Friday, March 21, 2014

Wikidata lists and categories

Wikipedia Infobox
On his blog "Words and what not", Gerard Meijssen is showing and advocating the many possible uses of Wikidata beyond what most Wikipedia users know so far. By collecting the actual data in a structured way, it allows queries which would be very difficult to do by extracting data from the infoboxes in the Wikipedias, or simply impossible since the data isn't complete on Wikipedia.

If you are familiar with the articles on the administrative units on the English Wikipedia, you might have encountered the corresponding categories, which help to sort together related items. For example, all the districts of Surat Thani province are within the category Amphoe of Surat Thani Province, and this category like (almost) all Wikipedia pages has a corresponding Wikidata item. Following Gerard's idea that categories are almost the same as a list, and thus using the property "is a list of" in this case as well, Resonator as the smart viewer of Wikidata items is then able to create a list of all the items which should belong to the category - in this case not surprisingly the same 19 entries. Well, almost, the English Wikipedia article on Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngang are mainly on the island and thus not linked to the data item of the district, someone still has to split the two topics into two separate articles - e.g. in German the two topics have two separate articles.

The categories for the districts are on several language editions already, for the other types of entities (Tambon, Thesaban, TAO) the Thai Wikipedia has the best coverage, but still far from a complete category tree. And of course to use the auto-created list the Wikidata item must be set accordingly, something I have done only for a handful of categories so far. For example, the Tambon of Surat Thani right now show 98 entries, I simply haven't added items for all 131 subdistrict yet. When done, it will in fact show 132 entries, because Tambon Kraison dissolved 1986 because most of its area was submerged by Chao Lan lake. Another interesting category are the Thesaban of Nakhon Ratchasima, because an anonymous editor at the Thai Wikipedia adds article on them from time to time, so unless I create the item before you could see the above list slowly growing from its current value of 75.

While the above is done behind the surface by Resonator creating a database query from the property, one can query Wikidata directly as well. The above Tambon of Surat Thani visualized with the query maker is a start, but only allows a subset of the query API. But somehow I wasn't successful to build a working query to show only those Tambon having an Wikipedia article, maybe this is all not yet fully implemented. But of course the basis of all this is to have complete and good data in Wikidata, and I continue to work on that, just recently I could add the first population data with my bot...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Population census data since 1960

While working on adding the census 2010 data into my spreadsheet, I noticed that for many provinces I already had the exact population numbers since 1960, however not for all yet. Some of the PDF files with the census results for each province published after the 2000 census had the population history listed. So I tried the same trick which helped me to find the 2010 results - simply put a few of the numbers into Google together with the Thai province name and see if it has some hits.

What I found were some data pages from a Chulalongkorn university study, which listed data on elderly people from the censuses, including the total population. For example with the page on Surat Thani - one of the provinces where I did not have the exact data before - showed the total population in the 1960 census was 324,784, and grew to 747,049 in 1990. The more recent datapoints were then taken from the registration data. Once I filled all the holes, the sum however did not match with the total number, which took some time to finally spot those provinces where I had entered the number wrongly in past - or where the PDF had a mistake, I did not verify back with that one.

Just one thing did not add up correctly - 1960 and 1960 there were still the two provinces Phra Nakhon and Thonburi, which were merged into the special administrative area Bangkok in the early 1970s. The Chulalongkorn data had separate data for Thonburi and Phra Nakhon, but the numbers don't add to the value listed at the NSO as the regional sum.
YearPhra NakhonThonburiSumNSO
It is just a difference of 56 and 25 respectively, so the numbers are really close. Sadly, this final step I wasn't able to find on the net, so I have to wait until I can visit the National Library in Bangkok to check out the corresponding issues of the NSO publication - I only have the 1960 Chiang Mai issue depicted above. If anyone has access to these publication and can find it for me it'd be nice. But since Thonburi had no TIS1099 geocode, I cannot get this into my XML style anyway.

For the older censuses I wasn't able to find the data for each province - while Statoids has numbers listed, the sum 17,256,840 given there is not the same as found in the NSO table, according to that the total population in the 1947 census was 17,442,689.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Population data 2013

Though I try to check the caption of each Royal Gazette publication, somehow the announcement listing the population for each province as of December 31st 2013 nearly slipped through. Luckily I spotted it being added as a reference to the population data of the province articles on Thai Wikipedia, just one day after it was published in the Royal Gazette.

As of this announcement, the registered population grew from 64,456,695 one year ago to 64,785,909, and increase of 329,214 or 0.5%. Ranong has the biggest population decrease with 4.5%, the biggest gain with 2.3% was Phuket. As the publication is in Thai with only Thai numerals, I have made the data into a little spreadsheet embedded below, including the 2012 data for comparison. In case anyone prefers it in XML, its within my Tambon project now as well.

While writing this posting, this population data is not yet available on the DOPA website, but I expect it to show up soon at The full population data down to subdistrict level and including the municipalities will also show up soon I guess.

