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.