Friday, April 26, 2013

New minor district due to a white elephant?

In Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province, a white elephant was observed in a group of elephants at a water hole. Given the symbolic importance of white elephants in all of South East Asia, this would be big news in Thailand especially once the observation is confirmed - there's still the chance that the elephant bathed in light colored mud before and thus only looked as having a very lightly colored skin. But to my surprise this could even have implication to the administrative units.
เมื่อวันที่ 25 เม.ย. นายมณเทียร ทองนิตย์ ผวจ.เพชรบุรี เปิดเผยว่า ได้สั่งการให้ นายขจรศักดิ์ สมบูรณ์ นอภ.แก่งกระจาน จ.เพชรบุรี ไปตรวจสอบข้อมูลต่างๆถึงความเป็นไปได้ในการจัดตั้งเป็นกิ่งอำเภอป่าเด็ง เพื่อดูแลช้างป่าเป็นพิเศษ และยังสามารถให้บริการประชาชนได้อย่างใกล้ชิดและทั่วถึง [...]
On April 25, Monthian Thongnit, province governor of Phetchaburi told that he ordered Khachorasak Sombun, district officer of Kaeng Krachan to check the information reaching to the creation of minor district Pa Daeng to look after the elephant forest as a special case while still service the citizen closely and thoroughly.
(Source: "ร้องตรวจสอบ หลังเผยภาพลับแท้จริงเป็นช้างเผือกหรือช้างคลุกฝุ่น", DailyNews, April 25 2013)
If the news article is correctly quoting the administrative change suggested, the new minor district would consist of just one subdistrict. Pa Daeng subdistrict has a population of 5402 (as of 2012), covers 273.568 km² (170,980 rai) and consists of 9 administrative villages. The subdistrict was created in 1988 by splitting 4 Muban from Song Phi Nong subdistrict [Gazette]. With just one subdistrict, it would be of course a very small district, though there are still two other districts having a lower population number. By area, it would be middle-sized, but that's obviously due to the large unpopulated forest areas of the subdistrict which make up the national park.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Streetview Thailand update

Pattaya city hall on Streetview
Yesterday, Google enlarged the coverage by StreetView in Thailand for the second time, apparently they seem to do around every six month as the previous one was in October last year. While sadly they still haven't added anything for the South since the initial version, the central area around Bangkok is now covered even better. Chonburi province is now completely added, including Pattaya of course, Ayutthaya and Suphanburi, which were partially done in the previous update, are now more-or-less complete as well, more parts of Ratchaburi and Kanchanaburi were added. In the North, now a good part of both Lampang and Lamphun province were added.

And Google hasn't stopped to collect data, right now the cars are underway in several provinces - too bad still no Ko Samui or other parts of Surat Thani.
  • Chachoengsao - Khlong Khiao, Bang Khla, Bang Nam Priao, Ban Pho, Mueang districts (the whole western part of the province, as Bang Pa Kong is already online)
  • Prachinburi - Ban Sang district
  • Singburi - Inburi and Mueang districts
  • Chiang Mai - Mae Chaen district
  • Mae Hong Son - Pang Mapha, Pai district
If I weren't busy with other things, it'd be fun to "drive" through the newly added areas of Thailand from my desk, collecting or verifying the coordinates of the local administration offices.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Local elections this year

Two months ago I completed the election data for the years 2009 to 2012, so that for every local government unit I already had at least one council term in my XML files. Two months later, I now finished another year, the elections taking place in 2009 and thus ending this year - another 3722 data points. I have already started the final complete list I found at the Election Commission with the elections which took place in 2004 and ending their term in 2008 - thus most of those which had their latest election last year. Those are another 3135 data points, but working through those may be a bit faster since back in 2008 there much less local administrations which had their mayor and council term out of sync.

