A GIS based spatially-explicit sensitivity and uncertainty analysis approach for multi-criteria decision analysis

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GIS multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) techniques are increasingly used in landslide susceptibility mapping for the prediction of future hazards, land use planning, as well as for hazard preparedness. However, the uncertainties associated with MCDA techniques are inevitable and model outcomes are open to multiple types of uncertainty. In this paper, we present a systematic approach to uncertainty and sensitivity analysis. We access the uncertainty of landslide susceptibility maps produced with GIS-MCDA techniques. A new spatially-explicit approach and Dempster-Shafer Theory (DST) are employed to assess the uncertainties associated with two MCDA techniques, namely Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) and Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) implemented in GIS. The methodology is composed of three different phases. First, weights are computed to express the relative importance of factors (criteria) for landslide susceptibility. Next, the uncertainty and sensitivity of landslide susceptibility is analyzed as a function of weights using Monte Carlo Simulation and Global Sensitivity Analysis. Finally, the results are validated using a landslide inventory database and by applying DST. The comparisons of the obtained landslide susceptibility maps of both MCDA techniques with known landslides show that the AHP outperforms OWA. However, the OWA-generated landslide susceptibility map shows lower uncertainty than the AHP-generated map. The results demonstrate that further improvement in the accuracy of GIS-based MCDA can be achieved by employing an integrated uncertainty-sensitivity analysis approach, in which the uncertainty of landslide susceptibility model is decomposed and attributed to model's criteria weights. © 2014 The Authors.




Feizizadeh, B., Jankowski, P., & Blaschke, T. (2014). A GIS based spatially-explicit sensitivity and uncertainty analysis approach for multi-criteria decision analysis. Computers and Geosciences, 64, 81–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cageo.2013.11.009

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