Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Statistical yearbook 1923

Google books has scanned many very old reference books, but they are all only visible in the snippit mode, teasing enough to make sure its the resource one would need but still making it impossible to use them. It is quite annoying to have valuable information so near and still so far. When I last week again tried in vain to check the old yearbooks in the online library of the NSO - the scans there stop after a few pages - and then looked Google Books, I noticed that there actually is a form to ask for a book to be fully available. Without much hope I entered it for the 1923 yearbook, stating that by Thai law works from juristic persons have a copyright term of 50 years after publication and it thus should be long freely available. And to my total surprise - just one week later I received an email that the review is done, and the book is now fully readable.

Though they just changed access to this one year edition - after this success I'll do the same request for the other years as well later - it gives access quite a lot of interesting tables. The number of administrative units in 1922 for each of the 18 Monthon - totally there were 80 provinces, 421 districts and 5061 subdistricts. And most useful - and the reason why I chose this edition in my request - are the population numbers for each of the provinces from the 1919 census. The 1952 yearbook strangely had lot of nonsense numbers for this year. Also, especially the 1952 yearbook hide the fact that there were more provinces in 1919, and quietly added them to those provinces into which these were integrated in 1932.

There are some notable data points for some provinces. Phra Nakhon and  Phuket had far more male than female citizen, the ratio was over 130% for these. Though the numbers by nationality are only listed at Monthon level, these two Monthon have far less Siamese than others, and instead lots of Chinese - indicating there were many single male workers who could not bring a Chinese wife. Even more striking are the numbers for Monthon Pattani - only 15% of the population is listed as Siamese, the majority are Malay. The table is titled by "nationality", and not ethnic group, hence it seems that these were not considered full citizens back then. 100 years later the lack of integration of these people is still and unresolved problem...

Apart from the rather unusual way the province names were romanized in this edition of the yearbook, there are two province where a different name is listed than the one I expected - Lampang and Nan both are preceded by the word "Nakhon". While I had read about it for Lampang before, I have to investigate these further - at least there seems to be no official Royal Gazette announcement removing the "Nakhon" from these province names.

Anyway, now the census 1919 XML has been updated with all the data, the numbers of subdivisions are in a Yearbook1923.XML, and I will also soon update my big spreadsheet to show these province population numbers as well. And for those who prefer spreadsheets over XML, there's also a spreadsheet with the 1923 data I picked from the book. Next projects now should be to get the 1909 and the 1929 census data from yearbooks as well.

Friday, September 1, 2017

180 Khwaeng in Bangkok

It seems the number of subdistricts (Khwaeng, แขวง) in Bangkok has just or will very soon be increased from 169 to 180. The Thai Wikipedia Potapt, who is very active in keeping the articles on the subdivisions up-to-date in the Thai Wikipedia, has just updated all the relevant articles both in the Thai and in the English Wikipedia. I haven't yet seen any announcement in the Royal Gazette, but as he is always quite conservative in adding things, I trust he has very good sources that these changes are indeed forthcoming - but will wait till I have the official announcement to update Wikidata and the German Wikipedia then.

The new subdistricts will end the oddity of districts with just a single subdistrict. Its sad that the latest list of the ccaatt codes was just published, so it will be a guessing game which numbers are to be assigned to the new districts.

  • Phra Khanong district: Bang Chak subdistrict split to create Phra Khanong Tai subdistrict (แขวงพระโขนงใต้). District will have 2 subdistricts now, new subdistrict probably receiving the code 100910 as the next free code.
  • Phaya Thai district: Sam Sen Nai subdistrict split to create Phaya Thai subdistrict (แขวงพญาไท). District will have 2 subdistricts now, new subdistrict probably receiving the code 101406. The original subdistricts having the name Phaya Thai in their name were split off to Ratchathewi district in 1989.
  • Din Daeng district: Din Daeng subdistrict split to create Ratchadaphisek subdistrict (แขวงรัชดาภิเษก). District will have 2 subdistricts now, new subdistrict probably receiving the code 102602.
  • Suan Luang district: Suan Luang subdistrict split to create On Nut and Phatthanakan subdistricts (แขวงอ่อนนุช, แขวงพัฒนาการ). District will have 3 subdistricts now.
  • Saphan Sung district: Saphan Sung subdistrict split to create Rat Phatthana and Thap Chang subdistricts (แขวงราษฎร์พัฒนา, แขวงทับช้าง). District will have 3 subdistricts now.
  • Bang Na district: Bang Na subdistrict split into two new subdistrict named Bang Na Nuea (แขวงบางนาเหนือ) and Bang Na Tai (แขวงบางนาใต้). It remains to be seen if this will be done by abolishing the previous subdistrict and creating two new subdistricts, or by renaming it and creating one new ones.
  • Bang Bon district: Bang Bon subdistrict split into four new subdistrict named Bang Bon Nuea (แขวงบางบอนเหนือ), Bang Bon Tai (แขวงบางบอนใต้), Khlong Bang Phran (แขวคลองบางพราน) and Khlong Bang Bon (แขวงคลองบางบอน). It remains to be seen if this will be done by abolishing the previous subdistrict and creating four new ones, or by renaming it and creating three new ones.

Friday, August 25, 2017

ccaatt lists of 2017

Earlier this month, DOPA uploaded a new version of their geocode lists, this time changing the format to XLS files. Whereas the rcode file (containing codes for the municipalities) shows no changes compared to the list from last year, there is only one changes in the ccaatt list - it now only contains the Tambon, all the provinces, districts as well as the subdistricts in Bangkok were removed. I have no idea ifr this was intentionally, or a mistake when changing to the XLS format. When comparing it my list of tambon, only two spelling variants show up:
  • Ba Rue Si (บุฤๅษี) wrongly spelled บุฤาษี
  • Su-ngai Kolok (สุไหงโกลก) spelled with hyphen as สุไหงโก-ลก
and I noticed I myself had two misspellings in my spreadsheet, copied from some old erroneous lists and long corrected in the XML version.

Thus the only thing interesting at these new files is what they don't contain - no numbers yet for the two districts in planning in Yala province. As I haven't found anything official about them for quite some time, it seems it still needs quite some time till those get created.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Census 1937 district data

The 1937 census reports include the male and female population numbers for each district (Amphoe), a table covering 30 pages in the publication. I have now completed to convert these numbers into a spreadsheet, as well as my XML format, of all the 408 districts covered by the report. While I have no idea how much these numbers differed from the real numbers back then due to shortcomings in the way the census was conducted, but the numbers in the report all sum up perfectly except two or three obvious number errors - e.g. for Lang Suan the female population was given as 21893 instead of 12893.

