Alberto Carrara, CNR-IEIIT, Bologna, Italy

Personal | Current Research | National and International Activities | Teaching Activity | Publications | Conference


carrara.jpg (carrara.jpg)Laurea in Geological Sciences from the University of Bologna.

Ph.D. in Structural Geology from the University of Ottawa.

Presently, Senior Research Scientist of the National Research Council at IEIIT-Bologna.


Current Research

GIS-based techniques and multivariate statistical methods in assessing and predicting natural hazards (mainly landsliding). Methods for generating and validating DTMs derived from contour lines, digital photogrammetric techniques and other technologies. Methods for the automated generation of channels and divides and generations of physically-based terrain-units.¨ Hydro-geological databases and hazard assessment guidelines through WWW (development of WWW-GIS gateways for distributed access to hazard maps).


National and International Activities

Member of National Commissions on Soil Conservation Regulations and Laws (Rome, 1979) and on Landslide Classification and Terminology (Rome, 1978-1982). Member of the Soil Conservation Project of the Italian National Research Council (Rome, 1976-1982). Chairman of the National Commission on Landslide Hazard Mapping (Rome, 1985-1986). Member of the Italian National Group for the Prevention from Hydro-geological Disasters (1985-2004). Member of the Executive Committee of GISIG, Genova (from 1998). Consultant of Local Administrations (Regione Emilia-Romagna, Lombardia, Toscana, Provincia di Trento, etc.) for carrying out project aimed at both assessing landslide hazard, and producing digital cartography (1980-2005).


Teaching Activity

Part-time Professor (Universities of Palermo, Perugia, Milano, Bologna and Milano-Bicocca) teaching courses on: statistical methods in geology, fundamentals of Geographical Information Systems, databases of spatial data, and applications of GIS technology in assessing natural hazards.



Author/co-author of 100 scientific papers, short articles and technical reports and editor/co-editor of four scientific books.
  • Carrara A., 1983. Multivariate models for landslide hazard evaluation. Mathematical Geol., v. 15, n. 3, p. 403-426.
  • Carrara A., Cardinali M., Detti R., Guzzetti G., Pasqui V. & Reichenbach P., 1991. GIS techniques and statistical models in evaluating landslide hazard. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, v. 16, p. 427-445.
  • Carrara A., Cardinali M., Guzzetti F., 1992. Uncertainty in assessing landslide hazard and risk. ITC Jour., 1992-2, p. 172-183.
  • Carrara A. , Cardinali M., Guzzetti F. Reichenback P., 1995. GIS technology in mapping landside hazard. In Carrara A & Guzzetti F. (eds.), Geographical Information Systems in Assessing. Natural Hazards, p. 135-176, Kluwer Acad. Publ., Dordrecht.
  • Carrara A., Bitelli G. e Carla' R. 1997. Comparison of techniques for generating digital terrain models from contour lines. Int. Jour. of Geographical Information Science v. 11, p. 451-473.
  • Carrara A., Crosta G. & Frattini P., 2003. Geomorphological and historical data in assessing landslide hazard. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, v. 28, p. 1125-1142.



GIS-based statistical models for assessing landslide occurrence : a review of potentials and pitfalls

It is long that investigators worldwide have attempted to forecast landslide occurrence by applying a variety of methods, namely: empirical, heuristic, statistical, "physically-based" and others. Owing to the global recession, today industrialised societies are not eager to invest a great deal of money to reduce natural risks by means of structural measures. Hence, the new issue is the development of predictive tools and warning systems aimed at both forecasting hazard/risk and minimising the loss of lives without investing in long-term projects of ground stabilization. Furthermore, the diffusion of GIS technology has greatly facilitated the application of quantitative techniques in earth sciences investigations. All of this has renewed the interest on landslide hazard assessment and mapping. Despite the technological advancements, many published landslide hazard maps still appear founded on ill-reliable input data and questionable or inconsistent techniques for model building. Young investigators should be aware of both the complexity and intrinsic limitations of all landslide hazards models. Many landslides are the result of the interplay of complex or unknown factors. Several relevant factors cannot be cost-effectively acquired over wide regions. It is very difficult to incorporate the time dimension in a hazard model. The most sophisticated data manipulation techniques will never compensate the adverse effects related to the use of incomplete or unreliable data. The development of a robust model requires both relevant (and costly) input data (geo-environmental factors, inventory maps, etc.) and a skillful design for data analysis and model development. Two decades of investigations on the application of GIS-based, multivariate statistical (black-box) models of landslide occurrence over pilot and very large areas in the Apennines and the Italian Alps have proved that this appraisal, when correctly implemented, constitutes a powerful tool for landslide hazard assessment and mitigation. During the seminar, the results obtained from the recent implementation of models for predicting debris-flows, deep-seated landslides, alluvial fans and rockfalls in Val di Fassa (Trento, Italy) will be illustrated and critically evaluated. In particular, the discussion will focus on the issue of producing a multi-process hard map that would be a really feasible tool aiding local administrators in the phase of land-use planning and hazard mitigation.


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