Head of Department of Remote Sensing, Research Fellow, Assistant Professor

+386 (0)1 4706 458
Phone. lab.:
+386 (0)1 4706 495
Research interests

Žiga's research interests lie in the protection of natural and cultural heritage. He is primarily involved in environmental studies using optical satellite imagery processing and lidar data 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.

He has a degree in Geography (2004, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana) and holds a PhD in remote sensing (2010, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana). He obtained the Zois scholarship for gifted students and his graduate thesis was given the Prešeren Award. He was awarded the ZRC Gold Award for exceptional achievements in science. During his doctoral studies he had a position of a Young Researcher and was funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.

He has expanded his knowledge abroad: for a shorter period at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark (2006) and the University of Tours in France (2007), and for a longer period at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, where he was on a three-month study visit (2006) and six months as an honorary research fellow (2008). He also worked for a month as a visiting scientist at the Icelandic Institute of Archaeology (Fornleifastofnun Íslands, 2010), and at Historic Environment Scotland (2017).

In the last years he has participated in two Centres of Excellence (CO FABRICA and CO Space-Si), four projects of the European Union Framework Programmes (5th, 6th, and 7th EU FP), two projects of the European INTERREG programme and of the ERA STAR programme, six European Space Agency projects, and other international and national, basic, applied, and bilateral projects. He was a principal investigator or a project partner leader of three projects financed by Slovenian Research Agency, three projects financed by the European Space Agency, a project financed by the European Social Fund, and a project of the INTERREG programme. He was a Working Party leader of the ArchaeoLandscapes Europe project (7th FP), with 27 co-organizing members and 51 associated partners.

He is a regular active participant in scientific conferences, symposia, and workshops in the fields of spatial modelling with geographic information systems and remote sensing (28 invited lectures). He chaired sections and was a member of the scientific committee at several international conferences and symposia.

He is a member of the first French-Slovenian European associated laboratory ModeLTER - European Laboratory for Modelling of Landscapes and Territories over the Long Term (CNRS (France) - ZRC SAZU (Slovenia). He is a (co)author of 63 scientific papers and two books. He is also an editor of the Space, place, time monograph series, published by Založba ZRC, a reviewer of many scientific journals (e.g. Archaeological Prospection, Computers and Geosciences, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Archaeological Science – reports, Remote Sensing), and an evaluator of at the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) programme.

He is a member of the Aerial Archaeology Research Group (AARG), the International Union of the Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences (UISPP), and the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

He shares his knowledge with younger generations through periodical collaboration with the University of Ljubljana, the University of Primorska, the University of Nova Gorica, and the University of Sarajevo. He also lectured at an ERASMUS Intensive Programme. He was a (co)supervisor of nine masters’ thesis, and of three diploma thesis at home and abroad. 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.

Selected publications
  • KOKALJ, Žiga – Maja SOMRAK, 2019, Why Not a Single Image? Combining Visualizations to Facilitate Fieldwork and On-Screen Mapping. Remote Sensing 11(7): 747.
  • KOKALJ, Žiga – Ralf HESSE, 2017, Airborne laser scanning raster data visualization: A Guide to Good Practice. Prostor, kraj, čas 14. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • PIPAN, Primož – Žiga KOKALJ, 2017, Transformation of the Jeruzalem hills cultural landscape with modern vineyard terraces. Acta geographica Slovenica 57, 2: 149-162.
  • POPIT, Tomislav – Boštjan ROŽIČ – Andrej ŠMUC – Žiga KOKALJ – Timotej VERBOVŠEK – Adrijan KOŠIR, 2014, A LIDAR, GIS and basic spatial statistic application for the study of ravine and palaeo-ravine evolution in the upper Vipava valley, SW Slovenia. Geomorphology 204: 638-645.
  • ŠTULAR, Benjamin – Žiga KOKALJ – Krištof OŠTIR, Laure NUNINGER, 2012, Visualization of lidar-derived relief models for detection of archaeological features. Journal of archaeological science 39, 11: 3354-3360 .
  • KOKALJ, Žiga – Klemen ZAKŠEK – Krištof OŠTIR, 2011, Application of sky-view factor for the visualization of historic landscape features in lidar-derived relief models. Antiquity 85, 327: 263-273.
  • CHALLIS, Keith – Žiga KOKALJ – Mark KINCEY – Derek MOSCROP – Andy J. HOWARD, 2008, Airborne lidar and historic environment records. Antiquity 82, 318: 1055-1064.


All publications (COBISS) >>
Selected projects

Investigation of microrelief structures with airborne lidar (postdoctoral research project • 1 July 201130 June 2013)

Earth Observation and Geoinformatics (research programme • 1 January 201931 December 2024)

SILIS - Satellite images for a Slovenian land information system (research project • 15 April 201514 April 2017)

Curriculum Vitae

BSc of Geography, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, 2004
PhD, Environmental Protection, University of Ljubljana, 2010


remote sensing • image processing • GIS • lidar data processing • environment protection 

Recognitions & awards

Student Prešeren award, 2004 • ZRC SAZU gold award, 2017