In a 2018 special report, the IPCC reported that “there is high confidence that changes in heavy precipitation will affect landslides in some regions”. In Canada and the US alone, damages from landslides have been estimated at almost $4 B dollars per year, and some scientists have estimated that landslides occurrences could increase by 30 to 70% by mid to end of century. These bulk of these damages are inflicted upon linear infrastructure operators, such as highways, railways and pipelines.

Landslide risk assessments are expensive, time-intensive tasks that often rely on local expert judgment. Regional-scale studies are rare, and the results are typically delivered as reports written in domain-specific jargon along with static maps. Conversely, the hazard needs to be thoroughly understood so that risk can be accurately assessed, and protection or mitigation measures put in place. For this reason, we created GAIA Landslide.

Simply put, GAIA Landslide helps users identify assets that are at risk from landslides; it is an AI-assisted application that reasons with numerous complex datasets, enabling users to evaluate landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk over large areas. Our cognitive AI system mimics human-expert reasoning, and provides explainable assessments, making it easy for non-experts to understand the results.

Minerva has successfully produced landslide susceptibility maps for British Columbia, Canada and Veneto, Italy. The Veneto project won the prestigious “INSPIRE Helsinki 2019 Data Challenge” for the most innovative practical use of spatial data in the domains of sea, weather and cities. Applications for wildfires and floods are currently in development.

The Challenge

The Sea to Sky corridor north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is a mountainous area that has been glacially sculpted, forming deep valleys flanked by rocky mountains. Slopes along the valley walls are covered by thick forests, prone to soil slides, while the steep, unvegetated slopes at high elevation are typically associated with devastating rock avalanches and localized rockfall. The highly variable landscape means that susceptibility to different landslide types must be evaluated based on the specific geological and geomorphological attributes of each slope.

The Solution

Mimicking the traditional process that professional geologists use to evaluate slopes, landslide susceptibility maps displayed on the user interface represent a new means of interrogating natural hazard data. Our method is an effective screening tool to evaluate the relative susceptibility of slopes to various types of landslides.

The Challenge

INSPIRE is a legislated directive in the EU that guides member states on the standardization spatial data. The 2019 Helsinki Data Challenge called for innovative and valuable applications of INSPIRE-aligned geospatial data. The challenge was to showcase how INSPIRE provides a framework to conduct complex geospatial data processing in a scalable and interoperable format.

The Solution

GAIA landslide won first prize in the event. We deployed our cognitive AI solution and developed an interactive web-map application that assesses landslide susceptibility and hazard in the province of Veneto, Italy. We compared over 80,000 slopes and almost 10,000 creeks to three different expert-based landslide models, demonstrating how INSPIRE-aligned data can be leveraged for scalable AI applications.


Nathaniel Tougas, P. Eng.

“By using Minerva’s cognitive AI to identify relationships between various geomorphological parameters, we can essentially get an unbiased second opinion to augment our own geohazard assessment. The GAIA Landslide Map provides geological engineers with AI tools and insights that have never been available in our field, and this is truly exciting to me.”

Nathaniel Tougas
Nathaniel Tougas, P. Eng.

Lionel Jackson

“Minerva’s synergy of AI with the fruits of Earth science research is not limited to mineral exploration… its AI is powerfully applying geotechnical knowledge to natural hazards avoidance and risk management faster than is possible with humans alone. The results are transparent to stake-holders.”

Lionel Jackson
Lionel Jackson, P.Geo.
Adjunct Professor, Earth Sciences Department, Simon Fraser University

Massimiliano Alvioli

“Minerva Intelligence provides knowledge for engineering, services and applications based on advanced AI. Through a semantic approach, they explain complex physical models to scientists, practitioners and non-experts.”

Massimilano Alvioli
Massimilano Alvioli – Researcher, CNR-IRPI
Institute for Research in Hydro-Geological Hazards of the Italian National Research Council

Sarah Morgan

“The SLRD Emergency Program relies on quality hazard information to make informed decisions for public safety and Minerva Intelligence contributes to the field of innovative professionals.”

Sarah Morgan
Sarah Morgan, Emergency Program Manager
Squamish-Lillooet Regional District

Brent Ward, P. Geo.

“Minerva is bringing cutting-edge technology to natural hazard management.”

Brent Ward
Brent Ward, P.Geo.
Professor and Chair, Earth Sciences Department, Co-Director, Centre for Natural Hazards Research, Simon Fraser University

John J. Clague

“Minerva Intelligence is bringing the power of artificial intelligence to geology. Their AI approach can help bridge the gap between scientists and decision-makers in fostering disaster risk reduction and emergency management.”

John Clague
John J. Clague, PhD, FRSC, OC
Department of Earth Sciences - Simon Fraser University

Marco Giardino

”Minerva Intelligence leverages standards and interoperable data to foster disaster risk reduction… an absolute game-changer in emergency management!”

Marco Giardino
Marco Giardino, Associate Professor in Applied Geomorphology
University of Torino; Co-chair, Working Group on Landform Geodiversity; IAG - International Association of Geomorphologists Direction Committee; UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Development and Territory Management

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