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Personal profile

Personal profile

I have an MSc in Physical Geography from Utrecht University (NL) on slope stability analysis in Colombia (1995) and a PhD in Physical Geography from Utrecht University on the application of 2D flood propagation models for hazard and risk assessment (2007). I currently work at the University of Twente (Enschede, the Netherlands), Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (the former International Institute of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation - also known as ITC). Within the research group on Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Management - chaired by Prof. Dr. V. Jetten - I deal with flood related topics. My research interest lies primarily in flood risk assessment in developing countries - with a focus on SE-Asia (Thailand, Vietnam). The focus on developing countries I find particularly interesting because there is (usually) less data to work with, while the need for risk assessment - and appropriate methodologies that can be applied within these specific contexts - is very high.

1995 - 1998After my graduation in 1995 I worked for three years in the private sector as specialist in geostatistics: One year at Witteveen and Bos in Deventer and two years at Gemeentewerken Rotterdam. I applied geostatistics to soil pollution surveys.
1998 - 2001In 1998 I moved to Milan, Italy where I was employed at the University of Milano-Bicocca as junior researcher in the EU-funded research project GETS: Geomorphology and Environmental Impact Assessment for Transportation Systems. In the GETS project I shifted my attention away from the slopes and focused on flood hazard. My study area was the Adige Valley near Trento (Italy) where I applied a two-dimensional flood propagation model to predict the consequences of large scale infrastructural works on the characteristics of (potential) floods in the area. This study became the first case study of three that resulted in my PhD dissertation.
2001 - 2002In 2001 I worked at the Institute of Environment and Sustainability (IES) of the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission in Ispra, Italy. During my stay I worked on the reconstruction of an inundation of a polder along the Oder River during the 1997 floods. This became the second case study of my dissertation.
2002 - 2003From 2002 to 2003 I was affiliated to the University of Utrecht where I studied in detail the propagation of flood water through the complex anthropogenic topography of the Dutch polder "Land van Maas en Waal". This became the third - and final - case study of my dissertation.
2003 - presentIn 2003 I moved to the ITC, first as a lecturer but since 2007 as assistant Professor. In 2010 ITC became a faculty of the University of Twente.


My teaching focuses on supervision of MSc-students during their research activities, although I contribute to the classroom teaching during the topics "Process Modeling" and "Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment" (see www.itc.nl/disaster-management). I also give guest lectures at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand, at the Post Graduate Institute of Science in Kandy, Sri Lanka, at the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing in Dehra Dun, India and at the Water Resources University in Hanoi, Vietnam. 

ITC hosts also the UNU-school for Disaster Geo-Information Management (see www.itc.nl/unu-dgim). Within that school I coordinate a network of Universities in SE-Asia that collaborate on training and research in the field of geo-information for disaster management. I also contribute to numerous courses conducted in the region.

Research interests

 At ITC my research falls under the chair of Disaster Management (see: www.itc.nl/4D-EARTH), which aims i) at better prediction of Geo-hazards integrating spatial modeling and earth observation information, and ii) at a better integration of socio-economic factors and technical factors in risk assessment and disaster management. My research deals with i) the application of hydro-dynamic models for hazard and risk assessment; ii) developing probabilistic risk assessment methodologies for disaster risk management; and iii) multi-hazard risk assessment.

 Simulating floods

Current PhD studies (as supervisor):

Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hai Van (2007): "Multi-hazard risk assessment for an urbanized mountainous area in Vietnam" (ITC).



Activities in capacity development

Country:South-East Asia
Details:Coordinator of the CASITA University Network. The CASITA network is a spin-off of the EU- Asia IT&C project (see below) and stimulates collaboration in education and research in disaster risk management in South-East Asia.
Details:Team-leader of the GITHRA (Geo-Information Technology for Hazard Risk Assessment) project (funded by Asian Development Bank). Aim: To develop training materials and methodologies for hazard risk assessment in the Vietnamese context. Clients: Water Resource University (WRU), Hanoi and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Details:Courses on GIS for Disaster Management: Annual series of GIS4DM courses (I and II) targeted to professionals working in Disaster Management organisations (governmental and non-governmental).
Details:SCRATCH project: Funded by World Bank. Resource person for flood modelling and risk assessment in tsunami affected countries.
Details:Resource person for flood modelling and advanced techniques for hazard assessment in the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) course on Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation and Management, Bangkok, Thailand.
Details:Resource person for hazard assessment in joint training programs on disaster reduction (e.g. PROMISE project) together with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) in Bangkok, Thailand.
Country:Sri Lanka
Details:Expert on flood hazard assessment, flood modelling and dynamic GIS. Teaching at the University of Peradinya (Kandy) and participating in a research program with Ruhuna University (Matara); Teaching course on dynamic GIS for flood hazard assessment and slope stability assessment (May 2006; February 2007 and October 2009).
Date:2003 - 2007
Details:Project Expert ITC-SLARIM project. Act as project expert on flood hazard assessment / flood modelling. Supervising and teaching in the refresher course "Urban Flood Mitigation" (Naga - Sept 2004) using advanced hydrological models. Supervision of MSc students. Maintaining contacts with local officials.
Date:2004 - 2006
Details:Project LDEM. Act as expert on the application of dynamic GIS for hydrology / erosion studies in central Thailand through the supervision of a MSc student.
Details:Distance education. Supervisor of students at the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) in the field of flood modelling.
Date:September 2003 and April 2004
Details:Project Expert EU-Asia IT&C CASITA project. Act as project expert in capacity building workshops in the field of urban disaster mitigation using GIS and Remote Sensing application tools.

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 1994 2018

Land cover change and the use of SoilGrids data for assessing flash flood in Marikina river basin, The Philippines : abastract

Shrestha, D. P., Brebante, B. M., Jetten, V. G., Herrera, E., Blanco, A. C., Gonzalez, R. M. & Alkema, D. 2018

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

flash flood
land cover
river basin
vegetation cover

Supplementing geological mapping with ASTER in Africa

Hewson, R. D., van der Werff, H. M. A., Mshiu, E., Alkema, D. & van der Meer, F. D. 27 Jul 2018 IGARSS 2018 : IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium : Observing, Understanding and Forecasting the Dynamics of Our Planet. IEEE Press,. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 4 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

geological mapping
spatial data
1 Citations
Open Access
flash flood
return period
surface roughness
3 Citations

A new flood type classification method for use in climate change impact studies

Turkington, T., Ettema, J., Alkema, D. & Jetten, V. G. 2016 In : Weather and climate extremes. 14, p. 1-16

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
natural disaster
climate change
18 Citations

An integrated model to assess critical rainfall thresholds for run - out distances of debris flows

van Asch, T. W. J., Tang, C., Alkema, D., Zhu, J. & Zhou, W. 2014 In : Natural hazards. 70, 1, p. 299-311

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

debris flow
precipitation intensity