Ljubljana - Slovenia - Europe
Even though my first major subject at university was in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, and my first job was as a professional programmer in the late 80’s, my life-style and work was to be a geographer. Not by education but by my real work, as I was implementing my knowledge of informatics in geography and researching the hydrography of Slovenia, in particular its waterfalls. My main working tools were a map and later, in 1997, a GPS unit and a 35 mm SLR camera.
I have documented over 130 waterfall locations with hundreds of waterfalls and published the project on the internet in 1996 with the name “Slovenia Land of Waterfalls”. However Slovenia is not a typical waterfall country - it is the land of the distinctive limestone terrain known as karst (Kras). Over 10,000 subterranean caves were tempting and I just needed a good tool to start visually documenting them. In the late 90’s I met another geography guy, Don Bain from the University of California, who introduced me to an amazing method of documentation - Virtual Reality Panoramas.
I soon mastered that methodology and by 1999 I had created a complete virtual tour of Ljubljana, Slovenia, similar to today’s Street View. I named it the Ljubljana Open Air Museum. Hundreds of virtual reality panoramas of streets were linked together with hotspots. In the year 2000 I extended the Street View-like project of Slovenian towns to include virtual tours of museums. Eventually I created 106 comprehensive tours of museums. Encouraged by the results I started my first documentation of limestone karst and caves in 1999. The public response to my virtual tours of caves was so great that Slovenian national television made a documentary of my work in 2001. I have been invited to give many geography lectures, and my internet project was chosen as one of the best within the European Schoolnet project in May 2001.
I didn’t have a complete geographic education, so I decided to finish the university geography programme. I have specialized in karst geomorphology and in the course of many projects fine-tuned a method of light-painting to illuminate large caverns. My last important subterranean project was 500 meters below ground in the methane gas polluted environment of a coal mine at Velenje in Slovenia. Between November 2010 and March 2011 I have documented important coal mining processes using virtual reality panoramas, and presented all the collected visual data in an e-learning “classroom”.
What is a geography? It is not just a profession but it is also a lifestyle. I am proud that I was able to be a baby sitter to my kids and many times take them with me to special geographical locations.