I also found a source for the official election endorsements at the Election Commission, many PDF files which list the winning mayor and council candidates, both for the main election as well as for by-elections. Though only maybe half of the provinces are found in that collection, and it also just goes back till the spring of 2012, it also made it possible to add a lot of data to the XMLs.

Those sources combined made it possible to notice that the yearly tables for the Election Commission cannot be trusted fully - especially for the council sizes there are changes which cannot be explained. It seems that in the older table for several TAO simply the number of Muban in the Tambon was used to calculate the council size, ignoring the fact that some of the Muban may be completely within a municipality and thus not eligible to elect councilors to the TAO. But since Muban can also be shared between municipality and TAO, it may even be possible that the Muban area under jurisdiction of the TAO has no citizen. I now have 65 cases where the council seemed to have changed, but I could no verify whether it really changed or one of the numbers is simply wrong.

Finally, thanks to the online archive of the +Phuket Gazette, I was able to reconstruct the election history for this one province since the turn of the century, including the very interesting case of Pa Tong municipality which had three election within few months - the first and second election after its upgrade to a town in 2002 were nulled due to election fraud.

I have to hurry to work through the 2008 data, because soon the municipal upgrades will begin - with around 3249 TAO having either (or both) a mayor or council term end this year, several will get upgraded to municipalities. So far only few upgrades were decided and documented in the board meeting transcripts, but to be effective in September when most of the terms end I soon have to focus on those as well.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Population statistics 2012 available

End of March, the official population numbers as of December 31 2012 were published in the Royal Gazette, listed for each province. According to this announcement, the Kingdom has a population of 64,456,695 - 32,700,727 men and 32,755,968 women.

More detailled is the population statistics which is available at the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), which goes down to subdistrict level and also separated municipal and non-municipal data. I have written down a guide on how to read these data earlier on the blog. The full 2012 data is now also available - with the usual caveat that this data relies on the registration data, but quite a lot of Thai don't renew their registration when they move to a different province, so especially the numbers for Bangkok are probably much lower than the real population.

A little picks from the data
  • The population for the whole country increased by 380,662, which means an increase by 0.59%.
  • The province which had the largest population increase was Chonburi, which gained 25,346 citizen. By percentage however, Pathum Thani was the biggest winner with a 2.27% increase.
  • Tak lost 4,973 citizen, which also made it the biggest looser by percentage with a 0.94% loss.
  • At district level, Mueang Samut Prakan district had the largest increase by number (7,556), whereas Bang Yai in Pathum Thani the largest by percentage (4.46%).
  • At subdistrict level, the largest increase by percentage was on Ko Tao (25.21%), the largest decrease in Mae Sot (-12.49%)
Usually the population data contains some new municipalities as well, however by far not all of the municipalities created lately are listed with the data - and also those municipalities added were already created four years ago. One reason for this is obviously that in many provinces the TIS:1099 codes at district level are all used and its no longer possible to assign such a number to a the new municipalities.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Municipal boundary adjustment in Phayao

Since I was quite busy with other tasks, I haven't yet reported the Royal Gazette announcement published last week. The subdistrict municipality Ban Tam (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านต๊ำ) in Mueang Phayao district [Gazette]. The adjustment is related to the earlier announced area change of two further municipalities, as all three subdistricts had their boundaries changed last year.

In contrast to Ban Mai and Tha Champi, in Ban Tam it had an elected council and mayor since 2009, whereas the other two municipalities had to wait almost three years until being able to hold the first election as a municipality. The only difference between them was that Ban Tam was already upgraded in July 2008, while the other two were upgraded in October 2009. Apparently the subdistrict area change was planned sometime in 2009 but took three years to be finalized, and the Election Commission delayed the elections all that time. The term of the council and mayor of Ban Tam ended in January this year and the new election was just yesterday - thus there were more than 45 days between the end of term and the election, so here the Election Commission had delayed the election a bit as well. New constituencies for the municipality were announced in beginning of March, the election was thus approximately one month after the constituencies were approved.