Wednesday, February 4, 2009

NorthEast Thailand Village Information System

There really should be more scientific papers indexed by Google, those view which I come across by my searches often contain very interesting information which normally is locked away in those few university libraries which can afford to subscribe to the academic magazines.

My latest find was a 1996 paper by Nagata Yoshikatsu titled Mapping the village database: the spread of economic growth to rural areas of northeast Thailand. This paper introduces a database of the villages (muban) of the northeastern region of Thailand, the Isan. The paper includes some example maps produced by the system, yet far more are on the NETVIS gallery website. A rather specific but also very interesting application was presented in a more recent paper - the Temporal distribution of community temples in Northeast Thailand.

There are two parts of the NETVIS database which overlaps with the work I try to do, but have hardly been able for the villages yet due to the lack of reliable sources. The first one refers to a problem I complained about earlier - the geocodes for the villages are not unique over time.
4 . The Village Identification Database
Two components of the village database are a set of data for a village tagged by a unique identification number, and a look-up table that relates the number to the name of village.
The identification number comprises eight digits, of which consecutive pairs from
the left represent changwat (province), amphoe (district), tambon (sub-district), and muban (village). The identification numbers are not necessarily fixed from one survey to the next, because of frequent division and reorganization of the administrative units of all levels.7) Thus, a given number does not always identify the same village in different surveys. Therefore a separate database for identification of villages over the years was prepared.
The second part are the geographical locations for each of the villages. If I am not mistaken, then DOPA itself is now working on a list, and I can only hope that they will make be freely accessible. Compiling the locations from maps and other sources for 25,000 villages like it was done for NETVIS must really been a tedious time consuming work.

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