final users) topics. In this paper, the results of landslide susceptibility modelling in a 343 km2 catchment for three different types of landslides (rotational/translational slides, slope flows and local flows) using different pixel-size mapping units (5, 8, 10, 16 and 32 m) are compared and discussed. The obtained results show that the higher-resolution model (5 m) did not produce the best performance for any of the landslide typologies. The model with 8 m sized pixels displayed the optimal threshold size for slides and slope flows. In contrast, for local flows, an increasing trend of model prediction accuracy was reached with 32 m pixels, which was a higher value than that presented using 8 m pixels. The variable importance analysis demonstrated that the better performance of the 8 m cells was due to their effectiveness in capturing morphological conditions which favour slope instability (profile curvature and middle and high ridges).