The application of geographic information systems (GIS) has helped the ancient city of Hue in central Thua Thien-Hue province to put forth plans and strategies to manage and preserve local heritage sites, starting with the tomb of King Minh Mang.

The idea won the consolation prize in the 2014 Vietnam Science and Technology Innovation Awards.

Director of the Hue Relics Preservation Centre Phan Thanh Hai said the tomb was built between 1840 and 1843 on an area of 28 hectares, including 40 structures.

The tomb was awarded national relic site status in 1979 and was enlisted together with the Hue Imperial Citadel as UNESCO World Heritage in 1993.

GIS technology is being applied to define the values of the tomb and its surrounding area based on different criteria, such as historical construction, restoration and tourism potential.

By thoroughly analysing the GIS database of information on the site, the centre identified specific measures to protect the relic site and surrounding natural landscapes in the context of urban development.

The centre is currently developing detailed maps of the tomb and its vicinities, which will serve as useful tools for preserving and upgrading the tomb and developing tourism in the future.

The centre has also produced charts featuring the number of visitors to the tomb and has decentralised the administrative procedures for restoration projects.

Hue ’s urban heritage is closely linked to the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945). During this period, hundreds of historical structures were built, including the imperial Hue Citadel.

The application of GIS technology will help the centre implement heritage management approaches more effectively and meet the UNESCO requirements in this field.

In the future, this technology will be applied to other relic sites in the imperial Hue Citadel’s relic system.

Municipal authorities are in the process of developing a tree management plan based on the application of GIS technology.-VNA