As this table includes a column with the ratio between male and female population, there are some interesting strange cases. While for most district the ratio is between 87% and  130%, there are a few district where the male population is very dominant. Bannang Sata in Yala has more than the double number of men than women (4994 vs. 2427), also Samphanthawong in Bangkok (then Phra Nakhon province) has 42200 men compared to 27760 women. The later case is easy to explain - this district covers Chinatown, which at that time had many unmarried male Chinese workers. This can also be seen in the percentage of Thai vs. non-Thai citizen - Phra Nakhon had 29.7% of non-Thai citizen, Yala 13.4%, also Phuket and Ranong had more than 10%. These two provinces also had quite some Chinese workers, at that time the tin mining was still a big part of the local economy.

Though this table only included the full district and counted the minor districts (King Amphoe) together with the district which supervised it, it also made a good cross-check of whether my district data is complete. From all the districts which exist today, and where I had the dates of when they became full districts, only the district Thung Yai in Nakhon Si Thammarat - then named Tha Yang (กิ่งอำเภอท่ายาง) - was missing, because its upgrade to a full district sometime between 1941 and 1948 apparently wasn't published in the Royal Gazette. The only other special cases are three districts in Bangkok which were abolished later - Bang Sue, Bang Phlat, Bukkhalo and Nang Loeng were abolished in 1938, the first two were created again in 1989. While these districts are included in the data, interestingly the districts already uses the names changed in 1938, which among other changes gave the capital districts the Amphoe Mueang names.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tambon of Krabi in 1940

The Local Directory of 1940 (ทำเนียบท้องที่ พุทธศักราช 2483) - one of the books I was able to scan from the Pridi Library - gives the number of administrative villages for every subdistrict, thus it gives me a complete list of all the Tambon in that year. As I suspect that not all the Tambon creations and dissolvements have been recording in the Royal Gazette, and the creation of more than 1000 Tambon in one year always has been very suspicious, this list should be great to consolidate my Tambon data.

Working through all 300 pages will take me several months,  yet as a proof of concept I have processed the Tambon list of Krabi, simply as that province is listed first as being the first in Thai alphabet. And with 534 Tambon today its a relatively small province.

In 1940, Krabi had 39 Tambon and 283 Muban in four districts, compared with 8 district, 53 Tambon and 389 Muban today. All of the Tambon listed in 1940 could be directly matched to a present-day one with the same name, so none was dissolved in the meantime. Only Na Nuea (ตำบลนาเหนือ) in Ao Luek isn't found directly, as it is listed as Pak Lao (ตำบลปากลาว) in the book - but corrected as Na Nuea in the appendix. Actually, the Tambon was renamed in 1940 while the book was compiled [Gazette].

Checking the other way round, there is only one Tambon not present in the 1940 list which has no Royal Gazette announcement on it being created - Sai Thai (ตำบลไสไทย) in Mueang district. It was mentioned in a Gazette announcement in 1952, so it was apparently created sometime in the 1940s. And since the 1937 census included a book with the population for each Tambon (more on that later), there is one more Tambon which changed in these years - Khao Din was renamed from Yan Sao, while it was reassigned from Surat Thani in 1937 it is already included in Krabi.

Krabi was an easy pick as a first step to work through that list, the XML with the data will slowly grow later. Sadly, there were none of the 1000 Tambon in this province, so it doesn't answer yet what was that announcement all about. Also, there were no difficulties like dissolved or renamed Tambon without any official records I could find so far. When I am running into such problems I'll certainly write about them


Monday, August 7, 2017

Census 1929

The 1937 census report was published in five parts, which I was able to look into at the Pridi library last month. I scanned a lot of pages of those books, though only a small subset of the whole books - all those will keep me occupied for quite some time to work through and type into Excel sheets and my XML files. But one first part I could finish already last weekend. One of the parts lists the population development from the previous census in 1929. The 1952 yearbook I found earlier also included that data, but strangely there the numbers did not add up, only the numbers for the south matched.

Now the new scans allowed me to get all the population numbers for each province, with the exception that the provinces abolished in 1932 are not listed separately but are included with those provinces into which they were merged then - for example Lang Suan province (จังหวัดหลังสวน) which was added to Chumphon in 1932. Thus now my data sheet contains all the censuses since 1929, as well as the corresponding XML file. As far as I know no other online resource has this data so far, even the great statoids start at 1947, and has wrong numbers for the early census. It turned out that some more provinces had valid numbers in the 1952 yearbook, but its of course strange how the sometimes quite different values could come up. What is also strange in the tables from the census - the numbers for 1937 are not those in the other parts of the report, e.g. the male/female numbers for each province. It looks as if this part of the report was prepared on preliminary numbers before the final numbers had been compiled. I hope the other parts won't show any other inconsistencies.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Two Muban renamed

Two administrative villages were renamed yesterday by publishing the announcements in the Royal Gazette.
  • Ban Thung Phatthana (บ้านทุ่งพัฒนา), Mae Yen subdistrict, Phan district, Chiang Rai, renamed to Ban Mae Yen Klang (บ้านแม่เย็นกลาง) [Gazette]
  • Ban Nong Masang (บ้านหนองมะสัง), Suk Ruethai subdistrict, Huai Khot district, Uthai Thani, renamed to Ban Thung Sali (บ้านทุ่งสาลี) [Gazette]
Both name changes were approved in this years first meeting of the board to consider name changes on April 28 - sadly the agenda or transcript of this meeting isn't available online.

As the announcement were signed by the province governors, the second announcement made me notice that the governor of Uthai Thani had changed recently. On March 4, the governors of Uthai Thani and Samut Sakhon were exchanged with each other [Gazette] outside the normal annual reshuffle usually done in October. But since I didn't notice that exchange till now, my XML were still showing the old assignments.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Library requests

In preparation for my forthcoming annual visit to Thailand, I have checked with some of the online library catalogues whether there are any of the reference works I could use available in one of the libraries I could easily reach while I am in Bangkok. The Pridi Banomyong library of Thammasat University, located right next to Wat Phra Kaeo, has the full reports of the census 1947 and 1937, as well as a few issues of the Local Directory (ทำเนียบท้องที่ พุทธศักราช), most interestingly the 1940 issue. However all these are in the rare book section, so hope I can get access to them.

A bit less interesting are the older issues of the Statistical Yearbook, which are more wide common in university libraries in Thailand. Though not the complete series, the Mahidol Central Library in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, has several of the older issues, so I hopefully can further complete the data series with the number of subdivisions.

But even if I can get access to all the works I looked up, and have enough time to scan all the relevant pages to process when back home, there are still more issues of the yearbook or the even older census reports which would be great to have - and there are also some books or thesis which are impossible to get when having access to the academic sources. Thus I have compiled a list of the library requests and made it a static page, so hopefully someone who has the chance to provide me scan of any of these I would be very grateful. I will update that page whenever I stumble onto something new which I could need, or of course once I can get one of the requested data.

