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Diana Contreras Mojica   BSc, MSc, PhD AFHEA

Dr Diana Contreras Mojica



Lecturer in Geospatial Sciences

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

+44 29208 74333
Main Building, Room Room 1.18, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a scientist and practitioner from Colombia with experience in the academia and public and private sector in Colombia, Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Chile, and the United Kingdom (UK). My research interests are:

  • Geographical information Sciences (GIS)
  • Disaster management
  • Earthquake reconnaissance
  • Natural language processing (NLP)
  • Healthcare inequality and social justice
  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Resilience
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Food security
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)























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I use geographical information sciences (GIS) to contribute to disaster management, earthquake reconnaissance, spatial vulnerability assessment, water management and food insecurity. Currently, I am using natural language processing (NLP) techniques: sentiment analysis (SA) and topic analysis, to evaluate post-disaster recovery and emergency response after earthquakes, collecting data from social media: Twitter and Instagram and the crowdsourcing platform: LastQuake app. Before I was working on the development of Ludic activities oriented to learn about post-disaster recovery phases and participatory methods to explore climate change adaptation strategies for communities affected by the drought.


I have been a Lecturer in Geospatial Science at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering since 2021. I lead the module: Geographic Information Systems (GIS), maps and analytical skills (EA1303), including remote sensing (RS), geography, geosciences, and geostatistics. I teach GIS in the autumn semester for year-one (Y1)  students of physical geography, environmental geography, geosciences, geology and marine geography using ArcGIS Pro. I am Lecturer for the Master's program (MSC) in Environmental Hazards on the Risk Assessment module (EAT406): ‘Exposure and vulnerability', ‘Physical vulnerability’ and 'Social vulnerability'. I also teach: ‘Communication, hazard and risk’ and ‘Tools and technologies for risk mapping’ for the year-three (Y3) students on the module: Hazard, risk and Resilience (EA3327).

I am also an advisor on GIS analysis for the dissertation of bachelor students in the courses previously mentioned. I supervise Bachelor and Master dissertations and support the organisation and implementation of Y1 and Y2 fieldwork in Geography (EA1305 Geography field skills). I am also a tutor for Y1, Y2 and Y3 students. Previously I was a guest lecturer at the University of Valparaiso (Chile), Technical University of Kenya,  King's College London (United Kingdom), Newcastle University (UK) and Salzburg University (Austria). Between 2012 and 2017, I was an online Lecturer at UNIGIS Latin America a Master's program in  GIS taught jointly by the University of Salzburg and the University San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador). I taught the module: GIS, maps and analytical skills. 


I am Lecturer in Geospatial Science at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering since 2021. I am in charge of teaching the module: GIS, maps and analytical skills. I am Vice-chairman of the Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT),  previously leading the sub-committee on Training. Currently, I am a visiting researcher at Newcastle University, where I hold the position of Research Associate for the project: 'Learning from earthquakes: building resilient communities through earthquake reconnaissance, response and recovery' (LfE) UK.

Between 2018 and 2019, I worked at the Research Centre for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (CIGIDEN) in Santiago (Chile). In this period, I worked on the project: 'Social vulnerability to natural hazards and dependence to critical urban infrastructure: a spatial model for the healthcare system in Santiago, Chile'. In the same year, I was an external consultant for CARITAS Switzerland for the Climate change adaptation (CCA), food (in)security, water resource management and disaster risk reduction (DRR) project in La Guajira, Colombia. After completed my Doctoral studies, I worked as Team Leader of the Social Vulnerability and Resilience (SVR) group at the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation in Pavia (Italy). Parallel to my doctoral studies, I worked at the Interfaculty Department for Geoinformatics Z_GIS from the University of Salzburg (Austria) in MOVE, a project to improve the methods for the vulnerability assessment to natural hazards in Europe based on indicators. When the project finished, I started working for UNIGIS Latin America (an online Master's program in GIS run jointly by the University of Salzburg and la Universidad San Francisco de Quito - Ecuador), teaching the module: 'GIS, risk and disasters'. In Colombia, I worked at the Institute of Risk Management and Climate Change (IDIGER) as a Project manager assistant of preparedness, emergency response and disaster prevention.

I am a Doctor (PhD) in Natural Sciences – Applied Geoinformatics from the University of Salzburg (Austria). Before starting my doctoral studies, I completed a Master of Science in Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation, Specialisation: Urban Planning and Management at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at the University of Twente in The Netherlands. I received a Graduate Diploma in the Evaluation of Risk and Disaster Prevention offered by the Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia). My Bachelor's degree in Architecture was awarded by la Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Honours and awards

