Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Google maps business for Thai government agencies

When writing about the upgrade of Bu Kraeng TAO to a municipality, I tried to find the location of the TAO office with Google Maps as well. However, Google placed it right next to the district office of Chom Phra, clearly wrong, but then I tried to locate the office of Chom Phra instead.

Google Maps placed the municipality office about 2 kilometer southweat of the district office, but somehow the building there did not look that much as an office building. So I looked at the website of the municipality to maybe find a photo of the office and confirm Google - but then I instead found that I found one of the few local government websites who made use of Google Maps themselves already. Embedded on one subpage is the map I also include below, showing the boundary of the municipality, the location of the district office, the district assembly hall, two schools and also the municipality office.

ดู แผนที่เทศบาลตำบลจอมพระ ในแผนที่ขนาดใหญ่กว่า

But back to the first location - when looking at it again, when clicking on the icon returned by the search the popup among others showed a "edit details" link. The search had returned me one of the business entries in Google Maps, a collection of placemarks imported from various business address books. Here in Germany, these are usually pointing directly to the building they belong, but for the rare cases where they are wrong anyone can correct them - unless the business owner claims them and then all other editing is blocked. The reason for the wrong location is probably the difficulty to parse a Thai address, which is based on lot numbers and not the more straight-forward street numbers used here. As the lot numbers have no logical order, one would need a full database of lot number locations to parse an address into a geolocation. At least for the entry of the municipality office Chom Phra, with the help of their own Google map, I have now fixed the location. But there are still many many such wrong locations waiting for their business owners or volunteer correctors, I even had seen a resort on Samui placed into Surat Thani city, only because that is the province capital...

No comments: