Past Working Groups: AppGeMa

Geomorphological map of Deception Island, Antarctica – by J.Lopez-Martinez et al. (2000)

WG Chair:

 Dr. Mike J Smith

Kingston-upon-Thames (United Kingdom)
WG Co-Chair:

Dr. Paolo Paron
Nairobi (Kenya)

Maps are one of the most appropriate and synthetic ways of showing the distribution of landforms, surface and near-surface deposits, the processes that act on landforms and the time of their action. Geomorphological maps are one of most important end products of investigations made by geomorphologists on the territory. Furthermore they are of great usefulness to many other professionals dealing with the landscape and landforms like engineers, urban planners, soil and forest scientists, agronomists, land conservationists, etc.

Mike J. Smith, Paolo Paron and James S. Griffiths (Eds.), Geomorphological Mapping. Methods and Applications. Developments in Earth Surface Processes, 2011, 15: 1-601.

Geomorphological Mapping: a professional handbook of techniques and applications is a new book targeted at academics and practitioners who use, or wish to utilise, geomorphological mapping within their work. Synthesising for the first time an historical perspective to geomorphological mapping, field based and digital tools and techniques for mapping and an extensive array of case studies from academics and professionals active in the area. Those active in geomorphology, engineering geology, reinsurance, Environmental Impact Assessors, and allied areas, will find the text of immense value.

Available on Science Direct web site or on or on Elsevier

Table of Contents

Preface – Shroder

Foreword – Goudie


1. Introduction to Applied Geomorphological Mapping – Griffiths, Smith and Paron

2. Old and New Trends in Geomorphological and Landform Mapping – Verstappen
3. Nature and Aims of Geomorphological Mapping – Dramis, Guida and Cestari

4. Makers and Users of Geomorphological maps – Paron and Claessens

5. Geomorphological Contributions to Landslide Risk Assessment: Theory and Practice – Hearn and Hart


6. Geomorphological Field Mapping – Knight, Mitchell and Rose

7. Data Sources – Oguchi, Hayakawa and Wasklewicz

8. Digital Mapping: Visualisation, Interpretation and Quantification of Landforms – Smith

9. Cartography: Design, Symbolisation and Visualisation of Geomorphological Maps – Otto, Gustavsson and Geilhausen
Colour Figures

10. Semi-Automated Identification and Extraction of Geomorphological Features Using Digital Elevation Data – Seijmonsbergen, Hengl and Anders


11. Mapping Ireland’s Glaciated Continental Margin Using Marine Geophysical Data – Dunlop, Sacchetti, Benetti and O’Cofaigh

12. Submarine Geomorphology: Quantitative Methods Illustrated with the Hawaiian Volcanoes – Hillier

13. Marine Geomorphology: Geomorphological Mapping and the Study of Submarine Landslides – Micallef
Colour Figures

14. The Cherry Garden Landslide, Etchinghill Escarpment, Southeast England – Griffiths, Lee, Brunsden and Jones

15. The Application of Geomorphological Mapping in the Assessment of Landslide Hazard in Hong Kong – Parry

16. A Geomorphological Map as a Tool for Assessing Sediment Transfer Processes in Small Catchments Prone to Debris-Flows Occurrence: A Case Study in the Bruchi Torrent (Swiss Alps) – Theler and Reynard

17. Geomorphological Assessment of Complex Landslide Systems Using Field Reconnaissance and Terrestrial Laser Scanning – Whitworth, Anderson and Hunter

18.Digital Terrain Models from Airborne Laser Scanning for the Automatic Extraction of Natural and Anthropogenic Linear Structures – Rutzinger, Hofle, Vetter and Pfeifer

19. Applied Geomorphic Mapping for Land Management in the River Murray Corridor, SE Australia – Pain, Clarke and Wong

20. Monitoring Braided River Change Using Terrestrial Laser Scanning and Optical Bathymetric Mapping – Williams, Brasington, Vericat, Hicks, Labrosse and Neal

