The application of GIS in railway heritage management: the case of Yunnan-Vietnam Railway
Railways were a key mode of transporting goods and people for industrial and urban development in the late modern age. Their special part in economic growth comes with their role in the development of cultural heritage along their pathways. However, because of competing urban construction, many railway heritages are in danger, such as the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway (YVR) in China, an important international narrow-gauge railway built in 1901, acknowledged as a railway heritage in 2018. As a typical linear heritage, the railway integrates both the natural and cultural landscapes, related to the large spatial extent and complex composition of single heritage elements. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) offer a great support in the investigation, assessment, and management of railway heritage. In this research, the huge cultural heritage related to the YVR was studied using a combined geo-historical and GIS approach. This paper aims to 1) give a brief review of the current status of the application of GIS on linear railway heritages studies, including heritage resources surveys, spatial analysis, thematic mapping and public service, 2) introduce the case study of the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway, and 3) present a geodatabase design for the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway heritage management.