Friday, July 31, 2015

Thai national Censuses 1960 to 1990

For quite some time I was searching for older population numbers than those of the 1990 census I could find within the reports of the 2000 census - and even those data were incomplete as for some of the provinces created in 1993 there were no data for 1990 mentioned. At least at province level, there are the data collected by Gwillim Law on his statoids website, but for 1960 and 1970 there are only rounded numbers. There are a few other online resources, like this 1970 report, and some pages on the Chulalongkorn university webserver from a study about the number of elderly people. While I was able to collect the census data at province level with those resources, there seemed to be no resources online which go down to district level, the level published in the census reports by the National Statistical Office (NSO). I have the reports for 2000 and 2010, and one from 1960, but nothing else.

Without any online resources the only way left seemed to be to located those printed publications in a library - Google books has them scanned, but does not allow to see inside them. So during my recent stay in Bangkok, I went to the National Library which has all of these books - but unfortunately they are in a major reconstruction and all of the old books are stored away and not accessible. Final attempt was to ask my sister in law who has access to a university library, but instead of getting me the books she came up with something much better.

The NSO has a online database of scanned publication, and most of the documents are exactly those census reports which I was searching for. As a slight drawback that website has the individual pages as PNG files, and not whole publications as one PDF, but that's not so difficult with some scripting and free tools. In the past week I have already filled in the 1990 data where I either had absolutely none - the districts of Nong Bua Lam Phu and Sa Kaeo - or where the data I had did not sum up to the values of the provinces. But the amount of data - not just the total population, but also those in private and collective household, the agricultural population, and that separately for municipal, sanitary district area and the other areas - makes it a quite tedious and time-consuming work, even with an Excel sheet to help spotting typing mistakes and doing the conversion to XML.

Instead of continuing with 1990, I instead started 1960, as that will be much faster to complete. Not only there were fewer districts in 1960 than 1990, also the reports give much less details - just the total and the municipal population, and the agricultural and non-agricultural households. The south is already done in the corresponding XML, and the other regions should be done within the next month. Whereas the amount of data for 1970 is similar with 1960, the reports for 1980 and 1990 will keep me busy at least a year unless I can find some help...


Monday, July 20, 2015

Three Muban renamed

In the past weeks, another three administrative villages name changes were announced in the Royal Gazette.
  • Ban km 52 (บ้าน กม.52), Rabam subdistrict, Lan Sak district, Uthai Thani province renamed to Ban Huai Kha Khaeng (บ้านห้วยขาแข้ง) [Gazette]. The announcement was signed on May 25 by the province governor, and published on July 16.
  • Ban Lada (บ้านลดา), Baraho subdistrict, Mueang Pattani district, Pattani province renamed to Ban La Do (บ้านลาดอ) [Gazette]. The announcement was signed on May 25 by the province governor, and published on July 9.
  • Ban Pri Do (บ้านปรีดอ), Baraho subdistrict, Mueang Pattani district, Pattani province renamed to Ban Bali Do (บ้านบลีดอ). Change was announced together with the previous one.
All three changes are - same as those announced last month - approved in meeting 1/2015 of the board to consider name changes.

The two name changes in Pattani are the first ones done of a list of ten Muban name changes in the three Muslim dominated provinces proposed last year as a measure to reduce alienation of the population with the state - change the official name of the village to the one the citizen actually use, instead of a Thai name to override the traditional name in Jawi. Though the above changes are more like pronunciation variants than different names...

Monday, July 6, 2015

New maps for Yala

With the two new districts in Yala forthcoming, an important task to have them on Wikipedia with a good albeit short article as soon as it is clear when they will become official are the maps. My fellow Wikipedian hdamm has created great vector maps for all provinces with the district boundaries. In order to add the two new ones I had to find the boundaries of the subdistricts, something not easy as most of the maps I knew were inaccurate or even contradicting boundary sketches, with those from amphoe.com being the closest to reality. However, that website seems to be down, maybe switched off finally after having no update for years. The boundaries shown by Google Maps when searching for subdistricts I earlier found to be partially wrong, so those are no real alternative.

The Thai wikipedian Potapt gave me the link to a great resource, a Royal Gazette announcement on the town planning (กฎกระทรวง ให้ใช้บังคับผังเมืองรวมจังหวัดยะลา) which includes a maps of the whole province with the boundaries of each subdistrict. The map on page 28 thus allowed me to created the map above based on the current SVG map for Yala - numbered are the districts already existing, in red is the new district Lam Mai (อำเภอลำใหม่), in green Kota Baru (อำเภอโกตาบารู). As I hesitate to change the maps on Wikipedia without knowing for sure when these districts will (were?) created, I keep the result in my Dropbox for now. Hopefully, the ccaatt list will be updated quickly, to know which numbers to use for the map to identify the new districts.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Removing officials

