Published on the website of the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) on last Thursday was an announcement titled ศูนย์ข้อมูลอำเภอกรมการปกครอง (Data center of districts at DOPA). With my limited Thai and the help of online translators it seems that DOPA is planning a new Internet database for district data.
After giving some patent statements on the importance of IT for a modern and efficient district administration, the director-general of DOPA Wangsak Sawatphanit (วงศ์ศักดิ์ สวัสดิ์พาณิชย์) then reveals the plans to compile data necessary for the administration and present them centrally in one website. The data includes general data, map data and important projects. The data is to be entered and verified by the officers in the district offices.
The project starts this year with a test-drive with 20 districts, one from the each of the provinces Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Tak, Mae Hong Son, Nong Khai, Mukdahan, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Prachinburi, Chonburi, Trat, Ratchaburi, Suphanburi, Chainat, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Pattani, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Phuket, and once successful to be expanded on all 878 districts.
And if I read the final section correctly, this new website is supposed to be accessible for everyone, to get reliable information on the districts easily, as well as a place for the districts to present themselves. It therefore sounds like replacing the existing website amphoe.com with a new database including more and better data. Since the districts are supposed to do their PR on this new site, I can only hope they won't forget to make the site bilingual to allow non-Thai to use it as well. I am quite curious to see what these 20 districts will look like on that new site. Hopefully it'll have more ways of giving feedback later in this project, right now it only has a phone number to call - even though I have not much hope to be heard I do have ideas what I would love to see in such a site inspired from my experiences in creating the Wikipedia articles on the districts.