Landslide Risk Management


Landslides are a fact of life in the Illawarra, a coastal region bordered on its western side by the Illawarra Escarpment.

Landslides have killed five people, destroyed at least 30 houses and damaged 51 more.

Senior research fellow Dr Phil Flentje has been studying landslides since the early 1990s, and now partners with the Roads and Maritime Service, Wollongong City Council and Sydney Trains to monitor landslide locations in close to real time.

The project uses the Telstra cellular network, but is exploring the possibility of  the LoRaWAN Network offered by the Digital Living Lab. The first landslide sensor using the new network is going into the field shortly, and offers the possibility of massive savings.

The program has now expanded to 22 remote landslide monitoring field stations, out of a possible 2000 landslide sites in the Sydney Basin.

Networked sensors connect sites to data bases and record rainfall, pore water pressures and landslide movement, which give the ability to determine the thresholds for possible landslides.

The sensors are capable of sending live smart messages from some sites when specific thresholds are reached. So, for example, traffic can be stopped if a displacement of more than 35mm is detected at a site.

The data collected since 2003 allows a very accurate assessment of landslide frequency and study on the triggering mechanisms of landslide movement..


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