Friday, June 30, 2017

@Amphoe 3/2060 available

The 3rd issue of the @Amphoe magazine was just published online earlier today, right on time that I will be able to pick the paper version this one together with the other issues from the past 12 months when I will be traveling to Thailand next month.

The English language content features an interview with Boonlue Thamtaranurak (บุญลือ ธรรมรานุรักษ์), the chief district office of Galyani Vadhana district in Chiang Mai. Another part is on a new division within the Department of Provincial Administration responsible for the Hajj Affairs of the Thai Muslims, following the 3rd amendment of the Hajj Affairs Advancement Act (พระราชบัญญัติส่งเสริมกิจการฮัจย์ (ฉบับที่ ๓) พ.ศ. ๒๕๕๙) which took effect December last year.

Also, as in every issue, one province with its touristic highlights is features, this time Chanthaburi in the east of Thailand - hence the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on the title page of the magazine - one of the few beautiful Roman Catholic churches in Thailand.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Number of Tambon in 1947

Table A15 - Population for Urban
and rural size group, 1947
Another interesting table found in the 1952 Statistical Yearbook are A15 and A16, which list the number of Tambon for each province, including a grouping by the population number. According to that table, in 1947 there were 3650 subdistricts, split into several categories according to the population number.

ClassNumberPopulationPercent
All365017442689100.00
Urban26951584512590.85
>20,000298387264.81
10,000-19,999250312537817.92
5,000-9,999960658232037.74
2,500-4,9991456529870130.38
Rural95515975649.15
1,000-2,49981815079348.64
<1,00013789,6300.51
Table A16 then gives the number of Tambon for each province, split into the urban and rural Tambon. While these numbers arer interesting by themselves - though would be even better if have numbers to compare from other censuses - for me the most important one is the absolute number, as I intend to have a complete overview when which subdistrict was created. Calculating back from the current number of subdistrict and all the subdistrict creations published in the Royal Gazette, I get to a number of 4581 in 1950 - or maybe a few more as my algorithm doesn't handle the abolished entities correctly yet. This leaves about 1000 Tambon missing - though there is the strange 1947 Royal Gazette announcement on the creation of 674 Tambon.

I have two other very old Tambon numbers, the 1964 Statistical Yearbook lists 4893 for the reference date February 17 (my algorithm says 4889 for January 1st), and more interesting the 1917 Yearbook gives a number of 5052. Thus it seems it were not just the Monthon and some provinces which were abolished in the 1930s, but also many subdistricts, and these unlike the higher administrative units were never announced in the Royal Gazette.

It seems the only way to find more information to resolve these number issues will be old issues of the Loyal Directory book (ทำเนียบท้องที่), something which can only be done in a few libraries in Thailand. The Pridi Banomyong Library at the Thammasat University has the 1940 (2483) issue - I hope I will find chance to visit there during my forthcoming vacation in Thailand, and hope I will be allowed to photograph all the relevant pages to compile a digital list later. The book is in the rare book collection, and given its age probably must be handled with lot of care. It would be just great if this whole book series would get scanned and made publicly available - even Google Books hasn't scanned any of them yet, though even there it would probably be inaccessible.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Census 1947 and 1937

After I had found an online resource with the census reports starting in 1960, I was trying to find the older data as well. However, the online library of the National Statistics Office does not have the earlier census reports, and those few issues of the Statistical Yearbook in there have only few pages available - the recent issues which are completely available don't give any details on older censuses other than the regional aggregates. If I were in Thailand, I could of course visit some of the university libraries in Bangkok which have such old printed books - but since I am only there for vacation annually, I never made it yet to find such a book in a library.

But finally, Google and some luck helped to locate a scanned version of the 1952 Statistical Yearbook at archive.org. Google Books would have many more issues, but all of them only in snippet view, so totally unusable. And in that 1952 issue, several tables show at least partial data from the early censuses.
  • Table A3 - Population by Sex by Changwat, 1929, 1937 and 1947
  • Table A4 - Percentual changes of population by region and changwat, 1929, 1937 and 1947
  • Table A5 - Population per square km by changwat, 1937 and 1947
  • Table A6 - Population and area of Thai Changwats, 1947
  • Table A7 - Population and area of Thai Changwats, by Size, 1947
  • Table A17 - Population of  Municipalities, 1947
Despite the table title, A4 also included the census 1919 - however the data for 1919 and 1929 is rather inconsistent - the numbers don't sum up, out of the provinces abolished in 1933 only Sukhothai/Sawankhalok is considered, Si Sa Ket is left out though it was not newly created but renamed in 1939, thus for now I have to leave out these numbers. But for 1937 and 1947, I could now extract the numbers for each province including the numbers for each gender as well as the municipal population. I certainly would still love to get the census reports itself in my hands, especially if those go down to district levels like the later census reports, but now I already have more and better data than e.g. statoids. Of course, I already uploaded the new data to Wikidata as well as added the numbers to my spreadsheet and the corresponding XML files.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Translations of Thai laws on Wikisource

Royal decree creation Galyani Vadhana district
One of the lesser known sites within the Wikipedia universe is Wikisource, which aims to collect and translate source texts which have their copyright expired or are in the public domain already - similar with the Project Gutenberg but with a wider scope, as it is not limited to books. By the Thai copyright act, Thai laws like all documents produced by government directly, are not protected by copyright, thus everyone is free to reproduce these texts.

Thanks to one diligent user, there not just the Thai texts of several laws or acts online there, but also really good English translations  - much better than the English translation of the municipality act I bought as a book several years ago, and still haven't made it to write up the slating review. Those interesting law texts concerning the subdivisions available in English are the following:
Especially as the laws for the creation and upgrade of districts are worded very similar, it'd be relatively easy to add more, but sadly my time is limited so I haven't been active on these myself. Besides, more interesting would be translations of acts like the municipality act, which give the legal background on how the various subdivisions are supposed to work. However, the amendments of the Bangkok Meltropolitan Administration Act are the only ones in this class.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Residence of Phraya Anuman Rajadhon

As its very quiet in the Royal Gazette regarding the administrative subdivision, I'd like to report the announcement of a new historical monument (เขตที่ดินโบราณสถาน) - the former residence of Phraya Anuman Rajadhon (บ้านพระยาอนุมานราชธน) in Bang Rak district, Bangkok.

Phraya Anuman (1888–1969) was a very notable anthropologist, who researched and wrote a lot about Thai culture, though sadly most of his works were never translated and thus remain behind the language barrier. He worked for the renowned Royal Institute, and even made it to become president of the Siam Society shortly before his death.

