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.
A couple of weeks ago, I visited Thailand and made a trip to the ancient city of Ayutthaya, capital of the Siamese kingdom from the 14th to 18th centuries. The city eventually fell to the Burmese, and the kingdom moved the capital to what is known as Bangkok today. But the ancient city still endures, and today it’s a World Heritage Site that’s a great way to spend a day or two if you’re based in Bangkok. In this post I’ll highlight some of the major sites and ruins in the Ayutthaya Historical Park.