Wednesday, December 28, 2011

3 TAO upgraded to municipalities

Three more TAO were upgraded to subdistrict municipalities and published in the Royal Gazette on December 23rd. All three were signed on September 12, however only two became effective on that day as well.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas gift for coordinate lovers

When I last mentioned the MGRS coordinates found in several of the Royal Gazette announcements, there was the question on how to convert them into the more easily accessible latitude and longitude values. I had all the necessary source code within my own application, but in order to use it one needs to be a programmer - or at least have Visual Studio installed and be able to compile it. So not really something which a normal computer user could do.

But as its now the time of year for gifts - and Christmas trees show up in Bangkok as well even though their don't belong into the culture there - I have now split the relevant parts of my source code into a separate application which does nothing else but the coordinate transformation. It is still more of a prototype than a good application, but at least it should be easy to use and should enable everyone who is interesting with a way to see in Google Earth what was meant by the MGRS coordinate.

Since I wanted to add some visual sugar as well, there is a map display which directly shows the location. For a start, I used the Beta version of the official Bing maps control, which is still quite limited but was easy enough for a start. Main limitation is that to use it one needs a key, and I doubt I can supply my key with the application. If you have one, it needs to be added into the file "GeoTool.exe.config", which however is well hidden due to the way WPF applications install in Windows. But even without it, the map will display, but with an ugly banner over it.

To avoid that everyone asks for the same enhancements of this tool, here's my main to do list. If you can think of anything else, feel free to comment, though I won't promise anything...
  • Easy way to set the maps key, or be able to avoid it altogether
  • Have an interactive map, so can drag the marker on the map and see the coordinates changing
  • Have other map providers, Google Maps as the one with best satellite data, OpenStreetMap maybe. Have to find a good control which does the magic.
  • Some art work, for example an application icon.
So finally, to get that little tool, all you have to do is download the 436 kByte zip file, unpack and install it. There's of course no warranty whatsoever.

And of course a Merry Christmas to anyone who celebrates it, and a happy new year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kong Khwai TAO upgraded to municipality

Yesterday, the upgrade of the TAO Kong Khwai (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลกองควาย) to a subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลกองควาย) was announced in the Royal Gazette. It is probably effective as of November 30, the date the announcement was signed by the Deputy Minister of Interior Chuchart Hansawat (นายชูชาติ หาญสวัสดิ์). The issue was discussed in one of the last board meeting transcripts I could find, meeting 52/2010. However, in that meeting no date was set for the upgrade

There are however two interesting things around this upgrade. At first, this change was not listed in the document with the municipal changes for the current fiscal year yet when I last downloaded it, as it was only including the changes till October 7 (plus two scheduled ones, one for November 30 and one for December 21). Thus it does not mention Kong Khwai, and I have to hope for an update of the list by DOLA to see if there are more upgrades forthcoming.

The second strange thing is the timing. Almost all the upgrades of TAO and municipalities happen when the term of the council and mayor has ended, to avoid local elections to happen to often. However, in this case the latest election was in February 2009, thus it is now mid-term.

An interesting observation - on the Thai Wikipedia the article on the subdistrict Kong Khwai as well as on the district Mueang Nan was updated by an anonymous editor earlier today. Sadly, on the English Wikipedia I am still alone to keep the pages up to date, and thus many of the municipality status are still not correctly there.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Municipality area changes in Chiang Mai

Announced today was the change of area of the municipalities Chom Thong (เทศบาลตำบลจอมทอง) and Ban Luang (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านหลวง), both in Chom Thong district of Chiang Mai province. Though it was announced in two separate publication [Chom Thong, Ban Luang], in fact the two belong together as it was a transfer of area from Ban Luang to Chom Thong.

The reason for this transfer of area goes back to the creation of the sanitary district Ban Luang back in 1956 [Gazette], which at that time only covered the more densely populated area around the district office. In 1999 the sanitary district was upgraded to a municipality, in 2000 it was renamed to Chim Thong [Gazette], to have the same name as the district. In 2009 the TAO Ban Luang was upgraded to a municipality as well [Gazette], but since this covered the whole subdistrict area except those parts covered by Chom Thong municipality, this in fact meant that the municipality Ban Luang is split into two parts - the main part west of Chom Thong, and a small appendix east of it till the Ping River, which marks the boundary to Lamphun province. With these two announcements, this oddity is corrected, giving Ban Luang municipality a continuous area, and enlarging Chom Thong municipality to the west. Also a smaller area west of the original Chom Thong at the southern boundary of the subdistrict is added.

Sadly I have not enough time to create a map showing the old and new boundaries, so if you're interested in the details, there are maps are in the above linked announcements. The image above is from the 2009 TAO upgrade announcement, and shows Chom Thong hatched, and the subdistrict boundary by the thicker line.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Subdistrict headmen with a different title

When I was checking the website of Mae O subdistrict administrative organization (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลแม่อ้อ) in Chiang Rai, I found that unlike most websites of local government units they not only present their current personnel, but also the past chairmen of the TAO were listed on a separate page. Starting with the chairman of the Tambon Council (ประธานสภาตำบล), who was ex officio also the subdistrict headman, two more chairmen elected by the council (ประธานกรรมการบริหารองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล) and since 2002 the directly elected chairmen (นายกองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล). Sadly there's no explanation for the more than one year without any office holder from 2004 to 2006. Anyway, such complete lists of office holders are rare to find, and even more rare the past TAO council chairmen or the TAO clerks are lists.

But even more interesting is the history page, which is in fact the history of the subdistrict and not just of the TAO. And here all the previous subdistrict headmen are also listed. The notable part is the title given for the headmen before 1978 (until headmen number 10), which are listed as Pho Khwaen (พ่อแคว่น), literally "father of land/region". I guess it was only the local name for the headman, who still officially had the title "Kamnan", as already back in 1908 the names for the subdivisions and their leader were consolidated. Before that year, in the north the subdistricts were named Khwaen, and the headmen Nai Khwaen (นายแคว้น). As the table was reconstructed and the compiler did not know the years for the headmen before 1974, the title Pho Khwaen might also be simply due to the fact that the compile did not remember when the title Kamnan became official.

Friday, December 9, 2011

HDI Index by province

While monitoring the "Provinces of Thailand" page on Wikipedia, I noticed that a user has added a "List of Thailand provinces by Human Development Index". I only looked into it in detail because I noticed that all the provinces were linked to the province capital or a disambiguation page, but not the actual article on the province.

Yet first a short explanation on the Human Development Index (HDI) intends to encode how much the society has developed, combining the life expectancy, education and literacy as well as the student enrollment, and the gross domestic product into a single numerical value. The highest value of 0.943 is reached by Norway, the lowest of 0.286 by the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thailand as a country reaches 0.682, a medium development.

