Lao Projects


Project Background

Town of Luang Prabang is located at the Luang Prabang provice, which is situated at the Northern part of Laos. Town of Luang Prabang was inscribed as the world heritage site in 1995 based on the following Outstanding Universal Values:

Criterion (ii):  Luang Prabang reflects the exceptional fusion of Lao traditional architecture and 19th and 20th century European colonial style buildings.

Criterion (iv): Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble built over the centuries combining sophisticated architecture of religious buildings, vernacular constructions and colonial buildings.

Criterion (v): The unique townscape of Luang Prabang is remarkably well preserved, illustrating a key stage in the blending of two distinct cultural traditions.

This research project aims to promote sustainable development using integrated approach, by motivating local experts and communities to participate in the cultural heritage preservation and development.

Since the beginning of our collaboration with Department of World Heritage, Luang Prabang (DPL), multiple needs assessments were carried out to identify most applicable and useful information and communication technology to assist sound development of heritage site of Luang Prabang.  Collaborative works have ranged from development of heritage database with open source software, management of landscape using VR panorama, establishment of knowledge management system, chronological analysis on landscape and environmental changes using GIS, development of mobile learning application for public awareness, to riverbank management using drone.  Through various project activities, we have closely worked with local architects, urban planners, ICT specialists on specific activities with technologies to help develop strong local human resources.  Our evidence-based analysis was presented in special symposiums to commemorate 15th and 20th anniversaries of World Heritage inscription of Luang Prabang in 2010 and 2015. The following section illustrates the summary of our collaboration.



Informtion Brochure


Summary of Projects

Current Project

Phase 4: 2017 – Present Present Research on Sustainable Introduction of GIS Analysis for Preserving Landscape of World Heritage Site in Lao PDR

DPL is revising Heritage Development and Preservation Master Plan (PSMV) including regulations on construction at the present which is 23 years after the World Heritage inscription. For the revision, the analysis of the landscape changes is an urgent need for DPL to reflect the result of the analysis of the revised PSMV. Besides, DPL needs to reflect the opinions on the current regulations of local residents in the next PSMV. As a result, Tokyo Tech team focuses especially on buildings, analyses the landscape changes using GIS, and surveys reasons behind the changes by questionnaire in collaboration with DPL staff. In the end, it aims at making the result useful to DPL for revising the current PSMV.

The analysis was conducted with 6 attributes: 1) building usage; 2) building architecture; 3) building materials; 4) building roof materials; 5) building story; and 6) building condition.

The examples are shown below.

Analysis of Landscape Changes in ZPP-UA
Example 1: Building Architecture

Example 2: Building Materials

Example 3: Roof materials

Previous Projects

Phase 3: 2013 – 2015 Research and Practice on Sustainable ICT Application for World Heritage Site in Developing Country

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) had been rapidly developed, so the necessity for reviewing methodologies of previous project activities was becoming important. Responding to the necessity, the following three activities related to the application of ICT were conducted for the sustainable heritage preservation: 1) introduction of mobile learning application; 2) pond and wetland analysis using GIS; and 3) application of drone for riverbank monitoring activities. To be concrete, development of mobile learning application for raising public awareness of heritage preservation, visualization and analysis of ponds and wetlands using GIS, and application of a drone to monitor the riverbank from the sky, were conducted. In these activities, it aimed not only at introducing and utilize new ICTs but considering the sustainable methodologies of ICTs by comparing the previous project activities

Related Workshop:

Workshop on Mobile learning application


Workshop on Monitoring of the riverbank using drone


Workshop on GIS analysis of ponds and wetlands



Phase 2:  2009 – 2011 GIS Development in World Heritage Sites in Developing Countries

According to “Reactive Monitoring Mission to the Town of Luang Prabang World Heritage Property, Lao PDR” published by UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2007, Luang Prabang might be enlisted as heritage in danger due to increasing illegal construction in the heritage area if there were without any protection policy. There are regulations on heritage preservation, but the current management system is not capable to conduct an effective analysis. Therefore, GIS analysis was considered as an effective method for effective analysis. In this research, the application of GIS for the sustainable World Heritage development was investigated. In addition to GIS, two activities were conducted: 1) development of Virtual reality (VR) panorama street view to visually manage the landscape; and 2) Knowledge Management System “Evernote” was introduced and applied to share information between DPL and Tokyo Tech, and to sustainably manage knowledge for training future staff.

Related Workshop:

Workshop on VR panorama


Workshop on Knowledge Management System


Workshop on GIS analysis of six core villages


  • Summary of Project Activities

Phase 1:  2005 – 2007 Application of ICT to Promote Sustainable Development, A Case Study: Town of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR

From 2005 to 2007, the joint project “Application of ICT to Promote Sustainable Development, A Case Study: Town of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR” was implemented between UNESCO, the Maison du Patrimoine (MdP) which is Luang Prabang’s core administrative organization concerned with heritage, and Tokyo Tech. Tokyo Tech undertook the project to introduce proper Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), with the goal of emphasizing the importance of the conservation agenda in sustainable developing while also building the capacity of the local population to use such technologies.  Through the project, two application of ICT for conservation and sustainable development were identified. First, the development of database. The database was created to make effective management and utilization of significant information on Luang Prabang. Second, the establishment of ICT center. ICT center was established to provide ease access to information and knowledge on the World Heritage Site to local communities and visitors.


Heritage dataabse


ICT center

Interim Report










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