Yangyel Lhaden 

National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS)  and Thimphu thromde are waiting to present the geo-spatial data for city addressing system to the Cabinet, If approved, Thimphu could soon have a proper city addressing system (CAS).

For four months beginning in May last year, 16 officials from NLCS, Thimphu thromde, Ministry of Works and Human Settlement, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology, and Ministry of Economic Affairs thoroughly reviewed the existing addressing system and developed conventions or rules for the new CAS.

Thimphu thromde in 2012 tried a similar thing in the past to implement CAS. NLCS Director Geley Norbu said, “But it was not comprehensive and did not follow any international convention.”

Deputy Chief Survey Engineer Sonam Yangdon said the team had to extensively study the existing addressing system and tried to understand what naming and numbering convention thromde used.

She said without technical expertise and representative from thromde involved in the project in the past posed challenge. “We did an extensive literature review and developed street names and numbers according to international standards in relation to Bhutanese context.”

Thimphu thromde’s Chief Urban Planner Thinley Norbu said that CAS project for the core city stopped when the official in charge of the project was transferred. There was no official who could take up the project.

City Addressing System 

The anatomy of CAS simply put is: Unit 201, 153 Tshalu Lam, 11001, Thimphu reads a unit of the second floor of building number 153 along Tshalu Lam in Semtokha, Thimphu.

To develop CAS reference point and baseline, classification of streets, naming, and numbering of streets, updating missing streets, review of street name and building number, and field verification was developed according to conventions.

Geley Norbu said that developing convention was important as it could be used to replicate in other dzongkhags.

Sonam Yangdon said existing street names and building numbers would change with the new convention.

Deputy Chief Survey Engineer Samdrup Dorji  said that the convention was also developed to cater to new streets and buildings in future. “Currently, more than 1,000 street names are developed in consultation with relevant stakeholders and consultations with elderly people.”

Currently, the database of CAS  is uploaded in MAPS.ME. NLCS is working on developing an application for navigation to track routes according to CAS.

Sonam Zangmo said that MAPS.ME was an open-source software. “With our own application, we can authenticate and verify the routes and places.”

Geley Norbu said that the approval of street names, ownership and management of CAS, adaptation of CAS convention across the country, and change of address would be presented to the Cabinet for approval and intervention.

He said, “Two or three officials can be attached with us and learn about the system and take over when they are confident enough.”

Geley Norbu said the budget for constructing infrastructure for CAS would also be proposed to the Cabinet.

He said that the change of address of individuals should also come into effect by law.  “Change of address should be updated immediately by individuals if they change their residence or else CAS will not be effective.”