College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences

Department of Geography sets the standard with new online glossary

In line with Unisa's transformation and language policy, the Department of Geography, under the leadership of Prof Rudi Pretorius, has transferred its multilingual glossary from a paper-based resource to an online platform. It was also expanded from the original 200 terms, and their explanations, to now include a total of 300 terms. The platform, called Geoterm, intends to assist users with their comprehension and application of geographical terminology in English, isiZulu, Sesotho sa Leboa and Afrikaans.

Geoterm makes it possible to search for specific Geography and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) terms and their explanations. Apart from browsing Geoterm and viewing separate entries, users can also search for a term in any of the four languages covered.

The selection of terms relates to the undergraduate modules offered by the Department of Geography at Unisa, and is intended to support the teaching and learning project of the department within a multilingual context. The glossary will assist students with the correct use and understanding of the terminology in the subject fields that are covered. It will not only be of value to Unisa Geography students, but also to lecturers and students at other universities, school teachers and learners, and a wide variety of stakeholders in civil society and industry.

Each term is briefly defined, described and/or explained. In most cases, examples are included to enhance definitions, descriptions and explanations. This helps to convert abstract concepts to the realities of the world. Preference was given to examples from South Africa and Southern Africa, where most of Unisa's students reside. Where applicable, cross-references to other terms in the glossary has been provided.

The department wants all users to have a positive experience while using this platform. If you have any suggestions or feedback, or if you would like to contact the developers for any reason, please use the contact option supplied on every page. It consists of a text box in which you can type your message. You can also add your name and e-mail address in different fields, so that we can get back to you.

Geoterm runs on Terminator software, which is free to use and distribute. This online glossary is available to schools, other universities and the public as an open educational resource (OER).

Click here to access Geoterm.


* By Sanet Carow and Prof Rudi Pretorius, Department of Geography, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Publish date: 2023/03/16