As the above listed indicators could also be applied to country subdivisions, it is possible to show the best and least developed parts of country as well. Thus I turned the values in that list into a nice map, using colors from green to red to encode the different values found in the provinces - it is interesting that not just Bangkok and Phuket reach a very high value, but also the province Chiang Mai. And not all of the northeastern provinces have low values, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima and Ubon Ratchathani all are above country average as well, whereas some of the central provinces like Ayutthaya score quite low.

However, one of the problems of the list can be seen in the map already - there are several provinces without colors, as the list only includes 51 provinces. And while it includes Bueng Kan and Nong Khai before and after the split, it also includes Pattaya which is no province at all. But the biggest problem is that it completely lacks any references, thus I have no idea if the numbers are valid, who and how calculated them.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Subdistrict boundary change in Roi Et

Another of the announcements published in the Royal Gazette last Friday was yet another subdistrict area definition, this time for two subdistricts in Roi Et [Gazette]. Since I have no time to do the detailed documentation of the change and compare it with the definition from 1997 - like I did it with a similar announcement earlier this year - there is one more interesting item within this announcement.

As usual, the announcement contains the list of Muban names within the subdistricts affected, in this case Dok Mai (ตำบลดอกไม้) and Sa Khu (ตำบลสระคู) of Suwannaphum district. I usual use these lists to add them into my XML directly, and thanks to the new font in the PDFs this works easily by copy-and-paste. However, the Muban list for Sa Khu is unusual, as for the first 5 Muban the names don't start with บ้าน (Ban), like it is in all other announcements of this kind. In fact, the same shows within the Muban list from 1997, and also the Muban list on the website of Sa Khu TAO.
  • หมู่ที่ ๑ คุ้มกลางเมืองใหม่ (Khum Klang Mueang Mai)
  • หมู่ที่ ๒ คุ้มหลังศาล (Khum Lang San)
  • หมู่ที่ ๓ คุ้มวัดเหนือ (Khum Wat Nuea)
  • หมู่ที่ ๔ คุ้มวัดสว่าง (Khum Wat Lang)
  • หมู่ที่ ๕ คุ้มใต้ (Khum Tai)
  • หมู่ที่ ๖ บ้านน้ําคําน้อย (Ban Nam Kham Noi)
  • ... (21 Muban altogether)
These five administrative villages are those located in the town Suwannaphum (เทศบาลตำบลสุวรรณภูมิ), and given the historical origin of this town as an old Mueang, the translation of Khum by Longdo dictionary as "residence of a Lao prince in the north of Thailand" fits well. So the word Khum looks like an alternative word for Ban in this case.

Whereas in past I was unsure whether the word Ban belongs to the name of the Muban or not, this case only adds more confusion - apparently the word Ban is normally part of the name, but not always.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Municipalities and TAOs renamed

Today, several announcements have been published in the Royal Gazette, changing the names of several municipalities and subdistrict administrative organizations (TAO) - the municipalities are all covered in one single publication, whereas each TAO has a separate one.

The municipality name changes [Gazette] are all effective November 30, with the announcement signed on November 7 by Deputy Interior Minister Chuchart Hansawat (นายชูชาติ หาญสวัสดิ์). The five changes are as follows.
  1. Ra-ngaeng subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตําบลระแงง), Sikhoraphum district, Surin renamed to Sikhoraphum (เทศบาลตําบลศีขรภูมิ) to match with the district name, as it is the municipality around the district office.
  2. Sop Yao subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตําบลสบยาว), Ko Kha district, Lampang province renamed to Ko Kha Mae Yao (เทศบาลตําบลเกาะคาแม่ยาว), since it is located within Ko Kha subdistrict and was the TAO Ko Kha before its upgrade in 2009.
  3. Na Wai Yai subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตําบลนาหว้าใหญ่), Pathum Ratchawongsa district, Amnat Charoen province renamed to Pathum Ratchawongsa (เทศบาลตําบลปทุมราชวงศา), as it is the municipality around the district office.
  4. Ban Len subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตําบลบ้านเลน), Ban Pa-in district, Ayutthaya province renamed to Ban Pa-in (เทศบาลตําบลบางปะอิน), as it is the municipality around the district office.
  5. Nong Kheng subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตําบลหนองเข็ง), Mueang Bueng Kan district, Bueng Kan province renamed to Non Sawang (เทศบาลตําบลโนนสว่าง), following the rename of the subdistrict earlier this year.
Additionally, two subdistrict administrative organizations are renamed.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bueng Kan PAO office location

Sign at the Bueng Kan PAO office
Photo by Tom Isaan
Some time ago, I mentioned that I found the address for the office of the provincial administrative organization (PAO) of the new province Bueng Kan, but due to the nature of Thai addresses it is impossible to convert this into coordinates to point it on a map.

Now my reader Tom, who is traveling a lot within the Northeast of Thailand (Isaan), was in Bueng Kan and managed to find the office at plot 198, Mu 8 of Bueng Kan subdistrict.

View Bueng Kan administration in a larger map

In the above map, it is the easternmost marker, located close to the land office of Bueng Kan. As the building is already visible in the satellite imagery from 2003 and looks like the standard style of government offices from above, it would be interesting to know how the building was used before. As you see, I have already added the location to my Bueng Kan administration map, but also to Wikimapia and of course into my XML.

Now in the vicinity of the small town of Bueng Kan, the only office locations I still don't have are the TAO Bueng Kan and probably a bit further away the Wisit subdistrict municipality. But as Tom has already sent me other geotagged photos of administrative offices, I am sure whenever he spots either of these I will get them soon as well. And this is one way how every of my readers can help me - in case you can find the location of a TAO or municipality office just send me, and I will add them to my maps.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Province seal stamps, Series 6

Nakhon Si Thammarat, from 2nd series
The 6th part of the provincial seal stamp series already went into sale in July, and I nearly missed it completely until I noticed the corresponding announcement in the Royal Gazette earlier this month - quite strange that the announcements on stamps always get published in the Royal Gazette months after the stamps go on sale.

Same as the previous releases (except the first which was a double release), another 10 province seals are covered this time, and by the Thai alphabetical ordering now the province Samut Sakhon, Sa Kaeo, Saraburi, Sing Buri, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Surin, Nong Khai and Nong Bua Lam Phu were due. Thus now 70 provinces have been covered, and only 7 left - Ang Thong, Amnat Charoen, Udon Thani, Uttaradit, Uthai Thani and Ubon Ratchathani, and out of the alphabetical order also Bueng Kan, as that province was created just recently. I wonder what will be placed in the remaining 3 spaces for the block, if I were to choose I would put the emblems of Thonburi and Phra Nakhon province, which ceased to exist with the creation of the special administrative area Bangkok.

