Friday, February 27, 2009

Surat Thani PAO by-elections forthcoming

Looks like I will again be able to see election campaigning when I am in Surat Thani in April, just like last year as reported here. The chairman of the provincial administration organization (PAO) elected on April 20 2008, Thani Thaugsuban (นายธานี เทือกสุบรรณ), has stepped down recently because be alleged of electoral fraud. The election commission (EC) considered the granting of scholarships at several schools in the province shortly before election day. As I am just reading a the book on the electoral politics in the 1990s, similar activities were described by the author, additional to the direct vote-buying by giving money to the villagers.

Looking at the election results - he won 59.3% of all votes, more than 80,000 votes more than the next candidate - I wonder if he really needed to do something like this. Being the incumbent he could already direct the funds available to the PAO during his last term, thus securing his voter basis, such a last-minute action only forced the EC to investigate the case.

I suppose the only reason why this local news made it into the nation-wide English newspapers and thus caught my attention is the fact that Thani is the younger brother of Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, and Suthep is also investigated on alleged illegal campaigning for his brother. And he is not only a member of the cabinet, but also an executive of the Democratic Party. If found guilty, the only reason why the case will not result in a dissolution of the whole party is the fact that this harsh punishment on applies to fraud during national election, and not local ones.

I did not find yet when the by-election will take place, but it will be a by-election for the whole province. At least for the national by-elections I read that the candidate causing the by-election by his misconduct must pay the expenses, so this will be a quite expensive for him. At least he can run again, as he only received a yellow card - unlike the PAO member from Ko Samui who received a red card now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Headmen salary increase - Update

The Nation published another article on the salary increase for the headmen since now a 100% rise in two steps is approved by the cabinet. The reason why I write on this the second time is simply that with this article comes a table with all the posts concerned and their current (and proposed) salary.

Adding to that table the Thai names for these posts it is like follows:
EnglishThaiRomanized ThaiSalary
Subdistrict headmanกำนันKamnan฿ 5,000
Village headmanผู้ใหญ่บ้านPhu Yai Ban฿ 4,000
Subdistrict doctorแพทย์ประจำตำบลPhaet Pracham Tambon฿ 2,500
Deputy subdistrict headmanสารวัตรกำนันSanwat Kamnan฿ 2,500
Deputy village headmanผู้ช่วยผู้ใหญ่บ้านPhu Chuai Phu Yai Ban฿ 2,500
The whole measure will cost the government 10 million Baht, as a total of 270,000 officials will get a raise. As there are nearly 75,000 administrative villages and 7,255 subdistricts (as of December 2007), and ignoring the fact that some of these entities don't have a headman anymore because they belong to a town or city municipality, this number means there are in medium 3 officials per entity. So there must be usually two deputy (assistant) village headmen.

I am not sure what The Nation means by "According to the salary revised on April 1, 2006" - it cannot mean that the last raise was in 2006 since Bangkok Post says that there was no raise for a decade.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Municipalities in the 1970 census

Found in Wolf Donner's Five faces of Thailand on page 59 is a list of the municipalities with more than 30,000 citizen, as well as listing the numbers and the rules for the three kinds of municipalities. Using the spellings and translation from the book it says:
  • Thesaban Nakhon (city) - 3 entities. At least 50,000 inhabitants and a density of a least 3,000 per km².
  • Thesaban Muang (town) - 82 entities. At least 10,000 inhabitants and a similar density.
  • Thesaban Tambon (commune) - 35 entities. Established according to administrative needs.
The 10 largest municipalities by their population in 1970 were
3.Chiang Mai83,729
4.Nakhon Ratchasima66,071
5.Udon Thani56,218
6.Hat Yai47,953
7.Nakhon Sawan46,853
8.Samut Prakan46,632
10.Nakhon Si Thammarat40,671

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Subdistrict boundary specification in Kanchanaburi

Another district gets an update on the boundaries of the subdistricts, this time Phanom Thuan in Kanchanaburi. Approved for publication on July 29 2008 already and now published on February 17, the announcement lists 7 subdistricts with their administrative villages. Only the subdistrict Phang Tru is omitted in this list however.

