Community Slope SAFE

Landslide Early Warning System

A waveguide installed through a slope with a sensor that communicates warnings to the community

  • Rainfall induced landslides have resulted in 30,000+ fatalities globally in the last 10 years
  • Most of these fatalities occurred in Asia
  • Early warning of these slope failures could have significantly reduced the humanitarian and economic losses
  • The United Nations has called for development of early warning systems
  • Existing instrumentation and monitoring techniques are prohibitively expensive
  • There is an urgent need for a low-cost landslide early warning system operated by communities


What Slope SAFE can do:
Operation of the Slope SAFE monitoring system

  • It monitors slope displacement rates continuously
  • It can detect acceleration of a slope (i.e. failure)
  • It is able to inform the community that a slope failure is likely to occur
  • The sensor is easy to install and is solar powered
  • The sensor is located at ground level for ease of maintenance and reuse
  • The system can be operated by the community
  • Sensor costs are significantly lower than currently available systems


Comparison of Slope SAFE system (red) with an expensive inclinometer alternative (green): Both are able to detect increasing rates of displacementHow it works:

  • When soil deforms it generates ‘noise’
  • The amount of ‘noise’ is proportional to the rate of slope movement (increasing noise means the slope displacements are accelerating)
  • A steel tube is driven into the slope to transmit ‘noise’ from moving soil to the sensor attached to the tube at the surface and enclosed in a cover
  • High frequency ‘noise’ called Acoustic Emission (AE) is measured and analysed and this removes background interference and stops false alarms
  • AE is monitored continuously and if a pre-set threshold is exceeded a warning is transmitted to a base station located in the community
  • Automatic health checks provide confidence the system is working
  • The base station is used to trigger a siren and a strobe light to warn the community who can then put a pre-determined response plan into action


Permanent link to this article: