Publication Date

Summer 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Kathryn Davis


Guatemala, Hazard Mapping, Lake Atitlan, Landslides, Participatory Mapping, SRTM DEM

Subject Areas



Landslides occur at a high frequency throughout the mountainous regions of Guatemala, posing an elevated risk to communities and their infrastructure. A crucial component of the analysis of landslide hazards incorporates the creation of landslide hazard or susceptibility maps. This paper's research objective had two distinct components. The first was to identify practical and effective cartographic visualization methods to deliver map-based hazard information at the community level in Guatemala. Mapping methods were evaluated for their potential effectiveness in visually communicating landslide risks to the isolated rural communities of Lake Atitlan and the town of Santiago Atitlan. The research illustrated the importance of the depiction of relief, imagery, and landmarks in addition to local knowledge of the construction of hazard maps.

The second component analyzed the suitability of SRTM 90-meter resolution DEMs for landslide susceptibility mapping. A SRTM 90-meter resolution DEM of the Sierra de las Minas, Guatemala and corresponding USGS landslide inventories were examined in the ArcMap 10 environment. Spatial analysis revealed that although lower resolution did limit the SRTM DEM's suitability for comprehensive landslide hazard analysis in Guatemala, a potential existed for it to be a useful aid in identifying areas susceptible to large debris flow.