Filling in this missing subdistrict from the XLS file, made public by DOPA to compile a village list, the district is subdivided like this.
 1.Phanom Thuanพนมทวน 9
 2.Nong Rongหนองโรง17
 3.Thung Samoทุ่งสมอ 4
 4.Don Chediดอนเจดีย์ 8
 5.Phang Truพังตรุ20
 6.Rang Waiรางหวาย23
11.Nong Saraiหนองสาหร่าย 9
12.Don Ta Phetดอนตาเพชร13
The missing geocodes belong to those subdistricts which now form the district Huai Krachao and were split off in 1994.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Portrait of a female TAO chief

On the website on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in South-East Asia is a portrait of Siriporn Panyasen (ศิริพร ปัญญาเสน), the head officer of the TAO Pichai, Mueang Lampang district, Lampang province.

Siriporn started with volunteer community work at age 19, additionally to her normal work. This volunteer work after some time made her a member of the village council and later she became assistant village headman. Next she became involved in the next-higher level, rising slowly in the subdistrcit (tambon) administration up to become assistant subdistrict headman.

In 1996, the Tambon administrative organization (TAO) in Phichai was established, and Siriporn became the head of the TAO. According to the article, which was published in May 2008, this happened 10 years ago. As the normal term of the TAO council is 5 years, this means she had to run for reelection in 2008. I don't know if she succeeded or not. I wonder a bit why she was eligible for reelection at all, I read somewhere that for several posts a maximum of two terms is allowed. Either the TAO chiefs don't fall under this rule, or she was allowed a third term because for the first one she was elected by the council, while since 2003 the TAO chief is directly elected.

As I browse the websites of TAO occasionally, these often show the official photos of all the staff. Women are usually present there, but usually only at the lower posts. It's a pity that article does not mention how many women currently are TAO chiefs (or Tambon headmen, or village headmen), but though Siriporn is probably not the only one, her background from a poor family as well as her activities to motivate more women to take an active role in politics makes her a notable TAO chief.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Poorest Tambon

Found via a page of the Worldbank there are two maps depicting the percentage of poor people at subdistrict level. The two maps - one showing the urban (municipal) areas while the second the rural (non-municipal) tambon are taken from the paper "Spatially Disaggregated Estimates of Poverty and Inequality in Thailand by Healy, Andrew J., Somchai Hitsuchon and Yos Vajaragupta published in 2003. The paper includes further maps using different ways of identifying poverty - by consumption as in the maps picked by Worldbank, and also the income inequality by the Gini coefficient.

As the maps down to subdistrict level are hardly recognizable except for those really large subdistricts in the mountainous areas, the maps showing an average of the rural data to the province level are much better to recognize. I have redone those maps (Figures 16 and 17) using my boilerplate map to display them here - the upper one the ratio of poor people, the bottom one the income inequality. Not much surprisingly, the poorest areas (red and orange) are the northeast (Isan), and the three deep-south Muslim province, and only in central, eastern and some southern provinces the percentage of poor people is below 5%. For the Gini coefficient the picture is less clear, even within the Isan here are areas with a value below 35 and thus a income inequality comparable with western countries. As of the 2007/08 Human Development Report Thailand in medium has a Gini coefficient of 42.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Salary increase for the headmen

A news report from February 17 makes the salary of the village headmen accessible to the English world, I have never read anything on the income of these elected government officials before. The report from the National News Bureau read in total
The government was ready to increase allowances by around 7,500 baht to each of village headmen nationwide, although it had to consider its fiscal position first, according to a deputy prime minister.

Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban said today (February 17) that the government was prepared to support Minister of Interior Mr. Chavarat Charnvirakul who earlier pledged to the village headmen to increase their allowances and to maintain their legal positions.

Although the government had to think of its fiscal position first as 2010 national budget may not to sufficiently support the policy, he said that the administration would increase their allowances by around 7,500 baht a person from their earlier demanding 10,000 baht. Mr. Suthep said that the decision was not pressure by coalition parties.
The newspaper article from The Nation adds the fact that this not only affects the village headmen (ผู้ใหญ่บ้าน, Phu Yai Ban), but also the subdistrict headmen (กำนัน, Kamnan), thus both of the posts in the central administration which are elected by the citizen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why Thai authorities don't reply to English email?

I often run into confusing facts while researching the administrative subdivisions, or also sometimes I am able to spot error on websites or in other documents published by government authorities. I have tried several times to get into contact with someone at these authorities, but so far almost all the time my email apparently landed in a black hole, as I never got any reply. To be honest, there were exceptions - I once got a reply from the Public Relation Department when I asked for a RSS feed for their English news, and two of the Catholic dioceses also replied me.

It seems I am not alone with this problem, at the Bangkok Bugle I found that even hotels and other Thai companies fail to reply to English inquiries and loose business opportunities in this, even quite significant ones.

But what are the reasons for this. Is it just that the person who reads the email is not speaking English at all. Or maybe enough to read it, but not daring to write an answer in broken English, scaring the loose of face in showing the bad writing capabilities? Or are the emails not checked at all? Even though English is mandatory in Thai schools, as far as I know only those who can go to the better schools or university can learn decent English.

To give an example, when I was photographing the office of the TAO Bang Bai Mai (ตำบลบางใบไม้) near Surat Thani last year, trying to catch the emblem above the entrance with the camera, then someone from the office came out, asked me in quite good English to come inside, what I was looking for, and finally gave me a photocopy of the emblem. A few months later I asked by email if they can give me a few facts behind the emblem - who created it, when was it officially adopted, and what is the meaning of the boat and the other items depicted on it - but that email was never answered. So neither missing goodwill nor missing language knowledge could be the reason here.

Or when I tried to send DOPA corrections to the list of recommended romanized spellings of the subdistricts it was apparently also ignored, at least no answer ever came back. Which is really sad as a contact within DOPA would be most helpful, as over there those things I can only speculate about are known.

In fact I started blogging as an alternative way to get the answers I was seeking - if asking directly does not work, maybe posting the questions in a public way will make someone knowledgeable read it and give me the feedback I need. Well, it did not work much yet, I still don't receive much feedback, but blogging became enjoyable by itself instead then.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 blocked by Google

Seems like the webmaster of did not learn much from last year, when their site was hacked twice and redirected to some evil websites. Now my Firefox even greeted me with a big red warning when I tried to open
The details on this security alert - which was discovered by Google - include the following
Of the 60 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 8 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2009-02-12, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2009-02-10.

Malicious software includes 54 adware(s), 1 trojan(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 1 new processes on the target machine.
Some month ago even the Ministry of Defense was blocked like that, and guess what: it still is! Is FireFox not spread enough in Thailand to make enough people notice it and giving the webmaster the loss of face they deserve? I mean, that a small municipality of a few thousand people cannot have a fully qualified webmaster and thus may have their website get hacked unnoticed is something I could understand, but a ministry? And not noticing it for three months - well, at least since December 2nd Google did not find anything bad anymore. I just hope the webmaster of can at least clean up the mess again this time - it seems the site is working right now, but I wouldn't suggest opening it with Internet Explorer and without a decent virus scanner.

Update February 25th
Now the warning screen no longer show, but in fact the site is still compromised. Typing a URL directly in the browser works, but when clicking an external link towards I often end at the malware site Webmaster, please do your work correctly before asking Google to remove the warning!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Subdistrict headmen elections

The book Democracy, Development and Decentralization in Provincial Thailand by Daniel Arghiros is about the local elections, taking an anonymous district of Ayutthaya as the example. Even though the actual book is most comfortable to read, you can read the part I am referring to in Google Books as well. In fact, it was a search result from Google Books which made me notice and finally buy this book. Even a book nearly completely readable in Google Books can serve as an advert to buy it. And hopefully for out-of-print books it'll have something like gBooks in the near future as well. But back to the topic...

Already with the thesaphiban reforms at the begin of the 20th century, the posts of the subdistrict headman (kamnan, กำนัน) and the village headman (phu yai ban, ผู้ใหญ่บ้าน) became elected posts. However in the district observed by Arghiros it was usual till the 1960s that the one elected was in fact chosen by the district officer. And also it was usual that the post was semi-hereditary, when the former headman died or retired often his son was elected as his successor.

