Flash flood susceptibility modeling using an optimized fuzzy rule based feature selection technique and tree based ensemble methods

Dieu Tien Bui, Paraskevas Tsangaratos*, Phuong-Thao Thi Ngo, Tien Dat Pham, Binh Thai Pham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


[Graphical abstract presents]

The main objective of the present study was to provide a novel methodological approach for flash flood susceptibility modeling based on a feature selection method (FSM) and tree based ensemble methods. The FSM, used a fuzzy rule based algorithm FURIA, as attribute evaluator, whereas GA were used as the search method, in order to obtain optimal set of variables used in flood susceptibility modeling assessments. The novel FURIA-GA was combined with LogitBoost, Bagging and AdaBoost ensemble algorithms. The performance of the developed methodology was evaluated at the Bao Yen district and the Bac Ha district of Lao Cai Province in the Northeast region of Vietnam. For the case study, 654 floods and twelve geo-environmental variables were used. The predictive performance of each model was estimated through the calculation of the classification accuracy, the sensitivity, the specificity, the success and predictive rate curve and the area under the curves (AUC). The FURIA-GA FSM compared to a conventional rule based method gave more accurate predictive results. Also, the FURIA-GA based models, presented higher learning and predictive ability compared to the ensemble models that had not undergone a FSM. Based on the predictive classification accuracy, FURIA-GA-Bagging (93.37%) outperformed FURIA-GA-LogitBoost (92.35%) and FURIA-GA-AdaBoost (89.03%). FURIA-GA-Bagging showed also the highest sensitivity (96.94%) and specificity (89.80%). On the other hand, the FURIA-GA-LogitBoost showed the lowest percentage in very high susceptible zone and the highest relative flash-flood density, whereas the FURIA-GA-AdaBoost achieved the highest prediction AUC value (0.9740), based on the prediction rate curve, followed by FURIA-GA-Bagging (0.9566), and FURIA-GA-LogitBoost (0.8955). It can be concluded that the usage of different statistical metrics, provides different outcomes concerning the best prediction model, which mainly could be attributed to sites specific settings. The proposed models could be considered as a novel alternative investigation tools appropriate for flash flood susceptibility mapping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038-1054
Number of pages17
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Genetic algorithms
  • Bagging and boosting models
  • Flash flood susceptibility
  • Vietnam


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