It has become difficult to locate places or sites without a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) based street mapping in Thimphu.
Letters and parcels sent via post have to be picked up personally from the Bhutan Post Office till date. It is also difficult for the delivery person to find the exact location or address to deliver food or vegetables, groceries and other packages.
Thimphu Thromde with Bhutan Postal Corporation Limited had launched a project in 2012 to establish a GIS-based city addressing system to ensure for an effective door-to-door service delivery. As there is no result from the project, Thimphu Thromde now plans to revisit and work with more partners, such as the National Land Commission (NLC) and Dzongkha Development Commission (DDC) to build the proper city address system.
Thimphu Thromde intends to establish a good City Addressing System (CAS) that will benefit everyone said Sonam Zam from the Urban Planning Division under Thimphu Thromde.
CAS is a navigating property that will provide the names of places, buildings, and streets, making navigation easier.
She said that it will be beneficial to service providers, including tourists, in locating their destination or place. CAS will serve the government offices and public-oriented enterprises in a variety of ways, including issuing notification letters, distributing bills, newspapers, promotional pamphlets, product advertisements, locating clients for parcel and food delivery, and so on.
“Thromde is in charge of water, road, and waste concerns, and if someone complains about any of the services, Thromde will be able to know where the complaint is coming from, making it easier to solve it immediately,” she said.
She said, “Bhutan Post had already done something similar, but it was limited to the main area. So now that the scope has expanded, in terms of area, we need to look at it holistically and build a guideline so that if it expands in the future, we will know what we need to do in terms of numbering, hierarchy, and the system to follow.”
She added that the previously completed system was a one-time stipulation. Also, NLC did so before the COVID-19 outbreak, and there was no guideline in place.
“So, basically, we’ll be going back to what they’ve done because we don’t want to overlook the previous team’s hard work. Because we’re the intervention agency, we’re not starting from scratch, but revisiting and improving on what they’ve done,” she added.
She said that there is a lack of generic term; for example, numerous locations are named Norzin Lam, Thori Lam, Dechen Lam and so on. “Because there will be numerous branches in that Lam, Thromde will have a difficult time with the terminology, so we had an informal talk with Dzongkha Development Commission. Once we start, we will work formally,” she said.
The project is expected to be completed within six months’ timeframe, as promised by the Thrompon. Thromde plans to finish developing the guidelines within six months, and then start the work on installing the sign boards, which will be a difficult task for Thromde to complete on its own. As a result, Thromde will work with stakeholders such as NLC and DDC. Thromde will formally start the work by August this year.
She added, “For Thromde, the most crucial aspect of street addressing is that we want to know where people live, and what kind of service problems they are facing. So, if we receive a complaint from Changbangdu, we will know how long it took to remedy the problem and what the problem is, whether it is water or other services.”
According to Thimphu Thrompon Ugyen Dorji, it will change the working style, not only for Thromde, but also for many other organizations.