I'll have to wait till next summer to pick my copy of this stamp block, and though it is not the most beautiful I'd love to have the first day cover for my favorite province Surat Thani - but that one is probably sold out till then already.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Province halls destroyed in past

When last year four province halls were destroyed in the aftermath of the forceful ending of the red shirt protests, I thought these acts were unprecedented in Thai history. At that time I only knew that the province hall of Surat Thani was destroyed twice, once during World War II at the Japanese invasion, and once by a bomb planted by communist terrorist in 1982.

Two weeks ago, a short news article by The Nation taught me otherwise. While the main point was about Democrat MP Wittaya Kaewparadai warning the government about the risk of riots if the flood situation isn't brought under control - and the current threats by citizens north of Bangkok to break the flood walls which protect the city and keep only them inundated are not far from riots - the final sentence is the interesting one for the topic of this blog.
After the 1995 floods, people in the South burned down the city hall because they believed the provincial governor was keeping donations to himself, he said, adding that he was concerned about the lack of transparency of the Bt120billion rehabilitation plan.
The Nation, Dissatisfaction with govt performance may lead to riots, opposition warns, November 10, 2010
Sadly, it is not mentioned at which province this riot occurred, or how seriously the province hall was damaged in that riot. I tried to find more with Google, but it seems there's nothing to find about that time in any English website.

If anyone know more details, or know about other cases when a province hall was destroyed in past, I am very curious to hear.

Monday, November 21, 2011

District officer of the year 2011

The annual award to the best performing district officers has been announced last week. Officially named นายอำเภอแหวนเพชร ประจำปี ๒๕๕๔ (Diamond District Officer of the year 2554), the winner for each of the regions are
  • North: Nakhon Khongnuan (นายนคร คงนวล), Thung Saliam district, Sukhothai
  • Central: Wisa Phunsirirat (นายวิสาห์ พูลศิริรัตน์), Hankha district, Chainat
  • Northeast: Somsak Sukprasoet (นายสมศักดิ์ สุขประเสริฐ), Wanon Niwat district, Sakon Nakhon
  • South: Dondet Phatnarat (นายดลเดช พัฒนรัฐ), Betong district, Yala

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chumchon office in Phitsanulok

The photo web site Panoramio, most known due to the fact that the photos from there are automatically displayed within Google Earth, had helped me to find the locations of administrative offices several times already, especially when the building is clearly identifiable from above and the view from the street with the sign help to get the correct coordinates.

Now more by random googleing than actual searching, I stumbled on a photo of the office of a municipal borough (Chumchon, ชุมชน), the administrative unit I know almost nothing about. So now I learned that the office of a borough is named ที่ทำการชุมชน. It turns out that this specific borough, borough number 14 of Phitsanulok city named Chumchon Suea Thim (ชุมชนเสือทิม) is quite present on the web, while the city does not even have a list of their boroughs on the website, this borough has its own website, an active Facebook page, and also some albums on Picasa.

So now this borough is the first one which got a complete entry in my XMLs.

<entity type="Chumchon" geocode="65990014" name="ชุมชนเสือทิม" english="Chumchon Suea Thim">
  <office type="ChumchonOffice">
    <vision>พัฒนาชุมชนให้เจริญและยั่งยืน เพิ่มศักยภาพของคนในชุมชน สร้างชุมชนให้เข้มแข็ง</vision>
      <official title="ChumchonChairman" name="สาวสุนิษา กำไร" inoffice="2011"/>

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Province governor reshuffle list 2011

In the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, apart from the controversial Royal pardon, the list of the annual province governor reshuffle was approved, moving 32 officials from or to province governor posts. The complete list as found in the cabinet meeting transcript is below. I only cannot find yet at which date the transfers become effective. The romanization of the Thai names was done by me and is probably often not identical with the spelling used by the corresponding officials.
  • Chonchuen Bunyanusan (นายชนม์ชื่น บุญญานุสาสน์) from a post in the Ministry to become province governor of Ratchaburi.
  • Wangchat Wongchaichana (นายวันชาติ วงษ์ชัยชนะ), province governor of Ranong to become Inspector-General in the MOI.
  • Phirasak Hinmueangkao (นายพีระศักดิ์ หินเมืองเก่า), Inspector-General in the MOI to become province governor of Ranong.
  • Surachai Chanasa (นายสุรชัย ขันอาสา), Director-General of the CDD to become province governor of Lamphun.
  • Praphat Bunyin (นายประภาศ บุญยินดี), province governor of Samut Songkhram to become Director-General of the CDD.
  • Thanon Wetkonkanon (นายธนน เวชกรกานนท์), province governor of Narathiwat to become province governor of Samut Songkhram.
  • Choetsak Chusi (นายเชิดศักดิ์ ชูศรี), province governor of Samut Prakan to Inspector-General in the MOI.
  • Wanida Bunprakhong (นางวรรณิดา บุญประคอง), Inspector-General in the MOI to become province governor of Samut Prakan.
  • Wichit Chatphosit (นายวิชิต ชาตไพสิฐ), province governor of Chonburi to become province governor of Chanthaburi.
  • Khomsan Ekchai (นายคมสัน เอกชัย), province governor of Udon Thani to become province governor of Chonburi.
  • Kaenphet Chuangrang (นายแก่นเพชร ช่วงรังษี), province governor of Amnat Charoen to become province governor of Udon Thani.
  • Wiyon Thongsakun (นายวิญญู ทองสกุล), province governor of Songkhla to become province governor of Phatthalung.
  • Kruesada Bunrat (นายกฤษฎา บุญราช), province governor of Yala to become province governor of Songkhla.
  • Thani Samarotkit (นายธานี สามารถกิจ), province governor of Buriram to become Inspector-General in the MOI.
  • Maitri Inthusut (นายไมตรี อินทุสุต), province governor of Trang to become province governor of Phayao.
  • Seni Chitotkasem (นายเสนีย์ จิตตเกษม), province governor of Nan to become province governor of Trang.
  • Phonsak Wangsemo (นายพงษ์ศักดิ์ วังเสมอ), province governor of Phayao to become province governor of Nan.
  • Winai Buapradit (นายวินัย บัวประดิษฐ์), province governor of Nong Bua Lamphu to become province governor of Phetchaburi.
  • Raphi Phongbupkit (นายระพี ผ่องบุพกิจ), province governor of Nakhon Ratchasima to become province governor of Nong Bua Lamphu.
  • Chuan Sirinanphon (นายชวน ศิรินันท์พร), province governor of Phrae to become province governor of Nakhon Ratchasima.
  • Kitti Sapwisut (นายกิตติ ทรัพย์วิสุทธิ์), province governor of Chachoengsao to become Inspector-General in the MOI.
  • Roengsak Mahawinitchaimontri (นายเริงศักดิ์ มหาวินิจฉัยมนตรี), province governor of Nakhon Phanom to become province governor of Chacheongsao.
  • Nattaphon Wichianphrit (นายณฐพลษ์ วิเชียรเพริศ), province governor of Kanchanaburi to become Inspector-General in the MOI.
  • Somchai Thathayatin (นายสมชัย หทยะตันติ), province governor of Chiang Rai to become Inspector-General in the MOI.
  • Thira Minsasak (นายธีระ มินทราศักดิ์), province governor of Nakhon Ratchasima to become province governor of Pattani.
  • Wirong Chiwarangsan (นายวิโรจน์ จิวะรังสรรค์), province governor of Kalasin to become province governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat.
  • Somsak Suwansutrit (นายสมศักดิ์ สุวรรณสุจริต), province governor of Sisaket to become province governor of Kalasin.
  • Somphong Arunrongpanya (นายสมพงษ์ อรุณโรจน์ปัญญา), province governor of Bueng Kan to become province governor of Loei.
  • Phonsak Chianyai (นายพรศักดิ์ เจียรณัย), province governor of Loei to become province governor of Bueng Kan.
  • Charinot Chakkaphak (นายจรินทร์ จักกะพาก), province governor of Chaiyaphum to become province governor of Sakon Nakhon.
  • Saroem Chaiyanrong (นายเสริม ไชยณรงค์), province governor of Surin to become Inspector-General in the MOI.
  • Niran Kanyanikhon (นายนิรันดร์ กัลยาณมิตร), Deputy Director-General in the MOI to become province governor of Surin.
Finally, the term of Somsak Phurisisak (นายสมศักย์ ภูรีศรีศักดิ์), governor of Suphanburi has been extended till September 2012, if I understand right he was originally set to retire this year. Interestingly, he is in office since 2006, really long as most governors get transferred after one or two years already.

