AP Pucher, KK Kriz, MK Kinberger

University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Regional Research, Vienna Austria


The Cultural History of the Western Himalaya from the 8th Century is a National Research Network (NRN) funded by the Austrian Science Fund. One of the project parts, conducted by the University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Regional Research, is aiming at assembling a Cultural History Information System (CHIS) of the Western Himalaya. The basic question to be addressed within the scope of the project is to what extent a Geographic Information System can be assembled to deliver an integrated cartographic decision-support tool for information-collection and analysis visualization that stores data gathered from multiple resources and provide a communal internet-delivered repository of information and geo-located artifacts? Because of the diverse research fields of the project partners (Art history, numismatics, Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan and Sanskrit philology, and ethnography of the Western Himalaya), the goal of the CHIS is based on high quality cartographic output which allows the user to derive a holistic view of the entire data within a regional, cultural, as well as historical context.


The specific tasks and research goals that will be addressed in the scope of this sub-project within the NRN are the fields of applied research related to enhancing methods of information communication by the means of cartographic communication, information architecture as well as functionality issues and multidimensional representation of spatially enabled cultural history information. The principles of cartographic communication offer modern means to current cartography and geo-communication and thereby enable efficient analyses and visualizations in order to disseminate up-to-date information.

The methodologies required for using the overarching concept of a GIS resource will be addressed in the context of providing geo-located information for the overall project. Also, the appropriateness of this methodology for the provision of geo-located information as a shared resource that can be used as a tool for this type of research will be evaluated. Finally, rules for the design, building, delivery, and best use of such a system will be developed, evaluated, refined, and employed in building the information system for the use in the project by other sub-project researchers.


The paper gives an overview about the sub-project within the NRN, its aims and the role of the geo-visualization experts for sustainable knowledge transfer and communication between the project partners.