21. Uses and Limitations of Field Mapping of Lowland Glaciated Landscapes – Knight

22. Mapping Late Holocene Landscape Evolution and Human Impact – A Case Study from Lower Khuzestan (SW Iran)
Walstra, Heyvaert and Verkinderen

23. Military Applied Geomorphological Mapping: Normandy Case Study – Guth

24. Future Developments of Geomorphological Mapping – Smith, Griffiths and Paron

Moreover, at the present moment, the great development of digital analysis of remotely sensed imagery on the one side, and the widespread application of GIS, Digital Terrain Analysis, DEM analysis (geomorphometry) and of modern lab techniques on the other, can integrate classical field surveys and add values also to a map.

Both inside our scientific community and, even more, among other scientific and professional communities, the pure and applied importance of geomorphological maps is not yet completely understood and developed. Furthermore the increasing human pressure on the environment is pushing the need for a better understanding and planning of the landscape in developed and, to a greater degree, in the so called emerging and developing countries.

Maps can be thought as a frontier or a meeting point at which geomorphologists, geologists and other professionals share their different knowledge of the territory and plan together a sustainable use of the environment.

As stated by Cooke et al. (1982) different geomorphologists have worked on a variety of problems in contrasting terrain and morphoclimatic conditions and several mapping systems have been set up. Nevertheless attempts to produce a unified system do not seem to have been widely adopted so far.

A major role could be here played by the activity of a strong geomorphological mapping school, under the IAG umbrella.

A WG on Applied Geomorphological Mapping has been approved by the EC and National Delegates, in accordance with all three constitutional Objectives of the IAG/AIG.

Its main Goals are as follows:

  • Develop and deepen the theoretical basis of applied geomorphological mapping;
  • Develop standards, specific mapping procedures and legend systems for different applications and scales;
  • Disseminate the importance and effectiveness of the use of geomorphological mapping as a basic tool for those who deal with the physical environment, in order to;
  • Put a bridge between our and other scientific and professional communities.

The following general objectives, and outputs are suggested.

General Objectives:

  • Developing a systematic, comparative study of different cartographic methodologies and applications;
  • Developing different legend systems according to the different applications and scales of a geomorphological map;
  • Establish a strong dialogue with the other IAG WGs in support of their mapping needs;
  • Fostering the inter-professional exchange of applied mapping experiences and promoting the correct mapping procedures among non-specialists.

The general objectives will be met achieving the following proposed Outputs:

  1. A collection of articles and book chapters on applied geomorphological mapping, translating into English (and French and Spanish?) the main contributions from schools and languages from all the countries;
  2. A collection/library of geomorphological maps to serve as a reference for the WG;
  3. A web-site and an e-mail discussion list (under the umbrella of IAG) as a permanent forum on the use of maps between our and other communities of scientists and professionals;
  4. A standardized geomorphological legend to be used within GIS software;
  5. A glossary of terms strictly related to geomorphological mapping (like terrain, landscape, landform, land systems, land unit, physiography, etc);
  6. A state-of-the-art volume by international experts on the application of geomorphological mapping for particular purposes;
  7. A session at the next IAG Conferences, and particularly at the International Geomorphological Congress;
  8. A summer school/short course open to all the actors of the environment, to disseminate the understanding, importance, and use of geomorphological maps.

In order to better achieve the main goals it is considered very useful to involve members of IAG that have a strong working/research experience with other professionals/scientists. The involvement of members of other scientific organizations like IUSS (International Union of Soil Science), IALE (International Association of Landscape Ecology), etc, is also highly recommended.

The proposed Objectives and Outputs are indicative. Through a very short questionnaire, available in the red box at the top of this page, it will be possible to target better the activities of the WG. Your opinion is of high value. That is why you are invited to fill it in and send it back to the email address you can find at the bottom of the page.

tentative schedule for the outputs could be the following one:

– 1, 2, and 3: to be achieved within the first year of activity
– 4, 5 and a draft of 6: to be achieved by the end of the second year of activity
– 6, 7 and 8: to be achieved by the end of the WG