The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that for centuries were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Euro-Asian continent connecting the East and West from China to the Mediterranean Sea. Trade on the Silk Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arab countries, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations.Re-opening this road facilitates communication between scientists and policy makers especially in the field of natural resources management.
The initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (often referred to as the Belt and the Road initiative, B&R) was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visits in the Central Asia and Southeast Asia in 2013. The B&R initiative’s goal is to jointly promote worldwide common and shared development through cooperation and partnerships across a wide range of fields. Since proposed, this B&R initiative has attracted wide international attention and support. There are many environmental problems that are beyond the countries border such as climate change, dust storms and water resources management. All the countries along the Silk Road can benefit from international collaboration and holistic management.
However, international cooperation along nowadays Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) challenging. Geographic Information Science community and Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) facilities of all related countries across and demanding international scientific network for scientists and institutions for supporting development of regional SDI.
Therefore, Department of Natural Resources of Isfahan University of Technology (IUT) and Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography of Chinese Academy of Sciences agreed to initiate a regional GIS conference series for support the demand of GIScience community from 2017.
First SilkGIS Conference (2017) now has opened its Call for Papers (CFP) and registration. The conference is scheduled for May 24-26 in Isfahan, Iran. The main objectives of the conference are to bring together GIS and remote sensing academics, researchers and practitioners from countries SREB as well as worldwide to encourage international cooperation and knowledge exchange in GIS(cience) education.
SilkGIS 2017 is focused on the theme of "Silk Road: connecting the East and the West in the past, present and future". GIScience as a conceptual foundation, Geoinformatics as a methodology and GIS as software are powerful instruments for linking information from different sources by location. This is exactly what is needed to manage our environments and natural resources, and to assess risks arising from natural, technical and social factors to support regional economical sustainable development.
Geographic Information Science and Technologies have evolved into a key instrument for managing our societies, environments and infrastructures, as well as individuals’ daily lives. Continued success of this development depends on cooperation across disciplines, open information policies and a highly educated workforce. The SilkGIS series of conferences aims at building SREB network of GIS and remote sensing professionals supporting the sustained development of this region into an environmentally friendly, secure and prosperous society.