Map of the historical site
His residence in Soi 2 of Narathiwat road in Bang Rak district, not far from Chong Nonsi BTS station, has now been registered as a national historical site. The whole plot of the residence, an area of 1076 m² (2 งาน 69 ตารางวา) has been included as can be seen on the map which has been included with the announcement. The map also includes a list of nine numbered locations within the compound, not sure whether these are listed for orientation or whether these are actually notable parts of the monument.
  1. บ้านพระยาอนุมานราชธน (Residence)
  2. บ้านหลังเล็ก (Side house)
  3. อาคารที่พัก (Staff house)
  4. ศาลาแปดเหลี่ยม (Octogon pavillion)
  5. ห้องน้ำ (Toilet)
  6. ซุ้มไม้ระแนง (Pergola)
  7. สระน้ำ (Pool)
  8. ปั๊มน้ำ (Water pump)
  9. รูปแกะสลักสิงห์ (Stone lions)
I have added this new site to the list on the Thai Wikipedia - oddly this was a totally new site, not one of the many sites which were already listed by the Fine Arts Department but not announced officially in the Royal Gazette. Sadly the GIS site of the finearts department no longer allows to link the individual sites anymore - but even on the map this new site isn't listed yet, so this site apparently has no official Fine Arts ID number yet. I have also added an item in Wikidata, which (if all the sites were added someday) would allow to create a GIS map with a relatively simple query like my map of monuments in Bangkok Noi district. And since I also collect the monuments on my XML data files, here's the diff which added this site and the corresponding announcement.

From what the building looks like in Streetview, it seems this will be a difficult target to take a photo for the forthcoming next round of Wiki Loves Monument in September, unless someone knows the present owners. I probably get to that area in my forthcoming next holiday visit in Thailand, so I will at least be able to take a street view photo myself.

Monday, May 22, 2017

@Amphoe issue 2/2017

This years second edition of the @amphoe magazine has been made available as a PDF file (almost 50MB size), not sure whether it was this time uploaded before it gets available in the province halls and other locations. As usual, there is some limited amount of content in both Thai and English.
  • An interview with Ms. Phumarin Khongpiantham (น.ส. ภูมารินทร์ คงเพียรธรรม), the chief district officer of Na Haeo district in Loei on the specific problems of this very remote district at the boundary to Laos.
  • The touristic highlights of Phrae province. 
  • The number of administrative units, using the graphic I also used in my coverage of that data.
  • An article on the Civil Service Day (วันข้าราชการพลเรือน) on April 1st, which includes a very short summary of the administrative reforms of Prince Damrong and King Chulalongkorn.
This summary is worth a closer look, though sadly a lot is lost in translation.
As for regional administration, mueangs were divided into mueang and amphoe monthons with samuhathesaphibans, governors and sheriffs as the leaders to oversee the well-being of the people in their respective districts. Village headmen and chiefs existed to assist the tambon- and village-level operations. [...] As for local administration, the king had the idea to have the people participate by electing village headmen and chiefs instead of having these positions [appointed].
With my limited Thai and the knowledge from Tej Bunnag's book, it seems what was meant to be said is that as the Thesaphiban reforms, the country was divided into Monthon, Mueang and Amphoe, which have a commissioner (สมุหเทศาภิบาล, Samuha Thesaphiban), province governor (ผู้ว่าราชการเมือง) and chief district office (นายอำเภอ, here translated "sheriff") as the head of their administration respectively; and the Tambon and Muban as the most local divisions with the village headman and subdistrict headman (กำนัน, Kamnan, here translated as "chief") as their leader.

The Mueang became the present day provinces (จังหวัด, Changwat), the term changed in 1915, whereas the Monthon were abolished in 1933, replaced by regional administrations with much less power.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Constitutional System of Thailand: A Contextual Analysis

The book "The Constitutional System of Thailand: A Contextual Analysis" by Andrew Harding and Peter Leyland is on the list of books I intend to buy for some time already, yet both its relatively high price and my backlog of unread books kept me from buying it yet - somehow hoping for an updated second edition, as obviously the just recently promulgated constitution isn't covered in it yet.

Luckily, Google Books over to preview many pages of the book, not just the snippet view it has for most, so it is possible to have a look into it. As I stumbled into it when looking for the term "Thesaban" in Google Books, the section on the local governments had caught my attention - but sadly I quickly found several mistakes or inaccuracies in that part. If there'd be second edition, I hope these can be fixed.Though the local government isn't the prime focus of the book, discovering these inaccuracies make me now hesitate to invest into this book.

Starting on page 125, it lists the numbers of the municipalities. Oddly, it says are 25 cities - a number valid in 2010 - and a total number of 1456 Thesaban, which was correct in 2008. The book was published in 2011, but apparently the numbers from various years have been mixed up together. It also states that cities have 50,000 citizens, towns 10,000 (or being a provincial capital) and subdistrict municipalities at least 5,000. Though these numbers are defined in the municipality act, it doesn't mean all the municipalities today have these numbers. Especially the sanitary districts upgraded in 1999, but also several of the TAO upgraded more recently have a smaller population but were still granted that municipal status.

The coverage of the rural-based local governments is much more misleading, especially the Provincial Administrative Organizations (PAO)
Other than in Bangkok and Pattaya, the Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO) administers local government at the provincial level. This comprises two bodies:
i) an administrative body headed by the provincial governor; and
ii) an assembly of 24-48 members elected for a four-year term.
The Provincial Governor, renamed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), is elected from the council and is no longer appointed directly by the MOI. Provinces are divided administratively into a number of districts, headed by district officers who report to the CEO.
This completely mixes up the province as the central government unit, and the PAO. The province governor is still appointed by the MOI, and always has been, and it wasn't renamed to be CEO, but was only supposed to act in the more business style when Thaksin was prime minister. The PAO mayor however is directly elected since 2004, only before was elected by the council. Also the mention of Pattaya is a bit misleading, as it suggests that Pattaya is a special province like Bangkok - but in fact the citizen of Pattaya also elect the Chonburi PAO mayor and council.

A similar mixup happens at the subdistrict level.
[...] bit in rural areas 7,255 Tambon Administrative Organizations (TAOs) provide local government at the sub-district level. These TAOs govern an area with a relatively small population. Each one is headed by a sub-district chief (Kamnan). [...]
There was never a TAO for every Tambon, and only at the very beginning the Kamnan served as TAO chairman ex officio, then the chairman was elected by the council, and since 2004 the position was renamed to mayor and since then elected directly. But the Kamnan as the central administrative position remains as well in parallel, but also there never was a Kamnan in every Tambon.