The cabinet list also includes the change for the Director-General of the Department of Local Administration (DOLA), now led by Weerayuth Iamampha (นายวีระยุทธ เอี่ยมอำภา).

This list is not the complete reshuffle list yet, as the promotions of deputy province governors to province governors will probably be done in one of the next cabinet meetings.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Municipal boundary changes

Four municipalities changed their boundaries with a neighboring TAO, with the corresponding announcements published in the Royal Gazette last week.

Friday, November 11, 2011

District officer home in Surat Thani

Even though it is located on the main street through the city of Surat Thani, I only noticed the building in my latest stay there - the official residence of the district officer of Mueang Surat Thani district. I knew that the province governor has an official residence in the city, which from the outside looks quite representative - see the posting on the administrative offices in Surat Thani - but didn't before found a similar place for the lower administrative levels. Well, except for the village headmen, which usually have their normal home as their office as well.

But given the fact that district officers are also shuffled around the country same as province governor, often only staying one year at a given office and ordered to report to new locations on rather short notice, it makes sense that the government provides adequate housing for them. Obviously, the district officer home is far less representative than the province governor villa.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

City Pillar of Phana, Amnat Charoen

City pillar of Phana
photo courtesy of Lawrence
At the small municipality of Phana in Amnat Charoen province, there are big plans for the city pillar (Lak Mueang, หลักเมือง). The blogger Lawrence who lives in this remote town in the northeast of Thailand reports on the history of the pillar and the way more ancient four corner stones, which are already nearly hidden due to the higher street level. The pillar itself is only ten years old, as it was erected when the almost forgotten corner stones were unearthed. These corner stones however are already 300 years old.

The municipality now plans to build a real shrine for the city pillar, judging from the drawing would be of similar size as the city pillar shrines in the provincial capitals. The shrine will however be build near the current site, and the spirits of the pillar were already notified about the change as well.

One could of course wonder why a small municipality, which is not even the seat of the district office, should have such a big city pillar shrine, or why it actually has a city pillar at all - there are still some provinces which have no city pillar in their capital. But historically, Phana was more significant in the past than it is today. In 1879, it became a Mueang under Ubon Ratchathani, at that time named Phana Nikhom (พนานิคม). With the thesaphiban reforms, this Mueang became a district within the province, and since the district office went to Ban Khulu (according to this was in 1914) it was renamed accordingly in 1917 [Gazette]. That district is today Trakan Phuet Phon of Ubon Ratchathani. The present district of Phana was created in 1951 by splitting of the area around the historical origin from Trakan Phuet Phon [Gazette]. The current district office is however a bit outside the historical center in Phra Lao subdistrict.

I wasn't aware of Phana's historical grandeur, and only with to the comments of Lawrence was hinted that I should have checked my own sources which already have all the answers. Especially the list of Mueang in Isan I still haven't found the time and patience to work through...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Muban of Bangkok

While looking at the flood maps provided by Longdo to check whether my wife's house escaped inundation, I spotted placemarks for village headmen offices (ที่ทำการผู้ใหญ่บ้าน) in Taling Chan district. Some time ago, I already wrote about a similar office further west in Thawi Watthana district, since to my knowledge the administrative villages within Bangkok were already abolished by 2005.

Actually, I had seen the sign in front of that specific office many times already while driving past it, but never stopped there for a short photo. No name is given for that village, only that it is village 10 of Bang Phrom subdistrict, so I got curious and tried to find at least how many villages each of the subdistricts actually has. Only thing Google returned was an obscure Excel sheet from the Ministry of Education, which contains the geocodes of the villages and several columns of numbers - if I guess right it is the number of children for the ages 0 to 20. And it also contains the strange Muban 77 and 78, so these are really the administrative villages I was looking for.

According to that sheet, there are a total of 810 administrative villages - a bit more than the 279 which in 2005 still had headmen. There are also some strange numbers, for example Don Mueang subdistrict only has the villages number one, four, five and eleven, and the newly created Sanam Bin subdistrict only village nine. The fact that Sanam Bin is already inside this sheet shows that it is rather up-to-date, therefore these villages are still existing at least for statistical or registration purposes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Municipalities announced

Another set of three TAO has been upgraded to subdistrict municipalities and published in the Royal Gazette on Tuesday.
Additionally, the transfer of some area between the TAO Tha Duea (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลท่าเดื่อ) and the subdistrict municipality Tha Duea (เทศบาลตำบลท่าเดื่อ), Doi Tao district, Chiang Mai province, was announced, as usual in two announcement, one covering the municipality which includes the map, and one covering the TAO. Interestingly, according to Longdo Map the office of the TAO is actually located within the municipal area.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Decentralization at the 1997 constitution

In the 2002 book "Reforming Thai politics", edited by Duncan McCargo containing 16 chapters by different scholars in Thai studies, I found a very interesting paragraph on the decentralization with the 1997 constitution in the introduction chapter. I have only read the introduction of the book so far, but want to share this quote already now.
At the core of structural impediments to reform in Thailand lay the extraordinary degree of centralization. With the honourable exception of the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, Thailand had no local government truly worthy of the name in 1997. While liberalism and pluralism were flourishing at the national level, out in the countryside provincial governors and other state officials continued to exercise an exceptional degree of political control. There were elected municipal and provincial councils, but these were weal bodies whose powers were tightly delimited by Bangkok ministries. The great majority of councils had been captured by construction contractors and other business interests. Crucially, moves to make the office of provincial governors an elected position were firmly resisted throughout the constitution-drafting process. As career bureaucrats in the Interior Ministry, sent out from the capital to administer in a quasi-colonial fashion, provincial governors were one of the largest obstacles to progressive change. Indeed, while Thailand's political order was undergoing extensive reform during the second half of the 1990s, the officials in numerous provinces were building themselves immense new salakan changwat (provincial halls) at vast expense. These monumental structures symbolized their determination to resist the forces of decentralization at literally any cost. [...]

