A group of friends, one their way to offer wishes to a recently promoted friend, took nearly 30 minutes to locate the “new building” at Bebena, the place of the ceremony. They didn’t even know where the new Drathsang guest house, the landmark given to find the building “opposite the Dratshang Guest house.”
Another group heading to a baby-shower ceremony is given the address: Wangchen Restaurant, Behind RSPN building, Kawajangsa. The group has to first find out the RSPN building and then the restaurant. A bakery’s delivery boy couldn’t find Norpheling Hotel in Babesa to deliver the cake to the caller who resides “near the Norpheling Hotel.”
Getting around Thimphu can be a nightmare, especially if time is not on your side. We still have to look for the tall yellow or white building or other popular landmarks to look for places behind, in front or beside them. It has become more complicated with new buildings that almost look identical popping up every now and then. The capital city has grown beyond recognition and a proper addressing system seems to be the only solution. The city has expanded into the forests surrounding it. There will be no landmark to give directions to friends visiting or delivery service agents.
That the National Land Commission and Thimphu Thromde has readied a geospatial data for the city’s addressing system (CAS) is welcomed. It will be submitted to the Cabinet and we could soon see it rolled out. It should receive the Cabinet’s priority, as a proper address system is long overdue. Attempts for a street address system were made as early as 2001 when the grand Thimphu structural plan 2002- 2007 was being finalised. It has been almost two decades, but it is worth the wait if we can come up with a good CAS.
The capital’s residents are not used to streets and lanes even if we have named streets. Apart from Norzin and Changlam, not many know the other streets by their name. With a CAS and a mobile App system, getting around and finding places would become easier. For instance, Bhutanese arriving in a new country with geospatial systems can start driving from places to places guided by GPS.
With CAS, more and more people will become used to the numerous new street names that today are not aware even among those who came up with it (names). Besides, a proper address system will come with many other advantages. As it involves mapping every street, road and building in the city, such information would be extremely useful for urban planning, prompt response to disasters and many more. In an emergency situation, we need not look for the tall building or the red building but punch the address of the house or office and get to it straight.