The Sarnath International Nyingma Institute (SINI) in Uttar Pradesh was founded by Tarthang Tulku in 2008 and began its operations in 2013. It is presently directed by his daughter, Ms. Tsering Palmo Gellek. The Institute builds on the organisational knowledge and momentum of decades of cultural preservation work carried out both in Tibet and the US by its sister organisations.
In 2016, the SINI signed an MoU with JGU with the fundamental aim of cultural/educational exchanges. Presently, the SINI hosts a school of about 20 Tibetan monks, of varied age groups and about seven international faculty hailing from the US, Canada, Brazil, etc., primarily engaged in teaching the English language.
The mapping workshop was organised as a joint initiative between SINI and the Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities with the aim of demonstrating the capabilities of Geographic Information System (GIS) as a tool to understand spatial patterns of geographic entities that also change over time.
The two-day workshop resulted in the production of detailed maps of the SINI campus as well the 'projected' future layout in which monks and faculty designed their vision of the campus in 2025. Through interactive sessions the monks learned how maps and the process of map-making evolved over time into modern computer-based techniques including the global positioning system (GPS). Applications of GIS in urban and regional planning, environmental studies, migration and several other interdisciplinary topics that require thorough appraisal of spatial patterns and knowledge of interconnectedness of geographic space were among the key workshop topics.
The workshop demonstrated how concepts of mapping could be used to understand the effects of expanding human dimensions on natural ecosystems and how authorities could employ mapping in sound decision-making.