The Department of Geography is one of the reputed departments in the Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka which was established in 1952.
Geography is a popular discipline among the undergraduate and postgraduate students in the faculty and a large number of undergraduates follow either the Special Degree Program in Geography, or offer it as part of the General Degree Program. The department offers excellent undergraduate and postgraduate training, and provides rich and diverse research opportunities for both local and foreign students.
The department, which has 21 full time lecturers, currently conducts courses in Sinhala and Tamil, as well as in English. Staff members of the department are actively engaged in research activities pertaining to the fields of their specialization and interests. The departmental staff seminar series provides the opportunity for both staff and graduate students to exchange ideas and present their research findings
CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES (CES)
Centre for Environmental Studies is a research and training centre functioning within the Department of Geography. Number of department staff members is engaged research activities at the Centre for Environmental Studies.
Centre for Environmental Studies
University of Peradeniya
Tel: +94 81 238 9003
Fax: + 94 81 238 9003
GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS) AND REMOTE SENSING (RS) LABORATORY
GIS and RS have applications in many areas of social sciences, natural and applied sciences. Both GIS/RS are important areas for future development. These technologies are increasingly used as tools in a wide variety of applications. The demand for such courses is to be increased under the course unit system. Department of Geography, University of Peradeniya provides high quality training on Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote sensing (RS) at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is therefore imperative that we provide this training and provide opportunities to postgraduate students to do their research using this technology. The geo lab helps to the success of GIS and RS training and has been occupied with special equipment and facilities to gather standard knowledge in the field.
The Department of Geography established a small GIS laboratory in 1994 with funding under a collaboration programme with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim (TROPECOL). Under this programme, funds were available for upgrading the laboratory until about 1998. After the termination of this project, it has become difficult to find funds for the periodical upgrading of hardware and software and also to expand the laboratory to cater to the increasing demand. The resources available in the laboratory at present are such as computers, digitizing tablet, plotters, printers, GPS and software (Arc/Info, Arc View, Arc GIS, Idrisi and ERDAS).
After setting up the laboratory in 1994, several GIS and RS courses were introduced at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. There are two undergraduate level courses in GIS which are offered by third and final year students. The former is a module in Automated Cartography and is compulsory for all third year students following the Special Degree in Geography. The third year course is offered to the students of all three media (Sinhala, Tamil and English). An important component of this course is practical training. An advanced course in GIS and remote sensing are offered in the final year. Normally, 8 - 10 students offer these courses. A large number of students apply to take the course, but the number is restricted to 10. A four-hour practical class is conducted for these students and students are encouraged to use the laboratory facilities in their free time.
There are two GIS/Remote Sensing courses offered to the postgraduate students. The MA course is confined to GIS and the M.Phil course has both GIS and Remote Sensing. There are about 5-10 students following these courses every year. The postgraduate lectures and practical classes are conducted on Saturdays and Sundays.
Some undergraduate and postgraduate students use the laboratory for their research as well. Furthermore, the staff members of the Department of Geography also use the laboratory for their research work.
The constraints imposed by the facilities compel us to impose severe restrictions on the use of the laboratory at present. Under the course unit system, the problem will be aggravated even further. There is a huge demand in various government and non-governmental institutions that they start to make use of GIS and Remote Sensing for geographic data analysis and management. With the current level of resources, we are unable to cater to this demand. There is only one large format digitizer, and it is also about 6 years old. It will have to be replaced very soon.
Cartography is the compulsory course for all General and special degree students in the Department of Geography. This course is offered to the students of all three media (Sinhala, Tamil and English) in their second year. An important component of this course is practical training. Cartography room helps to achieve the above task. A Collection of topographical maps, aerial photographs and cartographical equipment like microscopes are available here.
PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY LABORATORY (KNOWN AS SOIL LAB)
The physical geography laboratory was established in late 80s in the Department of Geography. The available facilities are including equipment for textual analysis, drying of sample glassware and microscopes. The Department of Geography has facilities for the analysis of soil and sediment currently. This physical geography laboratory is used for practical demonstration of analysis methods and equipments but due to the unavailability of chemicals and other infrastructure facilities, no practical classes are conducted for undergraduate and postgraduate students at the moment.