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Muban rename in Saraburi

Last week, the rename of Ban Chin Tai (บ้านจีนใต้), village 5 of Nong Mu subdistrict, Wihan Daeng district to Ban Sang Bun (บ้านสร้างบุญ) was announced in the Royal Gazette. The rename was approved in the second meeting of the board to consider name changes, held on July 26. As the rationale, the announcement states that the original name as no special meaning for the village, and the villagers instead prefer to have their village named after the temple of the village, named Wat Sang Bun (วัดสร้างบุญ).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pathum Thani governor transferred

The floods in central Thailand have now reached into the topic of this blog as well, as now the governor of the completely inundated Pathum Thani province has been transferred to a post in the Interior Ministry. As Bangkok Post reports
The cabinet on Tuesday approved the Interior Ministry's proposal for the transfer of Pathum Thani governor Pirasak Hinmuangkao to the position of inspector-general at the ministry. Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit said Kachornsak Singtokul, deputy director-general of the Provincial Administration Department, has been appointed acting Pathum Thani governor. He said there should be no problems for Mr Kachornsak in taking over Mr Pirasak's duties since he formerly served as a district chief in many districts.
The transcript of the cabinet meeting however states concerning
2. นายขจรศักดิ์ สิงโตกุล รองผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด (นักปกครองต้น) จังหวัดปทุมธานี ให้ดำรงตำแหน่งผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด (นักปกครองสูง) จังหวัดปทุมธานี Kachornsak Singtokul, Deputy Province Governor of Pathum Thani transferred to post of province governor of Pathum Thani.
So both the original position of the new governor is wrong in one source, and also whether he became acting governor or full governor. I usually tend to believe the government document over the press, but on the other hand the list of governors and deputy governors of Pathum Thani does not list Kachornsak - or it is hopelessly out of date. Though the Interior Minister did not comment on plans to transfer other province governors of flooded provinces, this for sure won't be the only transfer - the annual reshuffle is already overdue as well, that one normally happened as of October 1st. That one is probably delayed due to the many transfers the new government has done, and the governors as a lower level in the bureaucracy hasn't been reached yet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

License plate for Phayao

Following an inquiry by email on the provincial vanity license plates for four province I did not have in the Picasa album yet (of which Mae Hong Son and Nong Bua Lamphu seem to be not announced at all yet), I noticed that I had totally missed five announcements this year with new license plate images. I have posted all the images to Picasa already, but since the last was from earlier this month it is still not too old to get a dedicated posting on its announcement.

2011 Phayao plate
In fact, the plate for Phayao has been revised, as there was already one graphic announced in 2005. The new graphic shows the Phayao lake together with some lotus flowers and a longtail boat, and a rising (or setting) sun in the hills. The announcement was published October 12 2011 [Gazette].

2005 Phayao plate
The 2005 version of the plate [Gazette] is more simplistic, it also shows the Phayao lake as the main geographical feature of the province, together with a longtail boat. The main color is however a tone of pink, which has been replaced with the more yellow tone in the new design.

And just for completion, the other four provinces which got new license plate graphics were Nonthaburi, Nong Khai, Nakhon Sawan and Chaiyaphum.

Monday, October 17, 2011

DOLA municipality changes updated

When some time ago I discovered the DOLA municipal change documents for fiscal year 2011 well before the fiscal year ended, there were two possible explanations for this early posting - either there were no further municipal changes planned for the fiscal year, or there will be an update of that document later on. Now the document with the changes for fiscal year 2012 - which begun October 1st - has been posted already, and at the same time the one for 2011 was updated, thus it was option two.

However, giving a table with all the entries would be quite lengthy (and take a lot of time to compile), since there are 42 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities in September, and another 17 in October. Also, four subdistrict municipalities and two TAO are already upgraded (or set to be upgraded) to towns in fiscal year 2012. The sheet with the administrative data will contain all the changes soon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Muban area change in Uttaradit

Two administrative villages in Mae Phun subdistrict, Laplae district, Uttaradit province had their boundaries adjusted, as before the municipality Hua Dong (เทศบาลตำบลหัวดง) covered both villages partially. The change has been done with two announcements, one for each affected village. At least judging from the Royal Gazette announcements, in past in similar cases usually the area of the municipality and the adjoining TAO has been changed, not the villages itself.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Four new municipalities announced

Another four TAO have been upgraded to municipalities, and these acts published in the Royal Gazette last week. Again, the announcements have been published shortly after being issued by the Ministry of Interior, which makes those still missing upgrade announcement from the upgrades four years ago even more strange.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bueng Kan emblem and flag?

Though I haven't yet found anything official on the province emblem yet, to my surprise a Youtube video showed up which at the beginning shows both a flag and an emblem for the new province.

The emblem, which is also the central element of the flag, shows Phu Tok hill surrounded by forests and with a lake in front - exactly the elements which were listed in the document I found recently. The flag shows this round emblem in middle, and three horizontal stripes purple-white-purple. No idea if the colors have any special meaning - if the date of creation of the province were used it should have featured green stripes, as March 23rd was a Wednesday and therefore had the color green.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wiki loves monuments

This month several European Wikipedia editions held a collective event titled "Wiki Loves Monuments", in which they tried to give the officially registered monuments a better coverage in Wikipedia, especially taking lots of photos. For Germany, one of the biggest problem was the fact that the registration of monuments is done by the local government units, the municipalities or communes (Städte und Gemeinden). While some feature their monument list rather prominently on their website, or at least publish any changes on their list there. Yet others have nothing like this, and especially for the larger cities the list can be really lengthy - for example for Aachen its a PDF file with 29 pages, thus several hundred of monuments.