In the time of about 1960-1990 the candidate elected was usually the one who had the largest kin-group. Also, before the 1970s the post of a headman was actually not really popular - a lot of work, not much power, and only a low salary from the government. This changed when the Tambon councils were given funds for development in their area, and with the increased possibilities also the temptation to redirect some of that money into their own pockets. Another big change happened at during the 1980s, when the district changed from being predominately agricultural to industrialization. Now the entrepreneurs targeted these offices to secure their power and access to funding, and also the vote-buying became rampant.

Further changes came in the 1990s. Till then once elected the office holder stayed till retirement age without any need for reelection. Now they have to run for reelection every five years. Also most of the tasks and powers have since been transferred to the local administrative units, Tambon Administrative Organization (TAO) or the municipalities. But that's the topic of the later chapters I still have to read.

Friday, February 13, 2009

1947 - the year of the Tambon

Up until the subdistrict (Tambon) creation ceased in 1997, in a normal year around 100 new subdistricts were established, a number which slowly decreased when going further into the past. But the year 1947 was a very special one with respect of the subdistricts, as a total of 881 subdistricts were created then in only 11 Royal Gazette announcements. Especially one was very lengthy containing 674 of these on 320 pages (Gazette).

I have come across several interesting and noteworthy details while working through all these, but since it would become a very lengthy posting to write down all at once I will only give the overview and a bit of statistics now and will write some further postings on these creations later. It took me more than a month to process them all.

One thing which I am rather sure about already is the fact that these 881 Tambon were not all created in 1941. In a few cases I had to check with to check for the history of the subdistrict, and when it had the creation year cited there it was up to several years earlier. One case I already wrote about where the new subdistricts already got mentioned in a Gazette announcement in 1943. Another indication of this assumption is the fact that there were almost no subdistrict creations in the time before - only one in both 1940 and 1941, one in 1939, two in 1938, and four in 1936. And these are in fact the only announcements of subdistricts creations before 1947 I have found so far.

In median, the subdistricts were created with 6 villages. I already mentioned the six subdistricts which were created with a single village, and the maximum number of villages of 18 occured three times. The province with most new subdistricts announced in 1947 is Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, a total of 58 subdistricts. As the province today has 209 subdistricts, this means 25% of the modern day subdistricts were announced in 1947.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to read the DOPA population statistics

As I was asked by email on a bit of explanation on how to read the population statistics from the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), maybe it would be helpful for others as well to have a full explanation here - there even seems to be no Thai explanation on them at the DOPA website...

To begin with, the URL for each year is formed in the same way, is the first page for BE 2551 (i.e. 2008). The data is available back till BE 2536 (1993). To get to a specific province directly, the last part of the URL changes to pop51xx_01.html, where xx is replaced with the geocode (ISO 3166-2:TH) of the province. For example for Surat Thani it is pop5184_01.html. And of course the following pages are at _02.htm and so on.

Now you should see the page like in the screenshot. If you only see garbled characters, then your browser did not use the Thai encoding to display the website (the web designer forgot to set this in the header of the webpage), and you have to change the display encoding manually to Windows-874 (or ISO 8859-11). The table columns are from left to right
  • The name of the entity, including the type (Changwat, Amphoe, Tambon, Thesaban)
  • The male population
  • The female population
  • The total population
  • The number of households
Now comes the complicate part. In the above table one only sees 8 subdistricts of Mueang Surat Thani district, even though that district in real contains 11 subdistrict. The reason is that it only shows the non-municipal population at this step, for this district it only shows a population of 30,841 - but in real in is 171,387 when including the municipal populations. And as the district Ko Samui completely forms one municipality, this district is not listed in the table at all.

After the district with their non-municipal population come the municipalities, for Surat Thani 2008 beginning at page 5. Just like for the districts, it lists the municipalities in bold followed by all the subdistricts covered by them. Except those municipalities which were upgraded from a TAO recently, most of the municipalities cover subdistricts partially, so for example the subdistrict Bang Bai Mai (ตำบลบางใบไม้) is listed both under the Mueang district (2,521 citizen) and under the city of Surat Thani (603 citizen).