On June 25, the military junta announced the suspensions or transfer of 70 government officials for suspected corruption in their order 19/2015. The list contains both officials appointed by the Ministry of Interior and other ministries, as well as elected officials from the local government units, including some relatively well-known PAO chairmen. See for example the Phuket Gazette article on PAO chairman Phaibun Upatising. Out of the 70, the following are those posts which I am usually taking a closer look at.
  • 1 vice province governor (รองผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด)
  • 7 PAO chairmen (นายกองค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด)
  • 14 TAO mayor (นายกองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล), 3 deputy TAO mayor (รองนายกองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล)
  • 17 municipality mayors (นายกเทศมนตรี), 1 member of the municipal council (สมาชิกสภาเทศบาล)
  • 1 PAO clerk (ปลัดองค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด), 1 TAO clerk (ปลัดองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล), 2 municipal clerks (ปลัดเทศบาล)
While I haven't yet translated the whole lost of these 47 officials into XML, I already noticed two cases where a TAO mayor was removed who had his 4 year term already finished, and thus in normal times would require a new local election. But since all local elections are suspending according to order 85 (and order 86 for Bangkok) of 2014. I am not sure if these are included because their term ended between the compilation of the list and the announcement, or now all elected local officials stay in office indefinitely - order 1/2015 allowed for the terms being extended, but the way I understood it was that any extension of term must be approved by higher authorities first.

In fact, this is already the second order under paragraph 44 removing officials, one month ago order 15/2015 removed 45 officials, that time most of them were appointed officials.
  • 1 province governor, 5 district officers
  • 13 TAO mayors, 1 deputy TAO mayor (though one of them was mislisted, and was in fact a municipal mayor)
  • 3 municipal mayors
  • 1 municipal clerk, 1 deputy municipal clerk

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two Muban renamed

Last week, the rename of two administrative villages (Muban, ) in Chiang Rai province was announced in the Royal Gazette.
  • Ban Ruam Chai Phatthana (บ้านร่วมใจพัฒนา), Mu 14 of Doi Ngam subdistrict, Phan district renamed to Ban Saraphi (บ้านสารภี). [Gazette] The administrative village was created in 2003.
  • Ban Pa Bong (บ้านป่าบง), Mu 1 of Yang Hom subdistrict, Khun Tan district renamed to Ban Pa Bong Nam Lom (บ้านป่าบงน้ำล้อม). [Gazette]
Both announces were signed by the province governor of Chiang Rai Pongsak Wangsemo (พงษ์ศักดิ์ วังเสมอ) on May 6, and were previously approved by the board to consider name changes in their first meeting this year on March 18.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Amphoe created without being King Amphoe

The second issue for the @Amphoe magazine is already available for online reading - hope I can grab a paper copy of this and if possible also the first issue during my forthcoming visit in Thailand - and as a pleasant surprise the amount of English content has increased a lot. Same as in the first issue, the English section "Thing you may not know about Administration" on page 23 is the most interesting, this time it explains that while most Amphoe (อำเภอ, districts) are created as King Amphoe (กิ่งอำเภอ, minor districts), there are a few special cases which were directly created as Amphoe.

Though both King Amphoe and Amphoe are at the same administrative level, the creation of a minor district can be done by a ministerial act, whereas the creation of Amphoe (as well as the upgrade of King Amphoe to Amphoe) need a Royal Act. As the government decided in 2007 to stop using the minor districts to make the administration easier and upgrade all the minor districts to full districts, now all new districts will be created directly as full districts. So far, there was only one, Galyani Vadhana in Chiang Mai created 2009, and probably those two new districts in Yala.

Sadly, the article in this issue however has two problems. Most notably is the fact that the author did not use the official recommended transcriptions of the district names - for example Yasotorn instead of Yasothon - and even within the article uses both "Mueang" and "Mueng". Much less obvious is the claim that the only districts which were created without being King Amphoe are the five Chaloem Phra Kiat districts and four districts named after Royals. I had to check my XML files to confirm that there are more, though not that many. Below is the full list with all cases since the 1932 revolution.
Just hope the editor takes my nitpicking Facebook comment as constructive criticism, as I love to see the topics of this blog getting a somewhat bigger audience with this magazine. And maybe I'll make it into the errata section of the next issue...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wikidata queries

Wikidata logo
With more and more data collected at Wikidata, it becomes possible to query the data and thereby find information normally hidden in the big pile of data, or hardly machine-readable in the text of the Wikipedia articles. The query "biggest cities with a female mayor" is the standard example on what Wikidata could allow once it becomes more complete, though it still is just beginning to return useful data.

As I already added more than 7700 of the Thai administrative units to Wikidata, far more than there are articles on these entities, querying them can start to return useful information even with the still limited query functionality. The following are some easy queries which already return useful results, there could be much more interesting queries after I added more functions to my bot filling Wikidata from my XML, or when when the long-awaited property type "value with unit" becomes available, e.g. for the area.
  • Entities named after a person
    The query right now returns 16 results, e.g. the subdistrict Suranari in Nakhon Ratchasima which is named after the local heroine Thao Suranari. The query of course relies on the property "named after", which I had set manually - I probably missed several more which could be added.
  • Entities created since 2000
    As I haven't yet finished the code to fill in the creation date, the query only shows those two entities where I had added it manually so far.
  • Entities with a population of more than one million
    returns 20 provinces and Bangkok - the second largest city Nonthaburi has just 256,000, and there's also no district large enough to be returned by this query.
Once such queries includeList of cities in Thailand much easier, which right now contains lots of bogus data. Also right now the queries run on a separate server using the data from Wikidata, hopefully soon queries will be natively supported on the Wikidata server itself.
the possibility to sort the results - right now they are just sorted by the item number - it would become possible to create Wikipedia list articles like

And there's also the "female mayors" query for Thailand which only returns Phuket city - simply because almost no entity has its head of government set.