As the final rural government structure the "Sukhapiban" or sanitary committee are mentioned - though the law governing them is still in effect, all of them were upgraded in 1999, but this isn't mentioned in the book.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Local governments Small-Medium-Large

It took a bit longer than expected to work through the Excel sheets published by DOLA recently to extract the data from there and compile it to be used in my XML files. There were quite a lot of local governments misspelled in the Excel sheets, in some cases an already announced name change wasn't included in them, and also in several cases the district was wrong, so it took some time to match all the data rows from the Excel sheets with the corresponding item in my syntax. The result is a bit lengthy in XML however...


I now have the area value, the DOLA code (which sadly isn't stable like the codes from DOPA) and the Small-Medium-Large assignment for each of the local governments. Though it'd be most interesting to compare these SML assignments over time, an overview of the current numbers is also interesting.
TypeSmallMediumLargeUnknown
TAO5120177352
Thesaban Tambon1875341134
Thesaban Mueang17135260
Thesaban Nakhon02550

A bit strange are the six local governments where the Excel sheets left the SML level empty. As these level are about the economic power of the local government, those in the Large category (ขนาดใหญ่) are the prime candidates to get upgraded to a higher municipal level. It'd be interesting to compare with an older table to see whether this guess matches with reality. I have saved the Excel sheet from DOLA since 2010, so its just the time which is the limiting factor in creating such a statistics.

Fun fact - when looking for an image to add to this post, most of the results for ขนาดใหญ่ ขนาดกลาง ขนาดเล็ก where anal plugs...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Chue Ban Nam Mueang

I started this blog almost 10 years ago when I found a eBook which gave th romanized names for all provinces, districts and subdistricts, but was unable to contact anyone to get the obvious mistakes fixed for an eventual second edition. The only thing which happened was that later Excel sheets were added to the PDF files, making it a bit easier to go through the lists. As the original files are lost after various website relaunches, my copy of the files seems to be the only online source left.

It was an edit by the Thai Wikipedia Potapt  changing the spelling of Chang Chawa subdistrict to Chang Chwa in contrast to the recommended spelling. It turned out, that the word จว้า is from Northern Thai, and the syllable Chwa isn't found in Central Thai which makes the romanization look odd, and also might explain why it was romanized differently in 2006. The Royal Institute has reworked the recommended romanizations lately, and created a mobile app named Chue Ban Nam Mueang (Google AppStore). From the app description:
as well as 1,500 names of all provinces, Amphurs, Tambons, and special administrative regions in Thailand
Its already strange that the description uses the wrong romanization for the term "Amphoe", also 1500 would mean there are almost no Tambon in the data. Even worse is the German description in the AppStore, which is ludicrous Google Translate gibberish without any meaning, almost like the deadly joke. For those who don't speak German I added an English version.
Die Akademie der Mobil: mehr als fünfhundert lokalen Prioritäten Landnutzung, wie zum Beispiel, wie man schreibt. Es Fingerspitzen
The academy of mobile: more than five hundred local priorities land use, for example, how to spell. It fingertips
While a paper book is somewhat out of fashion now, a mobile app is an interesting way to make this issue more accessible - but the large drawback is that in fact it makes it even more difficult to get through the spellings in a systematic way than with the PDF from 2006. It seems the Royal Institute has not published the new list in any other ways, so it is almost impossible for me to check through the 7000+ names this way. And according to Potapt, even some of the old mistakes are still present.

I really wish the Thai authorities would be more accessible to feedback, it is really frustrating to see that in the last 10 years nobody in charge of that list ever looked online...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Change of area of Muban in Ubon Ratchathani

Today, the Royal Gazette contained an announcement which changes the boundaries of Ban Na Chumchon (บ้านนาชุมชน), Mu 8 of Sai Mun subdistrict, Phibun Mangsahan district, Ubon Ratchathani. The actual boundary change is probably just minor, the announcement doesn't mention the change and just lists the new boundary. What is interesting however is that the announcement refers to the old boundaries by mentioning that the administrative village was established on May 2 2001 - shortly before the Muban creations were published in the Royal Gazette. Thus this village is now one of the very few where I know the date of its creation indirectly. Sadly none of the ministerial orders on the creation of Muban, especially none so old, are available online, those would give a lot more data to add to my XMLs.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Local government data updated by DOLA

The Department of Local Administration has updated their list of the local administrations, now being as of March 31 2017. The actual numbers haven't changed since the last update, as the last municipal change was the upgrade of Pa Sak TAO in November 2015.
  • Provincial administrative organizations (PAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด): 76
  • Municipality (Thesaban, เทศบาล): 2441
    • City (Thesaban Nakhon, เทศบาลนคร): 30
    • Town (Thesaban Mueang, เทศบาลเมือง): 178
    • Subdistrict municipality (Thesaban Tambon, เทศบาลตำบล): 2233
  • Subdistrict administrative organizations (TAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล): 5334
  • Special administrative units (องค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ): 2
Source: summary_25600331

The other files updated are more interesting, as these Excel sheets include the area, population, and the sub-level (Small, Medium, Large). There is one file for the municipalities and one for the TAO.

As DOLA has no unique and stable identifier code for each local administrative unit, and even the one they use isn't included into these sheets, I have to finally do the long-planned programming to be able to convert the data in these sheets into something which fits my XMLs, especially to be able to compare the current data with the previous sheets, for example to see how many for the local governments had changed their sub-level.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Triangulation pillars

While the Thai news - at least in my filter bubble - is full of coverage and speculation of the disappearance of a brass plaque in Bangkok, I'd like to feature a kind of plaques which can be found all over the kingdom, though I so far had only stumbled upon two of them.

The one displayed in the posting is found in Wat Amarin (วัดอมรินทรารามวรวิหาร), an old temple right next to the Siriraj Hospital. Sadly most of the temple ground is used as parking lot for the hospital, but the temple buildings are still a nice view. I went there last year to photograph a lot, as the site is listed as a historic landmark by the Fine Arts Department, however not yet officially registered by a publication in the Royal Gazette. And as last year the Wiki Loves Monuments only covered the published sites, the photos are still unprocessed on my hard disc. So while strolling around the temple ground, I noticed that not really spectacular marker stone - in fact very similar to those found at the province halls in all(?) provinces.