Wat Phattanaram
The Thai Wikipedia sadly did not take part in this event, though the compilation of a complete list of monuments would be a much easier task there - as the Thai administration is still much more centralized, its only the Fine Arts Department (กรมศิลปากร) which does the registration of monuments, and these are then published in the Royal Gazette. One simply has to find all the announcements with the term เขตที่ดินโบราณสถาน (area of historical site), which returns a total of 610 PDFs - and a few further with slightly variant titles. I had started to process that list into my XML format quite some time ago, but only for very few of the announcements I added the details in a machine readable format.

As an example, Wat Phattanaram (วัดพัฒนาราม) in Surat Thani town (photo album)has been declared a registered historical site in December 2001 (Gazette announcement). The corresponding entry in my XML looks like this
<entry description="Creation of historical sites in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and Chumphon" 
 title="ประกาศกรมศิลปากร เรื่อง ขึ้นทะเบียนและกำหนดเขตที่ดินโบราณสถาน (วัดชายนา วัดท่าพญา วัดพัทธสีมา จังหวัดนครศรีธรรมราช, วัดเขาพระอานนท์ วัดพัฒนาราม จังหวัดสุราษฎร์ธานี และ วัดสวี จังหวัดชุมพร)" 
 volume="118" page="10-11" issue="พิเศษ 127 ง" uri="2544/E/127/10.PDF" publication="2001-12-21" sign="2001-08-29">
  <createpark index="5" type="HistoricalSite" name="วัดพัฒนาราม" english="Wat Phattanaram" 
   locationgeocode="840101" arearai="1.2575">
There is much more to discover in the Royal Gazette publication archive than just law texts and changes to administrative units, the items I usually cover in here as well as make up most of the coding project.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Subdistrict area changes/clarifications

Together with the two municipal announcements there were another three subdistrict area change announcements published in the Royal Gazette last Friday. As I had no time to check them in detail whether these actually mean any significant area changes compared with the original area definitions from 1997/98, which however I have included for reference so might check it yourself by reading the lengthy boundary definition. Just too bad there is never a map included in these kinds of announcements.

The three announcements are as follows:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New romanization list from DOPA

As a matter of coincidence, just one day after I posted on the strange wrong romanization of Thap Khlo district, I noticed that the Department of Provincial Administration had put a new file on their website containing a new list of transcriptions. The link is titled นามสงเคราะห์ส่วนราชการ ชื่ออำเภอ จังหวัด และตำแหน่งของปค.ภาษาอังกฤษ, which translates as "Glossary of official English names of Provinces, Districts and Positions in DOPA". Thus there are all the district and province names in English, confirming that Thap Khlo was spelled wrong in earlier publications, as well as the romanization guessed for the new district in Chiang Mai being Galyani Vadhana, following the late princess' English name and not the RTGS transcription scheme. As the title of the link suggests, the romanization of the district and province names are only one part of the document, the recommended translations of positions as well as structures within the provincial administration are an equally useful second part. I have already gone through my own glossary of terms to update the English names, Somewhat strange is the name of the head of a minor district, which is supposed to be "Minor Chief District Officer", which IMHO should better be "Chief Minor District Officer". Its however academic currently anyway, as there are no minor districts right now. Only missing in this list are the chumchon, which I would translate as borough. Only thing still missing is a new updated and corrected version of the subdistrict name transcriptions, which should also include the municipalities.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Municipal announcements

Yesterday another two announcement were published in the Royal Gazette which dealt with changes to municipalities.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bueng Kan PAO logo competition

It seems like the PAO Bueng Kan (องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัดบึงกาฬ) does not want to wait until the official seal of the province is finalized, and unlike most other provinces goes for a seal with an artwork differing from that of the corresponding provincial seal. I have stumbled on a news posting on the website of the Bueng Kan Provincial Office of Non-Formal and Informal Education titled ประชาสัมพันธ์ประกวดตราเครื่องหมายขององค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัดบึงกาฬ (Announce of contest [to design] emblem of PAO Bueng Kan).

However before you rush to check out the PDF which contains the rules of the contest and start drawing sketches - I discovered this news so late that today is already the deadline to submit the proposals, so unless they got no worthy designs the logo will be known soon. The winning design will be awarded 10,000 baht (360 US$), though I have no idea of the normal prices of logo designers in Thailand.

The logo is supposed to be either round or an ellipse with a maximum diameter of 5 centimeter, the name "Bueng Kan PAO" in the border, and for the motive inside has to choose items which have a connection to the province.

Another information gained from the PDF - the Bueng Kan PAO has its (temporary) office at plot 198 in Mu 8 of Bueng Kan subdistrict, thus not in the district office like the preliminary province administration. However, I have no idea where this office location is on Google Earth, as there's no easy way to translate a Thai address into coordinates.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wrong romanizations

I have programmed a new little function around the XML to consolidate the romanized spellings of the administrative subdivisions which simply lists all the cases where the same Thai spelling had different romanized spellings in my XML. Especially for the administrative villages where I did the romanization manually (thus most of the Muban have no English spelling in my XML) I sometimes mixed up characters or did the spacing between the words differently. Therefore most of the cases where I had different spellings were mistakes on my side and fixed already, but there was one where the Royal Institute as the official institution to supervise the romanizations and recommended spellings has to blamed.

When DOPA on behalf of the Royal Institute published a list of recommended romanizations of all the subdistricts, I had spotted quite a lot of mistakes in that list already. But as I found and processed the corresponding list of district name recommendation several years before I learned to read Thai, so far I never questioned the spellings I picked from that list. But now with the help of my new code it seems found one mistake which was kept in Royal Institutes list for decades.

The name ทับคล้อ starts with the Thai character Tho Thahan, which is romanized with a Th as it is an aspirated consonant, in contrast to e,g, the unaspirated To Tao (ต). Any English speakers should not read this romanization like an English word, it is the same sound as in Thailand, not like in Thing. Therefore, the romanization of ทับคล้อ must be Thap Khlo. But - already in the recommended district romanizations published in Royal Gazette in 1987 it has been spelled Tap Khlo, And even the current PDF file from the Royal Institute website uses the spelling Tap Khlo. However, the reason why I was able to spot the mistake now is the list of recommended subdistrict romanization. In these files the subdistrict has been correctly romanized as Thap Khlo, and I now notice that the district is spelled Thap Khlo there as well. So while there have been several other mistakes in that list, the big mistake in the district list was fixed.

As the last publication in the Royal Gazette dates from 2000, and there have been two new districts in the meantime, it might be a good time to publish an updated (and corrected) version - or maybe even better publish a second edition of the subdistrict list addressing the mistakes, and adding the municipalities which in a few cases have a name with no corresponding district or subdistrict name. A reader has sent me several further cases where the recommended subdistrict romanizations might be wrong, but to my shame I haven't yet found the time to work through that list and incorporate it into the list of mistakes I have spotted.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another 4 new municipalities

Just few minutes after I had posted on the two latest municipalities, the Royal Gazette website was updated with new announcements including another four TAO upgrades to municipalities.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two more new municipalities

Last Friday, the upgrade of two TAO to subdistrict municipalities was announced in the Royal Gazette.
Interestingly, both announcement were just signed last month, so unlike previous municipal upgrades they were published much faster. In fact even so fast that for Nong Bua Tai the announcement states that it will be effective October 1st, thus it got published even before it became effective. Compare this with the upgrade announcements from February, which were published more than a year after they were signed and became effective.

