Thursday, March 29, 2012

Official population as of December 31 2011

Today, the national registration office has published the official population of Thailand as of December 31 2011 in the Royal Gazette, listed for each province and the total number. Thus Thailand now has 64,076,033 citizen - 31,529,148 male and 32,546,885 female. Compared to last year, this is an increase of 197766 or 0.3%. Thus hopefully it won't take long until the full population statistics of 2011 down to subdistrict level will be added to the DOPA website, which then would allow me to calculate some more statistics.

Monday, March 26, 2012

TAO Hang Dong, Chiang Mai renamed

Effective April 6, the subdistrict administrative organization Hang Dong (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลหางดง) in Chiang Mai province will be renamed to Mae Tha Chang (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลแม่ท่าช้าง), according to the Royal Gazette announcement published today. The name change is probably in preparation of an upgrade to a municipality, as within the same subdistrict the subdistric municipality Hang Dong (เทศบาลตำบลหางดง) is located. Interestingly, the emblem of Hang Dong TAO already shows two elephants (in Thai Chang ช้าง), thus except the name on the bordure the emblem does not need to be changed.

And thanks to the new Streetview data, I was also able to translate the sketch map on the Hang Dong TAO website into the actual coordinates by spotting the office building in the imagery.

View Larger Map

Friday, March 23, 2012

Google Streetview started in Thailand

It is just a half year since it was announced that Google will capture imagery with their special cars to make Thailand available in Streetview as well, and now Richard Barrow alerted his readers that Google has already made it available to the public yesterday. In cooperation with the Tourism Authority (TAT), this now allows tourists to visit their destination from their armchair before. Thus the areas covered are (obviously) Bangkok and the two touristic provinces Phuket and Chiang Mai. And not just the cities, but a significant part of these two provinces, even in quite large Chiang Mai a good deal of the main roads to the outlying districts is available. Within Bangkok, even many small Soi have imagery, so one can see a lot of the daily life in the city, including the ugly things like wild garbage pits.

Rommani TAO, Phang Nga
But for me the most interesting part is that the road from Bangkok to Phuket was also photographed, so one can drive on one of the major roads by mouse clicks. And as a lot of the smaller towns are clustered along the road, also several of the administrative offices could now be seen much easier than in the satellite imagery. I have already added the locations of three TAO offices between Surat Thani and Takua Pa into my XML, an area where the no high resolution satellite imagery is available yet. Guess I will be the only one browsing through Streetview for such office buildings, and not odd or funny shots like this discovered in Phuket.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Latest PAO chairmen elections

Last Sunday, some more province had their elections for the provincial administrative organization (PAO). Sadly I have no real overview on which province will have its election on which date - four years ago there were two rounds, and Buriram was some more weeks earlier already. While the councils have ended their terms after four years and most likely the same provinces will vote together as four years ago, it is much more complicate for the PAO chairman. If any of these leave their office prematurely - because they resign to call for a snap election, they get red-carded for electoral fraud or die, a chairman election is called then and then the new chairman has a full four year term as well. Thus only in those provinces where both the council and the chairmen ended their terms in normal way since the PAO elections were synchronized in 2004, the two will be elected on the same date this year.

The English press only mentioned two chairmen elections from last Sunday - Nakhon Ratchasima getting its first female chairman, and the Democrat party winner of Kanchanaburi being accused of electoral fraud. In the Thai press I found only one additional one, in Suphanburi the incumbent Bunchu Chansuwan (บุญชู จันทร์สุวรรณ) has been the clear winner gaining 70% of the valid votes. On April 7, Phuket will vote for their PAO chairman, and for the most other provinces I have lost track of when the term of the chairman ends and thus have this election soon. As these elections are organized by the provincial election commission (EC), there is no single overview page giving all the dates at one look. And some of the websites of the provincial EC branches are very bad, no data or a long time since the last update. But at least for the three elections last Sunday I was able to find the full numbers, e.g. for Suphanburi at the EC and thus was able to add them into my province XML.

<official title="PAOChairman" name="บุญชู จันทร์สุวรรณ" begin="2012-03-18">
  <election date="2012-03-18">
    <candidates eligiblevoter="641014" invalidvotes="11285" abstainvotes="9096">
      <candidate id="1" name="สมศักดิ์ รักซ้อน" votes="94720"/>
      <candidate id="2" name="อิสระ บุญญาอรุณเนตร" votes="8291"/>
      <candidate id="3" name="บุญชู จันทร์สุวรรณ" votes="247833"/>

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waritchaphum TAO and municipality area change

Announced in the Royal Gazette today, the subdistrict municipality Waritchaphum (เทศบาลตำบลวาริชภูมิ) in Sakon Nakhon and the TAO Waritchaphum (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลวาริชภูมิ) have adjusted their boundaries. The change has been published in two documents, one dealing with the TAO [Gazette] and one with the municipality [Gazette] - the second one also including the definition of the new boundary, however sadly unlike other similar announcements no map this time. So the only map I have is the old boundary from the 1956 creation of the sanitary district Waritchaphum. Thus I made no custom drawn Google map this time.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Geographic coordinates in constituency announcements

So far, in all publication within the Royal Gazette which refer to actual geographic coordinates, these are given in the Military grid reference system (MGRS), omitting the obvious zone identifier at the beginning. Additionally, these are (or at least were) in the Thai Indian reference frame, and not the WGS84 reference frame used by GPS, Google Earth and now also in the maps by the Royal Survey Department like the L7018 1:50.000 maps.