As the plaque is bilingual, its easy to recognize that these kinds of pillars are triangulation points used for mapping purposes. These pillars are erected by the Department of Lands, a subdivision of the Ministry of Interior. Named "Survey Mark" or หมุดหลักฐานแผนที่ (Mut Lak Than Phaen Thi - Major Mapping Pin), all I was able to find about them in Google was the guideline on how these pillars are to be built, also in the Royal Gazette there's only the 1936 law on the survey marks and its amendment in 1958. While for example for the UK some enthusiasts collected the location of all the trig points, I haven't noticed anything like that for Thailand during my short web search. If anyone wants to start such a collection, I'd certainly share my two points...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Population growth since the 1960s

As I am almost through processing the annual population numbers based on the registration data - whoever needs the data in a machine-readable format can either look at my XML files or the spreadsheet, I could now extend the graph first created with the 2014 population data to cover almost 30 more years.
The population grew from about 30 million in 1966 to 65 million in 2016, and already visibly in this graph the curve has become less steep recently. Included as red dots are the numbers from the census, which interestingly were lower than the registration numbers till 2000, and only after the registration number drop in 2004 the census numbers have become larger than the registration numbers. Its not surprising that census and registration have different numbers - the reference date is different, yet the largest effect is due to the fact that many Thai don't live where they are registered. Maybe those living abroad were included in the registration data till 2004 to explain the drop by 1.1 million in 2004?

Looking at the annual change of population, the slowdown of the growth is much more visible than  in the first graph.While in the 1960 an annual growth of 4% was normal, it is at about 0.5% since around the year 2000.

While the above analysis is done only using the total population number, the data goes down to the provincial level for 1966 till 1992 and to subdistrict level since then - and the census data I have goes down to district level. The data is available in machine readable form now, so its now easy to do regional population development statistics like the one I did for 2016. I am curious whether someone could use my data collection for any interesting analysis, or even a scientific publication...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Headman terms to be shortened?

In a kind of a deja-vu, there was an organized protest of village and subdistrict headmen in several provinces this week as the National Reform Steering Assembly has proposed to make an election every five year mandatory [The Nation, Bangkok Post]. The only difference this time is the agency which proposed the change, everything else sounds totally same as in 2012 when a similar proposal was under consideration by the Yingluck government - even the discussed compromise of allowing the currently elected headmen to stay in office till retirement age and only make the reelection mandatory for newly filled positions.

Yet one detail I haven't seen in any of the reports on the protests now - that the lifetime term was re-introduced in 2008, between 1999 and 2008 every headman had to stand reelection every five years. It remains to be seen if the current proposal is supported by the government, as it still needs to be approved by the cabinet and then parliament, before any such amendment to the Local Administration Act becomes effective.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Province governor transfer

With the 20th announcement by the military junta of this year, and using the absolute power of article 44 of the interim constitution, on April 4th ten officials were reassigned to new posts effective immediately.
  • Sak Somboonto (ศักดิ์ สมบุญโต), province governor in Kanchanaburi, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Natthapat Suwanprateep (ณัฐภัทร สุวรรณประทีป), province governor in Kalasin, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Boonsong Techamaneesathit (บุญส่ง เตชะมณีสถิตย์), province governor in Chiang Rai, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Chockchai Dejamornthan (โชคชัย เดชอมรธัญ), province governor in Phuket, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Surapol Sawaengsak (สุรพล แสวงศักดิ์), province governor in Ratchaburi, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Pasin Komolwit (พศิน โกมลวิชญ์), province governor in Singburi, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Suwit Khamdee (สุวิทย์ คําดี) becoming new province governor of Kalasin.
  • Narongsak Osatthanakorn (ณรงศักดิ์ โอสถธนากร) becoming new province governor of Chiang Rai.
  • Nopparat Plongthong (นรภัทร ปลอดทอง) becoming new province governor of Phuket.
  • Chaiwat Chuenkum (ชัยวัฒน์ ชื่นโกสุม) becoming new province governor of Ratchaburi.
Reporting on this transfer, neither Bangkok Post, Phuket Gazette or The Nation give any reason for these unusual transfers - normally province governors are transferred at the end of the fiscal year on October 1st only. To my knowledge, the transfer to unspecific posts in the Ministry is usually a punitive action for under-performing governors, but since the Prime Minister didn't give any reasons for the transfer nor did the press report anything, this only speculation by myself.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Number of administrative units 2016

Last month, the Department of Provincial Administration announced the numbers of administrative units as of December 31 2016. The announcement - titled แจ้งข้อมูลทางการปกครอง ณ วันที่ 31 ธันวาคม 2559 - gives almost the same numbers as one year ago.
  • Changwat: 76
  • Amphoe: 878
  • Tambon: 7255
  • Muban: 75032 (74965)
  • PAO: 76
  • Thesaban: 2441
    • Thesaban Nakhon: 30
    • Thesaban Mueang: 198
    • Thesaban Tambon: 2233
  • TAO: 5334
  • Special administration: 2 (Bangkok and Phattaya)
The only number which changed were the administrative villages, adding 66 Muban. Exactly the same number were announced in the Royal Gazette last year, all from the Ministerial Order มท ๐๓๑๐.๑/ว ๗๔๖๕. Though actually, eleven of those Muban already became effective before December 31 2015, but these were not yet included in the numbers last year. In my XML I have 75153, as some Muban in municipal areas seem to have been abolished, but without a current official list I have no idea which. And as usual, there's the odd missing Tambon, the correct number should be 7256.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

@Amphoe issue 12

The 12th issue of the @Amphoe magazine - dated February 2017 - has become available for download from the DOPA website. Sadly their Facebook page apparently does not get any updates anymore, so I have no idea at what time the paper version has or will become available at the province halls and some other sites.

The PDF is 48 MB big, so to download better use a fast connection. The most notable difference to the previous issues is a slight design change - now the title is in a Sans Serif font and the title photo no longer covers the full title page.

As usual, only a very limited part of the content is bilingual, this time an interview with Wittaya Khiawrod (วิทยาเขียวรอด), the district officer of Phra Phrom district in Nakhon Si Thammarat, an article on the community forestry in Rim Si Muang subdistrict of Phetchabun province, and the touristic highlights in Chumphon province - thus the title photo of a scuba diver, even though the "diving island" Ko Tao actually belongs to Surat Thani province.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Population growth 2016

Population growth 2016
As yesterday the official population numbers were published in the Royal Gazette - the announcement was signed on February 28, but the actual data were available online on January 2nd - I am taking another look into the data. Compared to 2015, the population grew by 202452 or 0.31%. As the growth has decreased so much, there are now also several provinces where the population numbers have decreased, for example Bangkok lost 9763 citizen.The biggest winners and losers in absolute and relative numbers are the following:

ProvinceChangePercentage
Tak+135832.2%
Phayao-3457-0.7%
Chonburi+280101.9%
Bangkok-9763-0.2%

And again same as I did for the foreigners, visualizing the changes on a map shows some more details - other than Tak the other provinces which significantly gained citizen are those around Bangkok, which not that surprising as the actual agglomeration long grew outside the boundaries of the special administrative area. The central plain and the north seem have been the origin of the internal migration to the capital. As the growth in Tak looks a bit out of the order - half of the new citizen (7555 to be exact) are foreigners. Also, the area around Mae Sot is currently developed into a special economic area and might even become a separate province in future, so this also adds some reason for the migration.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Number of foreigners in Thailand

Last year, the annual report of the registered population added new columns which list the number of citizen with Thai nationality and the registered foreigners - those who have to go through the bureaucratic 90 day reporting. As this data is listed not just for the whole country but also for each province, its a relatively easy thing to display the percentage of non-Thai citizen on a map of Thailand. This way to display directly shows that the majority of foreigners in Thailand are not the western expats, or business men working in the capital, but the highest percentage is found in the two border provinces Mae Hong Son and Tak, the highest absolute numbers in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, hinting that its mostly refugees and migrant workers from Myanmar.