This structure makes it a bit difficult to get the full population numbers of a district or subdistrict, especially as the subdistrict names within a province are rarely unique, so to find the right entry from the municipal data one has to know to which district the municipality belongs. It was in fact this tedious work which I had to do for each of the 877 district articles on Wikipedia which made me use my programming skills to build a parser for these statistics. The second incarnation of this parser is part of my Tambon coding project. And even though I can now read the Thai letters , the translation of the Thai names into the easier to read Latin alphabet is also useful.

I think this should be enough for an overview, I will leave some special cases in these statistics as well as a few errors which only showed with the automatic parsing for another post.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New bishop in Chiang Mai

Even though I will continue to focus on the civil administration, an occasional posting on the ecclesiastic subdivisions (i.e. the Roman Catholic dioceses) and their news won't hurt.

On February 10th the Pope has accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Sangval Surasarang (ประวัติพระสังฆราชยอแซฟ สังวาลย์ ศุระศรางค์), bishop of the diocese of Chiang Mai. The photo shows the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Chiang Mai, the principal church of the diocese. Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana (ฟรังซิส เซเวียร์ วีระ อาภรณ์รัตน์) was assigned as the new bishop. The short announcement in the Vatican news read as follows

Appointed Fr. Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana of the clergy of Bangkok, Thailand, director of the diocesan catechesis centre and secretary of the episcopal commission for catechesis, as bishop of Chiang Mai (area 89,683, population 5,749,882, Catholics 48,927, priests 74, religious 140), Thailand. The bishop-elect was born in Sam Saem, Thailand in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1981. He succeeds Bishop Joseph Sangval Surasarang, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
At the Archdiocese of Bangkok I could also find that news in Thai. A longer English announcement should be forthcoming on, the press agency of the Vatican.

Normally bishops can retire once they reach the age of 75, but as Bishop Joseph Sangval Surasarang is just 73 he got an early retirement probably due to poor health - the normal retirement is canon 401§1 while the earlier retirement is covered in 401§2. In fact, there are three bishops in Thailand who already passed the retirement age, including Cardinal Kitbunchu, so there may be further new bishops in the near future. All other dioceses already received a new bishops since 2004, so a full generation change is currently underway.

Update: The full announcement from Fides can be found here, which however strangely claims the retirement was according to 401§1.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Subdistrict boundary specification in Samut Sakhon

Published on Friday already was a Royal Gazette announcement regarding the areas of the subdistricts in Mueang Samut Sakhon district. On 34 pages, it lists all the 18 subdistricts with their boundary in north, east, south, and west direction. Except for the three subdistricts which form the city of Samut Sakhon itself also all the muban are listed with their names, a total of 116 administrative villages. So one more district where I could add a complete and authoritative list of muban into my XMLs.

That map I created in 2006 for the Wikipedia article, I guess it is still correct enough as this announcement probably only adjusted the boundaries minimally. The numbers in the map are simply the geocodes of the subdistricts, numbers one to three are those which form the city of Samut Sakhon.

While updating the Wikipedia article on the district, I also noticed that somehow I omitted two of the TAO upgraded to municipalities in 2007, Bang Ya Phraek and Tha Chin, in my speadsheet.

Monday, February 9, 2009

What is a Muban

By some random googleing I had come across a page titled Location, Location, Location, where a Chiang Mai based real estate company gives a short explanation of the administrative system in Thailand to make the foreigners understand how to read Thai postal addresses. I emailed some correction to the webmaster, and in his reply he notified me about yet another meaning of the word Muban, adding to the confusion on this term.

The etymology of "Muban" (หมู่บ้าน) is straight-forward. Ban (บ้าน) means house, and Mu (หมู่) means group, so literally it is "group of houses".

Let's start with the layman's interpretation. Muban is translated as village, so it will refer to any small settlement. According to Wikipedia, it refers to settlements of 5 to 30 families, but that is of course the European origin of the word. Larger settlements would be called town or even city. I don't know what term is used in Thai normally if referring to settlements outside the administrative use, which is the next topic.

