Friday, August 28, 2015

Three local governments renamed

Yesterday three announcements were published in the Royal Gazette regarding the change of names of local governments.
All three name changes will take effect on September 4, and it seems they were done without discussion in the board to consider name changes - at least no meeting reference is mentioned in the announcements.

Even though the changes are not in effect yet, I have already updated the corresponding Wikipedia articles, and also created the Wikidata items for these three local governments with all their data.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fake new provinces going viral

On the Facebook page of the Department of Provincial Administration, earlier today a news announcement was posted intended to correct claims that five new provinces in the Northeast are about to be created. Apparently, yet another half-truth facebook posting has gone viral and shared by many without giving it any thought. I found at least one version of that post on Pantip with the list of the five province alleged to be created.
  • Bua Yai split from Nakhon Ratchasima - จ.บัวใหญ่ แยกมาจากโคราช มี 8 อำเภอ อ.บัวใหญ่, อ.คง, อ.ประทาย, อ.โนนแดง, อ.บ้านเหลือม, อ.แก้งสนามนาง, อ.สีดา และ อ.บัวลาย
  • Det Udom split from Ubon Ratchathani - จ.เดชอุดม แยกมาจากอุบลราชธานี มี 5 อำเภอ 2 กิ่งอำเภอ อ.เดชอุดม, อ.บุณฑริก, อ.นาจะหลวย, อ.น้ำยืน, อ.ทุ่งศรีอุดม,กิ่ง อ.น้ำขุ่น และกิ่ง อ.นาเยีย
  • Katharalak split from Sisaket - จ.กันทรลักษ์ แยกออกมาจากศรีสะเกษ มี 6 อำเภอ 3 กิ่งอำเภอ อ.กันทรลักษ์, อ.ขุนหาญ, อ.เบญจลักษ์, อ.ศรีรัตนะ, อ.ไพรบึง, อ.โนนคูณ, กิ่ง อ.เขาพระวิหาร, กิ่ง อ.ศรีเมืองทอง และ กิ่ง อ.ทับทิมสยาม
  • Chumphae split from Khon Kaen and Chaiyaphum - จ.ชุมแพ แยกมาจากขอนแก่น มี 6 อำเภอ อ.ชุมแพ, อ.ภูเวียง, อ.สีชมพู, อ.หนองนาคำ, อ.ภูผาม่าน และ อ.ภูเขียว ของ จ.ชัยภูมิ มาจัดตั้งเป็น จ.ชุมแพ ด้วย
  • Nangrong split from Buriram - จ.นางรอง แยกมาจากบุรีรัมย์ มี 10 อำเภอ อ.นางรอง, อ.ชำนิ, อ.หนองหงส์, อ.บ้านกรวด, อ.เฉลิมพระเกียรติ, อ.โนนสุวรรณ, อ.ปะคำ, อ.หนองกี่, อ.ละหานทราย, และ อ.โนนดินแดง
Of these, the plan to create a province Bua Yai by splitting off parts of Nakhon Ratchasima is nothing new, that province even already has a Wikipedia article and I had mentioned it here before when that plan reemerged in 2013. Also, the province Chum Phae is not new, I first read about it in about 2005, but never heard any update on that since then, so it seems to be shelved and forgotten - probably its save to remove its mention in the Wikipedia article on Khon Kaen. Interestingly, according to this list it would even be composed of districts from two provinces, so far all newly created provinces were split off from just one province.

The other alleged provinces listed I have never heard about, so these might have been from some small local advocate groups but never made it into any official channels. For example, the Kantharalak province is supposed to contain the minor districts which don't exist yet, and in fact since 2007 any newly created districts are supposed to become full districts directly and omit the minor district level.

It would be much more interesting to know the current status of the one province actually about to be created - Mae Sot to be split off from Tak - or the proposal to create Fang province from the north of Chiang Mai which was to be considered by parliament several years ago.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Census 1970

The census data for 1970 is now completely translated into my XML structure, for all of the publications like the Whole Thailand report I have transcribed table one containing the population and household numbers for each district subdivided by municipal, sanitary districts and non-municipal areas. Of course the publications contain much more data, but that's so much special interest only I have not worked on it at all. Actually, the only other data I have prepared in the XML schema so far is the age distribution, so I might add that later.

Though this XML should be the easiest way to store the data for any further processing by software, the Excel sheets I created as an intermediate step to represent exactly what is visible in the publications are probably more accessible for non-programmers. I collected them all in one archive. I also compiled the downloads from the statistics office into PDF files, however these are around 10 MB each. Due to this, as well as to avoid copyright problems, there's no download link for these, but if you need one or many you can simply ask me by email.

Working through the tables was rather straightforward, there was only one district which was missing - Na Haeo in Loei is not in the list though was created in February 1970 as a minor district, thus before the reference date of April 1st 1970. In a few cases, the type - minor district (King Amphoe, กิ่งอำเภอ) or full district (Amphoe, อำเภอ) - was wrong, but there were also a few where I had mistakes about the actual dates in my data and only spotted them when looking more closely now.

The only cases where the actual numbers are inconsistent are for two province.
  • Surin - the household numbers for private and collective households are wrong by one for sanitary and the nonmunicipal areas.
  • Thonburi - the total population according to the publication on Thonburi was 920,033, whereas the publication on the whole kingdom lists 920,058 - seven women and 18 men more. Also, the sum of the numbers for the districts also return the value of 920,033, so these two documents contradict.
I have also already finished the data for 1960, and I am currently working on 1980 - which however will take much longer than the previous two census as there are both more districts as well as the data is more detailed. I am also continuously updating my spreadsheet with the total population numbers for each district.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New ccaatt list

Last month, the Department of Provincial Administration issued a new version of the geocodes based on the TIS 1099 standard - or actually other way round, the list on which the TIS 1099 standard was based. This time they changed to publish Excel sheets instead of plain text files, making it a bit easier for normal users to use these lists, but for me to look for the changes it adds a little extra work to convert to the old format. Sadly, the meta data or version history of the Excel files don't show any internal information on the way these lists are compiled...

As there was just one administrative change for the central administrative units - the reassign of Tha Faek subdistrict in Uttaradit province - there is just one new code in the ccaatt list and the new code is no surprise.
Sadly, the planned new districts in Yala did not receive a code yet with this update, so if they become official before another update of this list I have a 50% chance of guessing the right codes to use in my XML file for Yala - in fact I have already made my guess as I prepared the two entries, so if anyone from DOPA is reading - please choose 9509 for Lam Mai and 9510 for Kota Baru.

A few more changes are in the rcode list which contains all the registration offices and thus both district and municipalities. While the districts are of course the same as in the ccaatt list, this time nine municipalities received a new four digit code.
There are still a lot of municipalities which did not receive a four digit code yet - and it is simply impossible that all can receive such a code as there are provinces which have more districts and municipalities than fit into the 99 possible codes. Thus to assign a unique code to every municipality the code scheme has to be changed.

The code 1681 was in past ccaatt lists used with the name "อ.บ้านเช่า จ.ลพบุรี" (Ban Chao district, Lopburi province), but marked as obsolete. It is both a strange code for a district, as well I am not aware of any district with that name ever planned in Lopburi. Interestingly, the district Ban Mi was named Ban Sao (บ้านเซ่า) from 1917 till 1939, so it might even be a misspelled obsolete geocode entry. But now it has been overwritten by Kok Ko.

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.