Assoc. Prof. Žiga Kokalj, Ph. D.

Assistant professor at doctoral study (3rd cycle) Environmental and Regional Studies at Postgraduate School ZRC SAZU.

+386 1 4706 458

Course principal:




  • BSc in Geography (Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, 2004)
  • PhD in Remote Sensing (Faculty of civil and geodetic engineering, University of Ljubljana, 2010)


Research interests

He is primarily involved in environmental studies using optical satellite imagery processing and airborne lidar processing, internet cartography, spatial analyses and natural processes modelling, especially from the viewpoint of how different human activities influence the environment, both in history and at present. His special interest is in the protection of the natural and cultural heritage.

Main visiting appointments

  • Visiting Research student, University of Birmingham (2006)
  • Honorary Research Fellow, University of Birmingham (2008)
  • Visiting Researcher, Icelandic Institute of Archaeology (Fornleifastofnun Íslands, 2010)
  • Visiting Researcher, Historic Environment Scotland (2017).


  • He obtained the Zois scholarship for gifted students and his graduate thesis was given the Prešeren Award. During his doctoral studies he had a position of a Young Researcher and was funded by the Slovenian Research Agency. He was awarded the ZRC Gold Award for exceptional achievements in science (2018).
  • Head of the Remote Sensing Department.
  • 40 invited lectures at conferences, symposia, workshops, and foreign universities.
  • Six of the high school research theses he mentored won a national golden medal at the Slovenian young researchers meeting. One was also awarded a first price at the Slovenia from Space competition, and two at the international completion of research projects organized by the MEF Educational Institutions from Istanbul, Turkey.
  • He is a co-organiser of the international TRAIL meetings (Training and Research on the Archaeological Interpretation of Lidar, France 2011, 2014, 2016, Slovenia 2018), that he helped to conceive into a conceptually new and innovative scheme of a modern workshop.

Selected publications

  • Šprajc, Ivan, Dunning, Nicholas P., Štajdohar, Jasmina, Hernández Gómez, Quintin, Chato López, Israel, Marsetič, Aleš, Ball, Joseph W., Dzul Góngora, Sara, Esparza Olguín, Octavio, Flores Esquivel, Atasta, Kokalj, Žiga. 2021. Ancient Maya water management, agriculture, and society in the area of Chactún, Campeche, Mexico. Journal of anthropological archaeology, 61, 101261: 1-21.
  • Stančič, Liza, Oštir, Krištof, Kokalj, Žiga. 2020. Fluvial gravel bar mapping with spectral signal mixture analysis. European journal of remote sensing: 1-16 .
  • Nuninger, Laure, Opitz, Rachel, Verhagen, Philip, Libourel, Thérèse, Laplaige, Clement, Leturcq, Samuel, Le Voguer, Nathanael, Fruchart, Catherine, Kokalj, Žiga, Rodier, Xavier. 2020. Developing FAIR ontological pathways : linking evidence of movement in Lidar to models of human behaviour. Journal of computer applications in archaeology, 3, 1: 63-75.
  • Smerdu, Ana, Kanjir, Urška, Kokalj, Žiga. 2020. Automatic detection of Japanese knotweed in urban areas from aerial and satellite data. Management of Biological Invasions, 11, 4: 661-676.
  • Somrak, Maja, Džeroski, Sašo, Kokalj, Žiga. 2020. Learning to classify structures in ALS-derived visualizations of ancient Maya settlements with CNN. Remote sensing, 12, 14: 1-20.
  • Kokalj, Žiga, Somrak, Maja. 2019. Why not a single image? : combining visualizations to facilitate fieldwork and on-screen mapping. Remote sensing, 11, 7, 747: 1-26.
  • Kokalj, Žiga, Hesse, Ralf, Mulahusić, Admir. 2018. Vizuelizacija rasterskih podataka laserskog skeniranja iz zraka, (Prostor, kraj, čas, 16). Ljubljana: Založba ZRC. 168 p.
  • Pipan, Primož, Kokalj, Žiga. Transformation of the Jeruzalem hills cultural landscape with modern vineyard terraces. Acta geographica Slovenica. 2017, 57, 2: 149-162.
  • Kokalj, Žiga, Hesse, Ralf. 2017. Airborne laser scanning raster data visualization : a guide to good practice, (Prostor, kraj, čas, 14). Ljubljana: Založba ZRC. 88 p.
  • Popit, Tomislav, Rožič, Boštjan, Šmuc, Andrej, Kokalj, Žiga, Verbovšek, Timotej, KošiR, Adrijan. 2014. LIDAR, GIS and basic spatial statistic application for the study of ravine and palaeo-ravine evolution in the upper Vipava valley, SW Slovenia. Geomorphology : an international journal of pure and applied geomorphology 204: 638-645.
  • Kokalj, Žiga, Oštir, Krištof. 2013. Vrednotenje pokrajinskoekoloških tipov Slovenije v luči pokrovnosti, izdelane s klasifikacijo satelitskih posnetkov Landsat, (Prostor, kraj, čas, 1). Ljubljana: Založba ZRC. 141 p.
  • Kokalj, Žiga, Zakšek, Klemen, Oštir, Krištof. 2013. Visualizations of lidar derived relief models. In: Opitz, Rachel (ed.), Cowley, David (ed.). Interpreting archaeological topography : airborne laser scanning, 3D data and ground observation. Oxford; Oakville: Oxbow Books., 100-112.
  • Kokalj, Žiga, Pehani, Peter, Goodchild, Helen, Gaffney, Vincent L., Oštir, Krištof. 2013. Crossing borders : a multi-layer GIS mapping framework for the cultural management of the Mundo Maya Region. In: CH’NG, Eugene (ed.), Gaffney, Vincent L. (ed.), Chapman, Henry (ed.). Visual heritage in the digital age, (Springer series on cultural computing). London: Springer. 169-182.
  • Štular, Benjamin, Kokalj, Žiga, Oštir, Krištof, Nuninger, Laure. 2012. Visualization of lidar-derived relief models for detection of archaeological features. Journal of archaeological science 39, 11: 3354-3360.
  • Zakšek, Klemen, Oštir, Krištof, Kokalj, Žiga. 2011. Sky-view factor as a relief visualization technique. Remote sensing 3, 2: 398-415.
  • Kokalj, Žiga, Zakšek, Klemen, Oštir, Krištof. 2011. Application of sky-view factor for the visualisation of historic landscape features in lidar-derived relief models. Antiquity, 85: 263-273.
  • Challis, Keith, Kokalj, Žiga, et al. 2008. Airborne lidar and historic environment records. Antiquity 318, 82: 1055-1064.
  • Kokalj, Žiga, Oštir, Krištof. 2007. Land cover mapping using Landsat satellite image classification in the Classical Karst – Kras region = Ugotavljanje pokrovnosti krasa s klasifikacijo satelitskih posnetkov Landsat. Acta carsologica, 36, 3: 433-440.


All publications (COBISS) >>