Edinburgh Research Explorer

Spatial metrics from LiDAR roof mapping for fire spread risk assessment of informal settlements in Cape Town, South Africa.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Original languageEnglish
Article number103053
Number of pages16
JournalFire Safety Journal
Early online date7 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2020
Event13th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science - University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Duration: 24 Apr 202130 Apr 2021


The risk of fire spread in informal settlements is significant and can be analysed as a function of the spatial arrangement of dwellings. Spatial metrics representing density and shape of dwellings are proposed as a method to identify settlements at high risk of fire spread. LiDAR data is used to map dwelling roofs for informal settlements in the City of Cape Town, South Africa. The LiDAR roof dataset is validated against a visually interpreted dataset digitized from 6 cm resolution aerial photography and is found to have an accuracy of greater than 75% with systematic underrepresentation of roofs in the LiDAR dataset. Correlation analysis of metrics derived from the LiDAR dataset and the reference dataset indicates that only the edge density and landscape density metrics could be applied with confidence to all the settlements. These two metrics are then applied to the informal settlements of Kosovo and Imizamo Yethu. A high landscape density in combination with a low edge density is found to be indicative of fire spread risk. This study represents a first step in the development of spatial metrics for understanding informal settlement fire spread risk.


13th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science


Ontario, Canada

Event: Symposium

ID: 153272478