However, in the two latest constituency boundary announcements from the Election Commission, a new system of coordinate references seems to have started. Published on March 3 and approved for publication on February 23, the constituencies for the forthcoming municipal election in Yasothon town (เทศบาลเมืองยโสธร) have been changed [Gazette], modifying the boundaries defined in 2004 [Gazette]. And within this announcement, coordinates given as UTM ๐๔๐๗๖๒๙ ๑๗๔๖๘๓๔. Again omitting the obvious zone 48P, and probably still within the Thai Indian 1975 frame. In fact, MGRS is only a different way of writing down an UTM coordinate, the first two digits of the easting and northing each become a letter. Also notable, the UTM coordinates in this announcement have one digit more in both northing and easting, thus an accuracy of 1 meter instead of 10 meter as used in the MGRS coordinates.

And since it is not that many coordinates, I have done the work again to create a simple map out of them, trying to match the boundaries of the constituencies with the boundaries of the municipality as defined in 1994, when the municipality was created [Gazette].

View Larger Map

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New license plate graphics

Yesterday, a new version of the car license plate graphic for the province Buriram was published in the Royal Gazette. The graphic shows the Khmer temple of Phanom Rung, one of eight historical parks in Thailand. If comparing it with the original graphic announced in 2006 [Gazette], the main difference is that now the rainbow now spreads over the complete building, whereas originally it was only in the left half.
Buriram 2006
Buriram 2012
Together with this announcement, I noticed that I had missed four more similar announcements in the last four months. I have added all these to the license plate Picasa webalbum - which however is still incomplete, I haven't yet extracted and cut all the graphics from the PDF files.
  • Surin, announced in January [Gazette], updating the graphic from 2006 [Gazette]. In fact, both graphics are almost identical, the graphics in the two announcements only differ in the color saturation.
  • Sakon Nakhon, announced in November [Gazette], a completely new design compared with the one from 2006 [Gazette].
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, announced in November [Gazette], changing the design from 2006 [Gazette] by adding an industrial estate at the bottom right, and a second flower to the right.
  • Mukdahan, also announced in November [Gazette], the first graphic for this province published in the Gazette. Would be interesting to know if there were no graphic license plates in this province so far, or if the publication in the Gazette was just omitted.

Friday, March 9, 2012

TAO council and Muban creations

The council of the subdistrict administrative organizations (TAO, อบต) consists of two elected councilors for every administrative village (Muban) within the TAO, thus in most cases the double amount of Muban within the subdistrict. Though lately only very few new administrative villages have been created, in such a case something has to happen with the TAO council. On the FAQ page of the Office of Province Election Commission Singburi I have stumbled on a corresponding question with the official answer:
ตั้งหมู่บ้านใหม่ต้องเลือก ส.อบตใหม่หรือไม่
หากมีการประกาศตั้งและกําหนดเขตหมู่บ้านขึ้นใหม่โดยมีการแยกหมู่บ้านออกเป็นสองหมู่บ้าน และจัดตั้งหมู่บ้านขึ้นใหม่กรณีนี้จะมีการเลือกตั้ง ส.อบต. เพิ่มเติมหรือไม่
If create new village have to elect TAO council?
If it has an announcement to set up and specify the area of a village by splitting it into two, does the new village have to elect additional members of the TAO council?

กรณีดังกล่าวจะต้องจัดให้มีการเลือกตั้ง ส.อบต.เพิ่มเติม โดยตรวจสอบก่อนว่าหมู่บ้านเดิมที่ถูกตัดแยก หรือหมู่บ้านที่แยกออกไป มี ส.อบต.ในเขตหมู่บ้านดังกล่าวหรือไม่ เท่าใด หากไม่มี หรือมีไม่ครบ 2 คน ก็จะต้องประกาศให้มีการเลือกตั้ง จนครบ 2 คนตามที่กฎหมายกำหนด เว้นแต่ตำบลใด มี 1 หมู่บ้าน ให้มี ส.อบต. ได้ 6 คน หากมี 2 หมู่บ้านให้มีได้หมู่บ้านละ 3 คน
In this case, one has to check first if the the new village or the village from which it was split off has a councilor residing in the area already. If there are none or less than two, then have to announce an election until it has 2 councilors as required by law, unless there is one Muban which has 6 councilors or two Muban which have three.
Thus, with the creation of a new Muban there has to be a by-election for the TAO council to fill the vacant spaces. A bit strange is the final clause, especially would think one village having 4 councilors would already be enough to make the election unnecessary. However, these last cases can only happen if a councilor moves his residence from one Muban to another, or the areas of two Muban get modified so his residence gets moved into a different administrative village.

