Ayathuyya goes high-tech

Thailand announces an ambitious project to leverage information technology to enhance visitor services and information resources by digitizing cultural heritage collections and using IT to help with visitor planning. Among the plans are the use of RFID tags in place of paper tickets at the Chao Sam Praya museum at Ayutthaya, as well as the dissemination of content over mobile phones and Google maps. It sounds pretty progressive and forward-looking, although I’m a bit skeptical about how accessible such content can be for say, the rural poor who have problems accessing a computer or have limited use with a mobile phone. I’m also a bit skeptical about the use of RFID tags in the museum – it’s not particularly big and I suspect implementing such a system will cost ridiculously more than then paper ticket system. However the initiative certainly seems to be aimed at local collaboration rather than the tourist dollar, which is a step in the right direction. I wonder what lessons will be learned from this.

Digitising Thailand’s cultural attractions
Bangkok Post, 23 September 2009

Wandering through cultural attractions and museums will become more rewarding once you are able to view items and locations over the web to aid trip-planning.

The Culture Ministry and Science and Technology Ministry have collaborated to digitise cultural and art content to enhance access to and preservation of cultural heritage resources.

Ayutthaya is the first province in which the Culture Ministry has integrated historical information and presented it to visitors, in both still photographs and videos.

Visitors can also look around the surrounding area via geographical information system (GIS) over the Internet, by computer or mobile phone. The website will be launched soon.

At the Chao Sam Praya museum, in stead of receiving a conventional paper ticket, visitors will get a wristband with radio frequency identification (RFID) tag to identify the registered visitors.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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