Friday, March 26, 2010

Truck registration province codes

Ian Fuller aka Bkkphotographer had a good eye for the details, as he noticed that one number on the license plate for trucks in fact correlates with the province of registration. He even wrote a whole document on the many different kinds of license plates full with his photos, from the private cars over trucks and buses up to diplomatic cars and the Royal household cars.

Though he did not find a complete list of these numbers, he could deduce them from statistics at the Department of Land Transport, e.g. the new car statistics sheet lists the provinces in the same ordering as found on the license plates. The strange thing is that these numbers very much look like the TIS:1099 (almost identical with ISO 3166-2) codes, even the first digit for the regions is identical. But the second digit is totally different, for example the upper south using the numbers 80 to 86 have the following translation.
CodeTIS:1099License plate
80Nakhon Si ThammaratChumphon
82Phang NgaSurat
83PhuketPhang Nga
84Surat ThaniNakhon Si Thammarat
The same happens in all other regions. It is really surprising that this government department uses codes incompatible with the national standard. The only explanation I have for this would be that these codes are in use for a long time already, before the codes developed by the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) went into use outside the Ministry of Interior and developed into the national standard first published in 1992.

The sad thing last - Ian Fuller passed away suddenly in January, so there won't be any updates on this finding by him nor any other of his photo stories. I only discovered his blog one months before his death, so did not have much chance to interact with him. But even from the few things I saw of his net activities his untimely death is a big loss. May he rest in peace.

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