The California Geologic Survey has published a new map of landslide susceptibility for the entire state of California. It addresses only deep-seated landslides, not shallow slides such as debris flows. The criteria used for developing the map included slope angle, geology, rock shear strength and history of landslides in a given area. You can download the map for free from the California Geologic Survey.
The Utah Geologic Survey has released a "Landslide Susceptibility Map of Utah". They apparently relied quite heavily on GIS based thresholding of existing slope angles but only after they had statistically analyzed failure angles for particular geologic units. So it sounds like they throw the known landslides, the geologic map of Utah and a DEM into the GIS a blend it all up. Perhaps a slight oversimplification!