ProvinceTotalForeignersPercentage
Tak63196510239316.2%
Mae Hong Son2758844391815.9%
Chiang Rai12825441184079.2%
Chiang Mai17357621300437.5%
Bangkok5686646945711.7%
Yasothon5398152620.0%
Thailand659315508346451.3%

The lowest percentage and absolute number is found in Yasothon - as can be seen in the map, most of the northeast and north have less than average foreigners. Even though this population data isn't published in the Royal Gazette yet, I have used the numbers as of December 31 2016, which can be found at the statistics page of DOPA.

To confirm the assumption that its mostly people from Myanmar, one has to look into the census 2010, which includes the list of nationalities found in each province. For the whole country, 1292862 people from Myanmar were counted, 281321 from Cambodia, 141649 from China. The only other groups above 100000 are those of "other country" (120699) and those with unknown nationality (117329).

Monday, March 27, 2017

130th National Park

First page of Royal Gazette announcement
While it is very quiet at the Royal Gazette concerning the administrative subdivisions, a lot of new protected areas get designated in the past months. The most notable was announced today, making Khun Sathan National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติขุนสถาน) in Nan and Uttaradit off
icially the 130th national park of Thailand. The park covers an area of 342.49 km² in the southern part of Nan province, containing area from seven subdistricts in Nan and of one subdistrict in Uttaradit.

But as mentioned, it wasn't the only new protected area since the 129th park and several non-hunting areas in January - another three non-hunting areas were officially announced as well recently.
  • Omkoi Non-hunting area (เขตห้ามล่าสัตว์ป่าอมก๋อย), Chiang Mai covering 288 km², announced February 2 [Gazette].
  • Nam Pat Non-hunting area (เขตห้ามล่าสัตว์ป่าน้ำปาด), Uttaradit covering 169 km², announced February 2 [Gazette].
  • Mae Pai Non-hunting area (เขตห้ามล่าสัตว์ป่าแม่ปาย), Mae Hong Son covering 101 km², announced March 13 [Gazette].
All three I cannot find anywhere on the website of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, so the names above are just my guess - the Royal Gazette announcements of national parks, non-hunting areas and wildlife sanctuaries oddly never mention the name for the protected areas.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Muban rename in Trat

Yesterday the name change of an administrative village (Muban) in Trat was announced in the Royal Gazette. Mu 4 of Takang subdistrict, Mueang Trat district changed its name from Ban Noen Sung (บ้านเนินสูง) to Ban Thung Bang Phet (บ้านทุ่งบางเพชร). The change was approved by the board to consider name changes in its 4th meeting of 2016 on December 29th, and forwarded to the province governor the next day with ministerial order มท ๐๒๐๕.๒/๒๓๔๒๓. The announcement was then signed by the province governor on February 10.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Emblem of Amphoe Mueang Surat Thani

As far as I know, it is only the local governments and the provinces which officially have a seal with custom design fitting to the locality. The districts however use the emblem of the Ministry of Interior as their seal - except for the district in Bangkok, which also have custom seals. As I really love these sometimes very artfully designed emblems, it is a pity the websites of the local governments seem to be the only source to get any information on them - if I had the time and the connection I would research and compile much more of them...

Anyway, when I just recently checked the website of Mueang Surat Thani district - one of the few district offices which have their own website - I was surprised to see a emblem for the district.It shows the two main symbolic buildings of the district - the City Pillar Shrine (Sala Lak Mueang) in the city center and the Si Surat Stupa on the hill south of the city. Also the palm farms in the Tapi river estuary and the small boats used in the small channels of the estuary are depicted. I have no idea whether this is just an artful emblem designed for show, or also the official seal of the district - the Google search results for the Thai term ตราประจำอำเภอ don't indicate that any district actually uses a non-standard seal, the only images it returns seem to be very old seals from districts in Ubon Ratchathani province.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Population data from 1966

Thanks to the online library of the National Statistical Office (NSO) I was already able to collect the population data from the censuses since 1960, all down to district level. Starting in 1993, the online population statistics from the registration office gives the yearly numbers down to subdistrict level. Thus I thought the only additional data I might be able to collect would be the earlier census data.

First page of 1966 report
But when I checked the eBook site of the Department of Provincial Administration in the vain hope to find a new edition of the Local Directory there, I instead found the annual population reports published in the Royal Gazette there, but to my surprise these started in 1966, and not 1993 as I thought before. Apparently, there was a change in the internal structure of the registration office - starting in 1993 the announcements were done by the Central Registration Office (สำนักทะเบียนกลาง), whereas from 1982 till 1992 the responsible office was named สำนักงานกลางทะเบียนราษฎร, and from 1966 till 1981 the announcements were done by the Ministry of Interior directly, and thus escaped my previous searches in the Royal Gazette.

So I now have to type in the numbers of these 27 announcements, training my Thai numeral recognition that way as they don't use any western numerals in these official announcements. I have already done 1966 and 1967, and in both announcements found one typo in the numbers - and since the older announcements don't include the total number for the whole country I cannot correct that mistake when translating into my XML structure. If anyone likes to use these numbers as well - they will be all in XML in the next weeks just like the 1966 XML - or could also create a Excel file if someone needs it...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Districts with just one subdistrict

There are two districts (Amphoe) in Thailand which have just one subdistrict (Tambon), and another four districts in Bangkok (Khet) which have one subdistrict (Khwaeng). As the two kinds of subdistricts are quite different in their functions, I'll write something about the Bangkok districts later.