As the upgrade of Rusa Milae already happened, the list of municipal changes for fiscal year 2011 must have been preliminary, as that list only included changes till June. I only hope now all of the upgrades get into the Gazette that fast, as without the board meeting transcripts timely announcements help a lot to keep up to date.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Surat Thani municipal elections

Thirakit, probably the new mayor
Yesterday were the municipal election in Surat Thani city, both the mayor as well as the municipal council were elected. There were three candidates for the post of mayor
  1. Sombun Suwannabut (นางสมบูรณ์ สุวรรณบุตร), incumbent
  2. Thirakit Wangmuthitakun (นายธีระกิจ หวังมุทิตากุล)
  3. Sufang Chaewong (นายสุฟ้าง แซ่หว่อง)
Sufang banners
Though the campaigning officially started August 5, four year after the last municipal election marking the end of the term in office, I was able to catch photographs of all three mayor candidates while I was strolling through the city end of May. While I was looking for posters for the national elections - and there were just very few within the city - I found one poster of each of the new candidates. Rather interesting is the banner by candidate three, which shows Sufang with an old photograph of a whale caught or stranded. I wasn't even aware that there were whales in the Gulf of Thailand except the dolphins off Khanom beach and in Songkhla lake, but now learned that Bryde's Whale also is found in the Gulf of Thailand. Sadly don't know anything about the background of that photo on the poster.

City rewire project
The poster of incumbent mayor Sombun is not exactly an election poster, but the project announcement for the rewiring in the city center, getting rid of the ugly cables on posts along the street, changing to underground cables. Back in May a lot of construction on this project was underway within the city,   and though still a lot more will be necessary to make Surat Thani an actually beautiful city it will definitely look better when this project is done. And I wouldn't be surprised of this project was started right on time to be completed with the election date. One thing I am not yet understanding - according to the municipal law a mayor is only allowed to be in office for two consecutive terms, however Sombun would have started a third term if elected. Don't know why her first term starting in 2003 apparently did not count.

The election result is interesting, according to the inofficial preliminary result  the mayor will change, as Thirakit won 17,699 votes compared to 16,406 for incumbent mayor Sombun. Sufang only won 5,791 votes.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Two Tambon renamed

Yesterday the renaming of two subdistricts was announced in the Royal Gazette.
  • Thung Pi, Mae Wang district, Chiang Mai has been renamed to Thung Pi. Sounds strange - because the actual change is lost in the romanization, in Thai script the change is also just subtle but notable - ทุ่งปี้ as become ทุ่งปี๊. The tone mark on the last consonant has changed from a "mai tho" to a "mai tri", change the tone of the "pi" from falling to high. I would normally call this a change of spelling, but the announcement is titled "เปลี่ยนแปลงชื่อตำบล", change of name of subdistrict. Interestingly, even though the TAO hasn't been officially renamed yet, a Google search for "องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลทุ่งปี๊" returns 86 results already, compared to 1530 with the old spelling. But apparently the TAO has no website currently.
  • Kham Rian (ตำบลขามเรียน), Yang Si Surat district, Maha Sarakham has been renamed to Sang Saeng (ตำบลสร้างแซ่ง). Village 5 of the subdistrict is named Sang Saeng, but none is named Kham Rian, so the new name is obviously more fitting, A closer look shows that there is a village named Kham Rian in Nong Bua subdistrict of Phayakkhaphum Phisai, and both Nong Bua and Sang Saeng had been split off from Mek Dam subdistrict. Taking a deeper look into the Royal Gazette announcements dealing with these subdistrict, the reason for the name change became clear. Kham Rian subdistrict took the name from the village Kham Rian when it was created in 1963 [Gazette], but however this specific village was taken away in 1990 [Gazette] and returned back to Mek Dam, and finally in 1992 it became part of the newly created subdistrict Nong Bua [Gazette].

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Change of Ko Pha Ngan municipal boundary

Announced in the Royal Gazette last Friday, and probably effective August 4 already, the TAO Ko Pha Ngan (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลเกาะพะงัน) and the subdistrict municipality Ko Pha Ngan (เทศบาลตำบลเกาะพะงัน) have changed their boundaries. There are two announcements, one dealing with the TAO [Gazette] and one with the municipality [Gazette], latter one also including a map to show the boundaries. And quite helpful, that map also marks the locations of the municipal and TAO office as well as the office of neighboring TAO Ban Tai - but since the websites of all three offices are offline I cannot be fully sure the locations I buildings I have picked for my map [see it in Google Earth] are 100% correct.

Sadly the announcement on the creation of the sanitary district Ko Pha Ngan (สุขาภิบาลเกาะพะงัน) from 1990 does not include a map, so I can only guess that the area transferred now was the small piece at the southeast, which is shown with a dotted line in the map. Then this transfer would make perfectly sense, as that area was then totally separated from the main part of the TAO, I only wonder why it took more than 10 years after the TAO was created to do it. And again, due to the lack of board meeting transcripts I haven't heard about this change before.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Province emblem for Bueng Kan in the making

In the fifth meeting of the administrative staff of Bueng Kan province, the issue of the provincial seal has been on the agenda. In the transcript of the meeting I could find the following:
๓.๗ เครื่องหมายราชการ (ตราประจำจังหวัด) วัฒนธรรมจังหวัดบึงกาฬ
มติที่ประชุม ที่ประชุมรับทราบ ตามที่จังหวัดได้ให้ความเห็นชอบไปแล้วนั้น สำนักงาน วัฒนธรรมจังหวัด แจ้งยืนยันไปยังกรมศิลปากรแล้วซึ่งมี ๒ แบบ แบบที่๑. รูปภาพ แบบที่๒.แบบลายเส้น ขณะนี้สำนักช่างสิบหมู่กำลังนำเรียนให้อธิบดีลงนามในแบบให้ ความเห็นชอบ เครื่องหมายราชการ(ตราประจำจังหวัดบึงกาฬ) ประกอบด้วย
๑. ภูทอก หมายถึงภูเดี่ยวๆ โดดๆ
๒. น้ำ หมายถึง บึง หนองน้ำ ซึ่งทุกอำเภอมีแหล่งน้ำ
๓. ป่า หมายถึง ต้นไม้ ป่าไม้
My rough translation of the above
Government symbol (Province seal) culture of Bueng Kan
Resolution of the conference is that the province already approved, the provincial cultural academy has already submitted to the Fine Arts Department two models, one photograph and one drawing. The model should contain the three elements
1. Phu Thok means the single lone hill
2. Water refers to the swamps and lakes each district has
3. Forest stands for the forests
Thus if I did not misunderstand the above, the emblem is now in the final approval and should be officially announced soon. Sadly, the transcript did not include any draft drawing of the emblem, so I still have no idea of how it will actually look like.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Siam in Transition - Part I

