GIS and spatial analysis in environmental and regional studies


Environmental and Regional Studies (3rd level)

Biodiversity and ecology (3rd Cycle)
Paleobiology and sedimentary geology (3rd Cycle)
Regional studies (3rd Cycle)

Course code: DI002
Year of study: without

Course principal:
Assoc. Prof. Žiga Kokalj, Ph. D.


Workload: lectures 10 hours, tutorial 20 hours, other learning forms 10 hours, individual work 120 hours.
Course type: common elective
Languages: Slovene, English
Learning and teaching methods: lectures (in the classroom, use of modern teaching methods,slides, illustrations, demonstrations, case studies), practical exercises (computer lab with professional equipment), e-learning


Course syllabus (download)


  • This course does not assume any specific prior experience. Basic experience in mapping and GIS is beneficial.
  • Exercises are rated positively if all exercise reports are rated positively.
  • Positive assessment of exercises is essential for attendance at the exam.


Content (Syllabus outline):

  • Introduction to spatial analysis:
    • how maps and spatial analysis pervade our world,
    • who uses spatial data, maps and GIS, how and what for.
  • Spatial reference systems, projections, tools.
  • Spatial data:
    • ways of acquisition (ground measurements, remote acquisition),
    • types of spatial data,
    • data properties.
  • Representing spatial features:
    • discrete spatial objects and continuous surfaces,
    • characteristics of the two primary data formats (vector and raster)
    • multi-temporal representations of spatial data.
  • Interpreting maps.
  • Working with raster layers.
  • Working with vector layers.
  • Introduction to symbology and cartography.
  • Making maps.
  • Statistics, geostatistics.
  • Modelling and spatial analysis.
  • Time-series analysis.
  • Visualisation.
  • Quality assessment.



  • Burrough, Peter A., Rachael A. McDonnell and Christopher D. Lloyd. 2015. Principles of Geographical Information Systems. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Kalkhan, Mohammed A. 2011. Spatial Statistics: Geospatial Information Modeling and Thematic Mapping. Boca Raton (FL): Taylor & Francis.
  • Longley, Paul A., Mike Goodchild, David J. Maguire and David W. Rhind. 2010. Geographic Information Systems and Science. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Muehlenhaus, Ian. Web Cartography: Map Design for Interactive and Mobile Devices. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.
  • 1994-. Geografski informacijski sistemi v Sloveniji. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Izbrani aktualni pregledni in izvirni raziskovalni članki iz revij (International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Progress in Human Geography, Geographical Analysis, Transactions in GIS, ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Acta Geographica Slovenica).


Objectives and competences:

The objective of the course is to give methodological and practical knowledge in spatial analyses and spatial statistics with geographic information systems.


Students will acquire the following course specific competences:

  • using modern mapping technologies,
  • producing and interpreting basic thematic maps using GIS,
  • understanding and applying fundamental principles of map design,
  • using GIS as a tool in written and oral reports of spatial analyses concerning issues in natural sciences humanities,
  • mastering a large and diverse suite of technical tools in geospatial data analysis, that can be used to solve practical problems, such as in watershed modelling, ecosystem science, wildlife ecology, water resource management, landscape ecology, conservation biology, and land-use and land-cover change, and
  • conducting a competent practical assignment
  • understanding a relevancy and quality of outputs (spatial accuracy, semantic accuracy).

Intended learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding:

  • Students will be able to explain fundamental concepts related to cartography and geographic information systems.



Written exam (theoretical part) and/or a seminar project (60 %), exercises and diagnostic assessment (40 %).