The two districts are Ko Sichang of Chonburi province - an island off the coast - and Mae Poen in Nakhon Sawan province, a remote part of the province including mountain area. Both district have a quite different history - whereas Ko Sichang already was a minor district with just one subdistrict in 1943, when it was reassigned from Samut Prakan to Chonburi province, Mae Poen was created in 1996, and its single subdistrict Mae Poen was just created shortly before in 1992. Maybe the fact that this district was created directly at the time when the creation of new Tambon stopped altogether explains why it remained with one subdistrict. Looking into the history of other districts, there are a few more which originally had just one subdistrict when they were established as a minor district (King Amphoe).
  • Soeng Sang, Nakhon Ratchasima. Created in 1976 with the single subdistrict Sa Takhian, the second subdistrict was created in 1977. The minor district was upgraded in 1979, and today has six subdistricts.
  • Than To, Yala. Created 1975 with the single subdistrict Mae Wat, the second subdistrict was created in 1977. Today the district has four subdistricts and became a full district in 1981.
  • Pa Daet, Chiang Rai. Created in 1969 with the single subdistrict Pa Daet. In 1970, two new subdistricts were created. 1975 it was upgraded to a full district, and today it has five subdistricts.
  • Ban Kruat, Buriram. Created in 1939 with the single subdistrict Ban Kruat. As the Royal Gazette is unreliable for the subdistrict creations before 1950, I can only say the district was upgraded in 1965 and has nine subdistricts today
Interesting to note - both for Soeng Sang as well as for Pa Daet it was a subdistrict which was named after the district, and not the other way round like for most districts.

I don't know whether there were any official rules predating those defined in 2003 by the cabinet on how many subdistricts are necessary for a new minor district, but even the 2003 rules allowed to overrule the minimum of three if there is a special need for the creation of a new district.

Already before the decentralization with the creation of the Subdistrict Administrative Organizations, the Tambon had a limited local representation of the population by the elected headman. I don't know whether there were any minimum requirements for a subdistrict in terms of population of number of administrative villages, Ko Sichang with a population of less than 5000 people never qualified for a second subdistrict. But its remoteness on an island made sense to have a district office as the government office which normal citizens have to visit most.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Amphoe Kota Baru still on track

I haven't heard anything from the two planned districts to be created in Yala province since 2015, when the government news reported a confusing story which read like they were already created. But since there was no announcement in the Royal Gazette, nor the latest geocode list added any codes for these, they must be still in the pipeline. But even regular searches for any websites mention the names of these two districts return almost nothing, so it felt like the planned might have been abandoned.

But just recently, the Kota Baru municipality (เทศบาลตำบลโกตาบารู) on their Facebook page added photos from a meeting on February 17, in which the location for the new district office was discussed. Sadly, while a photo of the officials inspecting a location was added, which plot of land was inspected or whether it was chosen isn't mentioned. Though I still don't know how what is the schedule for these districts, but at least it seems they are still on track.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Lists of the administrative units

Interestingly, I was asked several times lately to provide a full list of the administrative units - sometimes down to subdistrict level, sometimes to village level - for various purposes, for example as the basis of some academic research. In one case the location was requested as well, in another the population. My full set of data is not so easy to use, as it is in XML format and contains a lot of details, and for example the population data is in different XML files than the main list. A subset of the data is found in the spreadsheet, but most notably the Muban are missing in there. But as in all cases a simple CSV file was requested, I quickly coded something to compile such lists, and since I just got yet another request, I now also made these CSV files downloadable for everyone - even I love to know when and where my data is used, for the next time I could simply point to this blog post then...

The ZIP archive contains CSV files for each of the subdivision.
  • Province.csv - all provinces and Bangkok, with their TIS-1099 code, name in English and Thai, the latest population and number of households, and the location of the province hall.
  • District.csv - all districts (Amphoe and Khet), same data with location of the district office
  • Subdistrict.csv - all sub-districts (Tambon and Khwaeng), as before. Locations are the TAO office, but still a lot without location info
  • Village.csv - all administrative villages, however without population data. Note the comments I made earlier about the number of Muban, that list might not be 100% correct. For very few the location of the village headman office (i.e. his home) is added.
If there would be the need, I could also compile the local governments in a similar manner, however as most of those have no TIS-1099 derived code, so it is not so easy to get the hierarchy like in the central administrative units, so would have to think a bit which data would be mandatory in such a CSV then.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Let the chaos begin

Don't worry, I won't talk about world politics - I am referring to a chaos starting on Wikipedia about the geographic items in Thailand. Just recently, one of the almost completely bot-filled Wikipedia in Cebuano language gets flooded with new article on geographic locations in Thailand, translated from the items in the geonames website. Which in turn imported a lot of their items from the GEOnet Names Server (GNS). The big problem is that both databases contain a lot of bogus entries, especially when in comes to the lower level of the administrative subdivision. Though I bet no human will ever read these articles - why should someone from the Philippines speaking only this local language ever look for a Thai village - the big problem with these articles is that they now need to be linked to the real world with Wikidata.

To give just a few examples of the mess
  • The principal town of Phunphin district in Surat Thani province is named Tha Kham, but on geonames it was wrongly named Phunphin. And to make it worse, different spellings including the term "Amphoe" were listed as alternative names, so now the bot-created page mixes up things about the district and the town.
  • Geonames has an entry named "Ban Talat Yai" as a populated page in Phuket. However, there is no "Ban" with that name there, but a subdistrict. So the bot created article is bogus, linking it to the subdistrict in Wikidata would be wrong. Nearby Kathu is even worse - there's a municipality with that name (which would fit to the category populated place I suppose), as well as a subdistrict, but the geonames entry had "Tambon Kathu" as an alternative name mixing both items.
  • Geonames has two entries for the Ta Phraya district, Sa Kaeo province (1949382 and 1605741), and sadly I am not able to delete the second one there due to insufficient user rights. And of course the bot created now two articles about the same item - one and two.
It is just lucky I already added all the geonames IDs of the districts and provinces to Wikidata, so at least those bot-created articles can be matched automatically.

And to make it worse, it was not only the populated places and subdivisions which were imported, but also all the hills, caves, lakes, rivers, etc. Cleaning up the mess regarding the towns alone already would keep me busy for weeks at least... The only small positive side to have articles on each entity in one Wikipedia - that will make it impossible to wrongly merge together Wikidata items which are related but not the same.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The provincial administration of Siam from 1892 to 1915

2005 Thai edition
Tej Bunnag's book "The provincial administration of Siam from 1892 to 1915" was the first academic source I checked when I started writing about the topic in Wikipedia articles. Being long out of print (published in 1977), used copies are only found at ludicrous high prices, luckily I back then scanned all pages so I at least have my private e-book version of it. In 2005, a second edition was published, but only in Thai - and though I have that one my Thai is still way too bad to read anything.

But now by coincidence I stumbled on the original 1969 doctoral thesis, which was the basis for the book. The University of Oxford, where Tej Bunnag studied and graduated, had made the original version an open access item, so it can now be downloaded and read easily by everyone. Not sure whether I'll find the time to actually check what changes were done between the thesis and the book version, in fact more interesting would be any changes which were done for the Thai edition.