Thanks to Better World Books I got yet another antiquarian book on Thai topics at a very competitive price - Kenneth P. Landon's Siam in Transition first published in 1939 and reprinted in 1968. The book was his dissertation to get a Ph.D. in comparative religion. He was staying in Siam since 1927, working as a Presbyterian priest. But though the book focuses on religious topics, it also contains a lot of general items of Siam in the times of the transition between absolute monarchy to democracy. Most interesting for me is obviously the chapter on political trends, especially the "trend towards decentralization". The first part I am quoting from the book is the description of the central government structure, which except the Monthon is still almost identical today. In a second posting I will quote the description of the local government, i.e. the municipal administration.
The general trend has been to allow the administration to become more and more a local matter. Formerly the country was divided into Circles or Montons, over each of which was a Lord Lieutenant or Tetsa. The Monton is comparable to the Province in China, or to the State in the United States. Each Circle or Monton was divided into Cangwats, comparable to the American county. Each Cangwat had a Governor. The Cangwat again was divided into Amphoes which were in turn divided into Tambols. These last two divisions were lesser divisions of the area into districts. Finally each Tambol was divided into villages. For example, Monton Bhuket had five Cangwat. One of these Cangwat was Cangwat Trang which had five Amphoes. One of these Amphoes was Amphoe Tap Tiang which had about ten Tambols. The average Tambol had about ten villages. The only officials elected by the people were the village chief and the Nai Kamnan who was in charge of the Tambol. All Amphoe, Cangwat, and Monton officials were appointed from Bangkok. The officials sent out from Bangkok were frequently moved so that their administration migh be impartial. The people had little to say in matters of government. [...] The country was at one time divided into eighteen Montons. In 1926 this number was reduced to fourteen. In 1932 a further reduction was made to ten. A radical change was made in 1933 when the Monton system was abandoned and the kingdom was divided into seventy Cangwats. At the head of each Cangwat was a provincial commissioner. The high commissioners were stationed in Bangkok. Inspecting commissioners were attached to the Central Administration.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Google Streetview coming to Thailand

When I first read about Google opening an office in Bangkok, one of my wishes was StreetView coverage for Thailand. Just little bit more than 2 months later, it was now announced that they indeed will start taking imagery with their StreetView cars in Bangkok, in cooperation with the Tourism Authority (TAT). For those able to read Thai can read at the Google Blog itself, but Richard Barrow has already reported it on his blog as well.

I just hope it will not only the main touristic areas which get imagery, as also the many suburbs (including Nonthaburi or Samut Prakan) which would over lots of interesting places worth discovery in this way. And of course there are many interesting places in the provinces as well, so the StreetView cars could be kept busy for years for sure. At least there won't be such a PR disaster with paranoid home owners like here in Germany, where Google already stopped to take any new imagery - TAT has noticed the potential of being able to see where to go on vacation before.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Postal codes for Bueng Kan

The Thai Post has officially announced the postal codes for the new province Bueng Kan now. Not surprisingly, they all use the same prefix 38 as the TIS1099 province code, and to make the transition from Nong Khai postal codes to Bueng Kan postal codes as easy as possible, only the central part of Bueng Kan got a completely new number, whereas for all other areas only the prefix was exchanged. In detail this gives the following table.
AreaOld codeNew code
Mueang Bueng Kan, Bung Khla4314038000
So Phisai4317038170
Phon Charoen4318038180
Pak Khat4319038190
Si Wilai4321038210
Bueng Khong Long4322038220

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chumchon with a different name

Some time ago I systematically searched for websites for all of the local government units, and since then occasionally revisit some in order to check the URL is still valid, a new mayor gets listed, or some data I did not spot in the first round worth adding into my XML. One of these revisited websitesd was the one of Khun Yuam subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลขุนยวม) in Mae Hong Son province. The interesting part is on the page where the municipality gives information on its subdivision, the boroughs (ชุมชน, Chumchon). While they only list the names without any numbering - so I cannot guess the geocodes to add them into the XML - the sentence introducing them says
เทศบาลตำบลขุนยวมแบ่งการบริหารงานออกเป็น 8 ชุมชน หรือ 8 ป๊อก คำว่า "ป๊อก" หมายถึง ชุมชน โดยมีการบริหารงานกันเองในชุมชน Khun Yuam subdistrict municipality is divided administratively into 8 boroughs or "pok". The name "pok" means boroughs which have an personal administration in the borough.
Rather interesting is also the location of the administrative offices in that subdistrict. Whereas the municipality office is located in the middle of the municipality, a bit strage is the fact the the TAO Khun Yuam has its office just 300 meter away, well within the municipal area (see Panoramio for some photos of it). And, unlike many of the municipalities near the district office, in this case the district office is located outside the municipality - in many cases district office and municipality office are directly next to each other and form the center of the municipality. So I am doing a nice little map again to show the approximate borders of the municipality. Sadly the map in the 1956 announcement to create the sanitary district is more like a sketch map than correctly scaled, so I can only guess that the district office back then was located very close to where it now has the municipality office.

View Khun Yuam in a larger map

Friday, August 26, 2011

Photo albums of administrative offices

Khanom District Office, Nakhon Si Thammarat
For some time I already had started with uploading my photos of the various administrative offices on various web 2.0 sites, but never made it a systematically and complete yet, and never could decide which one to use - Picasa, Panoramio or Flickr, or also Wikimedia Commons. But as with the start of Google+ (thanks to Rikker I am online there already) Picasa effectively dropped their quota and made all images of less than 2048 pixel free - so I can now use that image storage without ever worry about running out of space. I have already uploaded some new photos to the albums below, but still have to go through my archive to complete the albums.

Province HallsศาลากลางAlbum
District Officeที่ว่าการอำเภอAlbum
Province CourtศาลจังหวัดAlbum
Municipal and TAO officesสำนักงานเทศบาล/สำนักงานอบตAlbum
PAO officesสำนักงานอบจAlbum
City Pillar ShrinesหลักเมืองAlbum
The photos are all cc-by-sa, the same license as photos on Wikipedia. So anyone can reuse them, only have to give credit to me as the photographer. And also can upload them to Wikipedia, as I somehow never find the time and mood to fill the more and more bureaucratic forms for a simple upload of a self-created photo.