4 May 2017
Community Slope SAFE
Community Slope SAFE is a landslide early warning system that has been under development for some years by Professor Neil Dixon and colleagues at Loughborough University. I have covered this work before – in essence it uses technology to listen to acoustic emissions generated when a landslide moves, and then uses electronics to process that information to provide a warning. Of course that very simple description hides a great deal of complexity – how to collect the signal and not background noise, and how to interpret that signal as indicating that the slope is on the move, for example. One aspect of this work has been the development of a low cost system designed to be used in vulnerable communities in less affluent countries, called Community Slope SAFE. The team have just installed their first system in Malaysia, working with an NGO FHI 360 and various other partners.
There is a youtube video online highlighting the strengths of this system, which shows great promise. As the spate of recent landslides in for example Kyrgyzstan shows, there is a real need to develop techniques that can protect communities when neither relocation nor mitigation are an option.
The project also has a detailed website that provides details of how it operates and of the potential applications of the system. This image, from the site, shows an installed Slope Alarms system:
The project has been submitted for an Enterprise Award at Loughborough University. The outcome will be decided by a public vote – you can vote on the right hand side of this page. In my view it would be terrific to see a landslide project win this award. Developing systems that effectively protect communities against landslides in poor countries is a holy grail of landslide work. This system shows real promise.