  • Finalist in the WMO2020 Calendar Competition of photography organised by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) with the picture entitled: La Laguna Azul, en la Cordillera Blanca” (Translated title: The blue lake on the white mountains) taken during fieldwork in the Paron, Lake in Peru.
  • First place in the competition ‘Best Poster Award IDRC Davos 2016’ with the poster entitled: ’Disaster Management and Resilience in Electric Power Systems: The case of Chile’. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC Davos 2016. Davos, Switzerland.
  • Open access fees award ‘Resilience Academy 2013-2014’ to the manuscript: Tellman, B., Alaniz, R., Rivera, A. and Contreras, D. (2014). Violence as an obstacle to livelihood resilience in the context of climate change. Awarded by UNU-EHS.
  • Attended as the Latino-American representative (on scholarship) in the 2nd International Training Workshop on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation hosted by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), and the Centre on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation (SDIM). Beijing (China).
  • Attended (on scholarship) the Bangladesh (2013) and Germany (2014) sessions of the Resilience Academy, on the theme of Livelihood Resilience, hosted by Unit UNU-EHS, ICCCAD and the MRF. Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Munich (Germany).
  • Awarded with the One World Scholarship (OWS) - Programme de Bourse Universelle 2012-2013, granted for the Afro-Asian Institute Salzburg (AAI) – Salzburg (Austria).
  • A beneficiary of the program ‘Credito-Beca Colfuturo 2012’ (Translated title: loan - scholarship Colfuturo 2012), granted for COLFUTURO foundation.
  • Second place in the competition ‘Best Poster Award - DK symposium 2012’ with the poster entitled: ‘Spatial indicators of a recovery process after earthquakes: The case of L’Aquila (Italy)’. The University of Salzburg. Salzburg, Austria.
  • Winners of the international student essay competition 2010, sponsored by the Centre for rebuilding sustainable communities after disasters (CRSCAD), University of Massachusetts (UMASS) with the essay: “GIS in the vulnerability assessment and recovery process in a community with elderly and disable people after a disaster”. Boston (USA).
  • Second Place in the ‘2009 URISA Student Paper Competition’ with the paper entitled: ‘Designing a spatial planning support system for rapid building damage survey after an earthquake: The case of Bogota DC, Colombia”. Anaheim (USA)’.
  • Awarded with the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) 2007.
  • Awarded with Faculty Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) scholarship to attend the 18-month M.Sc. in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation; Specialisation: Urban Planning and Management.
  • Merit decoration ‘Cacique Teusacá’ granted by the District Mayor of Teusaquillo (Bogotá DC- Colombia) for outstanding participation in the control of public order in providing security and support to the public in the jurisdiction; Bogota DC, July 29, 2005.
  • Acknowledgement for ‘the support in the design of the Master Plan for facilities of security, defence and justice in the City-Region’, by the Secretary of Public Affairs about coexistence in the city, of the Mayor in Bogotá, December 31, 2003. Bogotá DC (Colombia).
  • Acknowledgement for ‘the commitment, effort and dedication in the planning activities of the simulation of emergency response in collapsed structures (search and rescue)’, by the Mayor in Bogotá DC; October 17, 18 and 19, 2003. Bogotá DC (Colombia).
  • Granted Meritorious Mention by the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Arts of the National University of Colombia, for my Bachelor thesis: ‘Assistance coordination centre for disaster management for Bogota D.C.- Colombia’. August 2001.

Professional memberships

  • Vice-chairman - The Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT)
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) – Regular membership
  • The Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI) - Associate Business Continuity Professional (ABCP)
  • The Resilience Academy  United Nations University - Institute for Environmental and Human Security (UNU-EHS), International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and the Munich Re Foundation (MRF).

Academic positions

  • 2021 - present: Lecturer, Cardiff University, United Kingdom (UK).
  • 2019 - 2021: Research Associate at Newcastle University, United Kingdom (UK).
  • 2018 - 2019: Postdoctoral Researcher at the Research Centre for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (CIGIDEN), Chile.
  • 2012 - 2017: Master thesis supervisor and online Lecturer at Unigis Latin America (University of Salzburg - Universidad San Francisco de Quito), Austria.
  • 2015 - 2016: Deputy/Interim Master Thesis Coordinator at Unigis Latin America (University of Salzburg - Universidad San Francisco de Quito), Austria.
  • 2009 - 2011: Research Assistant at the University of Salzburg, Austria.

Committees and reviewing

  • Jury member Master of Science in Spatial Engineering dissertation. Guimbatan-Fadgyas, R. (2021). Indigenous Toponyms in Landslide Hazard Mapping for Land Use and Infrastructure Planning. Twente University.
  • Jury member at the 9th i-Rec student competition – IATROGENESIS Disrupting the status quo: Resisting disaster risk creation.
  • Scientific & Practitioner Committee member at I-REC 2019 Conference. Disrupting the status quo: Reconstruction, recovery and resisting disaster risk creation.
  • Grant reviewer, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), 2019.
  • Jury member for PhD examinations at the Nigel Priestley Seminar 2018
  • Journal reviewer:
    • Applied Sciences
    • Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering
    • Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS)
    • Climate Risk Management
    • Disaster Prevention and Management (DPM)
    • Georisk: Assessment and Management of Risk for Engineered Systems and Geohazards
    • Geosciences Journal
    • Ingenieria
    • International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (IJDRR)
    • International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH)
    • Journal of Hydrology
    • Natural Hazards (NatHaz)
    • Remote Sensing
    • Social Sciences
    • Technological Forecasting and Social Change (TFSC)
    • Water


I am interested in supervising PhD students in research projects with a spatial component in the topics of :

  • Preparedness for emergency response (e.g. spatial allocation of temporary shelters, evacuation routes planning, and so forth).
  • Exposure and vulnerability assessment
  • Risk assessment
  • Natural Hazards zoning
  • Landslide susceptibility
  • Sentiment and topic analysis
  • Security (e.g. Spatial correlation between police facilities and crime rate)
  • Land use planning