In January the new datatype number was added to Wikidata, and I have already added some population data points to a few entities manually to try it out, of course most notably for my favourite province Surat Thani. And since I am also currently working on transferring the census data into my XML structure, I now really have to start to program the automatic editing of this kind of data in the TambonBot.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Phimon Rat town created

Yesterday, the upgrade of the TAO Phimon Rat (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลพิมลราช) to a town municipality (เทศบาลเมืองพิมลราช) was announced in the Royal Gazette. As the upgrade was effective February 22, this announcement came rather fast compared to other municipal upgrades - many of them still not published though many years effective already. Today, the constituencies were announced as well, so the election for the municipal council and the mayor won't take long.

What is the most interesting part of this new municipality is however its boundary, as one can see on the last page of announcement. The municipality was originally a TAO which covered the area of the Tambon not covered by any other municipalities, and in this case the Tambon Phimon Rat was already covered by parts of the town Bang Bua Thong. And not just parts of the Tambon were cut away, in fact the remaining area consists of two chunks without any connection, approximately one third east of bang Bua Thong and two third west of it.
Also interesting is the population development of the Tambon and the TAO, I have taken the registration data from DOPA into a little sheet to visualize how much the population did grow from 1993 (6946 in whole Tambon) to 2012 (39620 in TAO). Quite a clear indication of how much the suburbs of Bangkok grow.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Muban in Galyani Vadhana district, Chiang Mai

Today the Royal Gazette published the announcement of the creation of a new administrative village in Mae Daet subdistrict, Galyani Vadhana district, Chiang Mai, increasing the number of Muban in the subdistrict to eight and for the whole district to 22. The announcement became effective on January 14, and was signed on the same day by the deputy governor (ปลัดจังหวัด) Chokdi Omrawat (โชคดี อมรวัฒน์) as the acting province governor. It was previously approved by the Ministry of Interior in its ministerial order ๐๓๑๐.๑/๑๕๔๔๐ dated December 24.

The new villages has been split off from village number 7 named Ban Tala Mong (บ้านแม่ตะละม้ง), and received the name Ban Tala Mang Mai (บ้านแม่ตะละม้งใหม่) - meaning simply "new Tala Hmong village". From the description of the boundaries listed in the announcement, the division between the two administrative villages goes right through the actual main settlement itself, with the new village covering the southern part of the settlement and what is left of village 7 the northern parts. Since the village is located within forests, most parts of the two administrative villages are uninhabited land.

Friday, February 21, 2014

ISO 3166-2 code for Bueng Kan

When the province of Bueng Kan was created in 2011, it quite quickly got the code 38 assigned by the Department of Provincial Administration - which was the obvious choice anyway as there was no other free number in the number range for the northeastern provinces. While there was no official new version of the TIS1099 national standard - the latest is still from 2005 - this list maintained by DOPA is in fact the current working copy of the national standard. The ISO 3166-2 standard, giving codes for the first-level subdivisions of all countries, uses the same codes prefixed with a TH-, but none of the updates since 2011 covered Thailand so far.

Today, ISO announced that they have changed the system of updating these codes named "Online Browsing Platform", instead of the newsletters it now has live updates on their website, to which one can subscribe - for free but one has to register. But actually thanks to the update scanner plugin in Firefox I will get notified whenever the page on Thailand will be updated, without having to register with ISO.

Anyhow, though none of the newsletters announced the code for Bueng Kan yet, with the change to the new platform the code for Bueng Kan is now also included, and without any surprise it is TH-38.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Old municipal upgrades announced

On Monday, a set of 25 announcements were published in the Royal Gazette, 24 of them giving the official confirmation of the upgrade of subdistrict administrative organizations to subdistrict municipalities, and one [Gazette] was about the upgrade of Ko Samui municipality to the highest municipal state (Thesaban Nakhon, เทศบาลนคร). The interesting part - all of these upgrades already happened in 2011 and 2012, so it took one to two years to make them into announcements in the Royal Gazette. The announcements itself were all signed before the date they became effective, so the first page of each of the PDF files cannot be the reason why the publication took so long. But since they all include the description of the municipal borders as well as a map, it must the preparation of this appendix which delayed the announcement - and which made several 100 further still announcements still pending to be published. In case you want to have details on all those announcements, best look at the XML file - I guess listing them all here would be too much detail.

As an example I have added the map from the upgrade of Ban Krang TAO (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านกร่าง), Si Prachan district in Suphanburi, because in this case the boundaries are more interesting than for most of the other ones which covers a complete Tambon. The subdistrict municipality Si Prachan (เทศบาลตำบลศรีประจันต์) covers the small town around the district office, and though the district office is located on the other side of the Tha Chin river in Si Prachan subdistrict, most of the municipality is located within Ban Krang subdistrict. Thus Ban Krang municipality only covers the remaining parts of the subdistrict, and to make it even more confusing, the municipality has two parts not connected with each other. In some cases, the boundaries between TAO and municipality were changed to avoid splitting the area in two disconnected parts, but I have no idea if the small part south of Si Prachan municipality will be transferred to it someday. The main information I can find with these maps is the location of the municipal office, and since this area already had been visited by the Streetview car I can embed the view of the office building below. As the car passed there in August 2012, the same month the upgrade became effective, the big sign still shows Ban Krang TAO - by now it must have been updated. By the way: Wikidata has an item on Ban Krang municipality already, and I have filled it with a lot of statements already.
View Larger Map