The administrative use of course originates in that normal meaning of the word. While the recommended translation for Muban is also Village, maybe I should better follow the term used in the book Democracy, Development and Decentralization in Provincial Thailand, where the Muban are translated as "Administrative Village". One such administrative village may coincide with a single settlement, but can also include several smaller settlements. Or in case of a small town, the settlement may be subdivided into several administrative villages all sharing the same name and only identifiable by the village number, or share the same base name with one of the standard suffices I blogged about earlier. To give an idea about the size of these administrative villages, the average Muban consists of 144 households or 746 persons (numbers from 1990, I have not searched yet for anything more recent).

The third meaning are the gated communities, something hardly known here in Europe. But especially in the suburban area of Bangkok a lot of these can be found where the middle and higher class people live in protection from the poor. These communities are also called "Muban" in Thai, but of course they have no connection with the administrative entities.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bangkok 226 exhibition

Anyone who is in Bangkok right now should use the weekend or next week for the last chance to visit the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) for the exhibition Krungthep 226 - The Art From Early Days Bangkok To The Imagined Future. The exhibition will close on February 15th.

Quoting from a news clipping back in December

The ‘Bangkok 226’ exhibition depicts historical facts of the 226-year-old Thai capital through various kinds of art including paintings, photographs and sculptures.
The collection created by over 50 contemporary Thai and foreign artists is divided into 4 parts. Beginning with ‘Bangkok Early Day’, visitors travel back to the era of King Taksin who founded Bangkok 226 years ago and view old Siam maps. [...]
There's no entrance fee, and the museum is conveniently located right next to the MBK shopping center and Siam Square, so the only excuse for not visiting there would be to be outside Bangkok. Which is sadly the case for me, when I will come to Bangkok this exhibition will be over - hopefully it will have something interesting then, but cannot find any schedule of future exhibitions on the BACC website. Maybe I can still get the exhibition catalogue for this one in two month to have at least an idea what I have missed.

Rather odd for a museum photography is allowed, so there's a photo gallery of this exhibition on Narm's multiply page. My favorite painting is theDemocracy Monument reclaimed by nature, the picture above I have "borrowed" from the ThailandQA forum.

By the way, it seems like the BACC website is still under construction (it even says "temporary website" in the header) not unlike the museum itself, which has several floors still empty and waiting for a permanent exhibition. Especially the English section of the website clearly needs expansion, as this venue was built be for tourists as well.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

City pillar shrine in Suphanburi

Today just a small pointer to the Tourism Thailand blog of Eugene Tang (I envy him for being able to travel Thailand and write about it on behalf of the TAT), who just recently posted on the city pillar shrine (Lak Mueang) of Suphanburi (ศาลหลักเมืองสุพรรณบุรี), with lots of beautiful photos and also some on the history of the temple.

Suphanburi is on my travel itinerary for the forthcoming trip to Thailand, so I will visit that shrine then as well. The photo in this post is therefore not mine, but the one HDamm uploaded to Wikipedia from his visit there in 2006. I will probably report on my trip there in my own travel blog, hopefully my photos will be of similar quality as those by Eugene Tang.

Another English blogpost of this site with many photos can be found in panalwayscute's blog.

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.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

2008 Population data down to tambon level

Yesterday I mentioned it to be coming soon, now it is available online - the population data down to subdistrict level for 2008.

I am still working through the provinces to check which of the new municipalities is included and update my XMLs accordingly, as these population data is the only way to guess the geocode for those municipalities. For the central and southern provinces the new municipalities of 2007 are included - most of these were missing in the 2007 data -, while those created in this year are nearly all missing.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Official population number as of December 31 2008

Announced on the website of the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) is the official population number of Thailand as of December 31 2008.

According to this announcement, which is based on the registration data, the kingdom had 63,389,730 citizen, 31,255,869 (or 49.3%) male and 32,133,861 (50.7) female - Kathoey are apparently not counted separately. However, DOPA has not yet updated the full statistics of population per province, district and subdistrict, the latest it has there are the data as of December 2007 (exact day not specified). Last year this was put online beginning of February, so it should be available soon.

Comparing the population numbers of 2007 and 2008, one sees an increase of 35,1483 or 0.56%, which is about the same growth rate it had for the last years. When plotting the data from 1993, the first year it has these full statistics at the DOPA website, one sees a steady increase. The decrease by 1 million in 2004 was probably a statistical artifact, and not a real population decrease.