And obviously, the new Muban also means that a new village headman has to be elected, and also in that Muban which has no headman - thus in case the headman of the village was was split lives in the area of the newly created Muban, the "old" Muban has to elect.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Province creation draft laws

While looking for news on the proposed province of Fang, I stumbled on a tweet mention not just this but a total of five proposed new provinces
5 ร่าง พ.ร.บ. ในสภา : พ.ร.บ.จัดตั้งจังหวัดธนบุรี , จังหวัดมีนบุรี, จังหวัดพระนารายณ์, จังหวัดฝาง และ จังหวัดสว่างแดนดิน
It turns out, that the parliament is currently considering or will soon consider draft laws on these five proposals, none of them approved by the cabinet yet. But for each I was able to find a document on the parliament website with many details on the proposals. Most interesting are the proposals to create Thonburi and Minburi province, splitting off those areas most badly hit by last years flooding from the jurisdiction of Bangkok special administrative area (BMA). Even though these areas are somewhat different from the central part of Bangkok, splitting them into separate provinces will only make any coordinated development planning in the huge city more difficult - to me it would even make more sense to incorporate Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi into Bangkok like it was during World War II. Even though the partial rollback of decentralization by weakening BMA probably will attract some interest in certain circles of politicians, I have strong doubts that these two provinces will become reality.

In detail, the five provinces under discussion are:
  • Fang province (จังหวัดฝาง), covering the districts Fang, Mae Ai and Chai Prakan of Chiang Mai province [Draft law]
  • Phra Narai (จังหวัดพระนารายณ์), splitting the east of Lopburi province covering the districts Khok Charoen, Chai Badan, Tha Luang, Phatthana Nikhom, Lam Sonthi Sa Bot and Mong Muang, with the center at Chai Badan. Actually, a proposal floating around for many years already - it even already has an entry on the Thai Wikipedia. [Draft law]
  • Sawang Daen Din (จังหวัดสว่างแดนดิน), splitting the districts Sawang Daen Din, Seka and Bung Khla from Sakon Nakhon province - which looks like a nonsense proposal, as Seka and Bung Khla are in Bueng Kan province, and even don't border Sawang Daen Din. A little later in the rationale for the draft law, even more districts of Bueng Kan are listed, but still not connecting with the main district. [Draft law]
  • Thonburi (จังหวัดธนบุรี), covering the districts Thonburi, Bangkok Yai, Khlong Sam, Taling Chan, Bangkok Noi, Bang Khun Thian, Phasi Charoen, Nong Khaem, Rat Burana, Bang Phlat, Chom Thong, Bang Khae, Thawi Watthana, Thung Khru and Bang Bon - thus all the districts west of the Chao Phraya, the area which was Thonburi district until its merger with Pha Nakhon in 1972. [Draft law]
  • Minburi (จังหวัดมีนบุรี), covering the districts Min Buri, Nong Chok, Khlong Sam Wa, Bang Khen, Sai Mai, Don Mueang, and Lak Si. Only roughly the area which the historical Min Buri province had until it was incorporated into Phra Nakhon in 1932. [Draft law]

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Muban in Yala

Last week, the creation of a new administrative village in Yala province was published in the Royal Gazette. The announcement was signed on January 17 by the province governor and became effective the same day. Interestingly, this has been the first new Muban for almost 2 years, the last one was in March 2009 in Surin. hus, if there haven't been new Muban already created but not yet published in the Gazette, this Muban is number 74,456 nationwide - the latest number I know was from March 2011 when there were 74,455 Muban [DOPA entity statistics 2010].

The new village named Ban Chulabhorn Phatthana (บ้านจุฬาภรณ์พัฒนา) is village number 11 of Bala subdistrict, Kabang district, and has been carved out of village 3, Ban Hin Luk Chang (บ้านหินลูกช้าง). The announcement includes the definition of the boundary, however as usual no map, so I could only place the markers defined by the MGRS coordinate into a map - the actual boundary line following some natural boundaries in between these fixed markers is much more difficult to reconstruct from the announcement. But even with just this definition of the boundaries the shape of the new muban shows to be somewhat strange - it borders village 3 to the west, north and east, and that area remaining within village 3 west and north of the new village seems rather narrow. In the map below, I have tried to illustrate this, but as mentioned the actual boundary between the markers is just a rough guess by myself and may be completely nonsense as well.

View Larger Map