Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gwillim Law is maintaining an impressive website, where he collects data on the administrative subdivisions of countries. As these have many different names - states, counties, provinces, districts etc. - he coined the collective term "statoids" for these entities. Originally the website was only supposed to display the errata and updates for his book Administrative Subdivisions of Countries, he is now slowly putting the full data from the book on the website. I even got myself a used copy of his book some years ago.

The coverage of the Thai provinces and districts at is somewhat incomplete. While he mentions the plans to create the Hua Hin province and the Nakhon Suvarnabhumi special area, which are now probably already shelved and won't get implemented anymore, the change history of the provinces is rather incomplete. This is not surprising, as I haven't learned about the abolishments of e.g. Nakhon Nayok in the 1940s until quite recently as it is rarely ever found in English sources. On the other hand he lists the merge on Phra Nakhon and Thonburi to Bangkok twice, and adds a different romanization of Pathum Thani as a rename. Also, the districts list lacks Wiang Kao created in 2006 - I found out about that district half year after its creation, also quite late.

I contacted Gwillim Law some years ago, notifying him about an error on the districts page (a wrong population number), and it took him very long to answer, and even longer to update that single number. I can imagine that he is very busy with keeping his website up-to-date, and when I consider the time I invest on the Thai subdivisions alone I can hardly believe a single human can keep up with more than 200 countries even in a full-time work.

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