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#1 2021-09-11 16:17:26

From: Bangkok
Registered: 2020-04-03
Posts: 73

Administrative Area Revision

I was working on mapping administrative areas and locations for a while, and I saw something on current guidelines that should be revised.


1. Tagging Subdistrict Administrative Organization (SAO / อบต.) as place=village contradicts the wiki's description. It is a group of distinct settlements (village, now tagged as place=hamlet), which should be tagged as anything under "Administratively declared places" in

2. Tagging village (muban) as place=hamlet violates the wiki's description as well, though not as severely, because most of them have more than 200 inhabitants.

3. Currently, place=state is used to tag a province as a node. It is more appropriate to use place=province and should be mentioned in the table. The other type of "Administratively declared places" can also be declared in the table to standardized Thailand's usage.

4. Leveling a community (chumchon) at the same level as village (level 10) is problematic because most municipalities that have already established a community continue to use a former village boundary for house addresses. Some of them retain the former village's administrative structure in parallel to the newly established community organization. It should be able to map both the village and community boundaries at the same time. (See below for more information)

5. Tagging all municipalities as place=city or place=town is not always appropriate, because not every municipality looks like a single urban settlement. It is correct for most of the old municipalities that were founded a long time ago, but not for the majority of recently established municipalities. Most of them are still rural areas, although they have been upgraded from the SAO if they meet the requirements.

This is a difficult problem to explain. I'd start with a simple categorization of settlement, rural area, and urban area. In an ideal situation, the rural area in Thailand is ruled by a SAO, which consists of a number of distinct villages, while the urban area is governed by a municipality, which can be divided into a number of communities. The large municipality can be divided into khwaeng, which is a large zone containing several communities.

However, the real world is more complicated, because many municipalities are not in the ideal situation, but rather "in between". Some of these "in between" municipalities remain rural. I think that considering a stage of transition from SAO to an ideal municipality might help in determining the criteria, as follows:

Phase I: Declare in a statute that SAO has been upgraded to the status of municipality.
During this phase, the organization's official name and structure are changed. The subdistrict headman and village headmen is still in authority.

Phase II: Declare the founding of communities.
During this phase, a community administrative structure is established, such as a community official name, a community committee, a community president, and so on, while the subdistrict and village headmen remain in place.

Phase III: Cancellation of a subdistrict and village headman role.
During this phase, the positions of subdistrict headman and village headman are canceled due to the settlement becoming a single urban area, or one year has elapsed (in the case of city municipality and town municipality). The village boundary is still used for house addresses, despite the fact that the village's administrative structure has been dismantled.
(According to current law, the subdistrict headman and village headmen of city municipalities and town municipalities are automatically canceled after one year of establishment. However, in reality, some of these municipalities have yet to establish communities; the subdistrict and village headmen, as well as a village boundary, are still working.)

Phase IV: Revising the house number. (ideal situation)
During this phase, all city streets will be named, and house numbers will be revised to use the street rather than village for addressing. The former village boundary is no longer to be used and can be removed from the map.

Based on a short search, I believe the majority of Thai municipalities are in Phase II or III, while the majority of new municipalities (less than ten years old) are in Phase I or II.


1. change SAO from place=village to place=county
2. change village (muban) from place=hamlet to place=village (avoid using place=hamlet at all because there are few villages with fewer than 200 inhabitants, to keep the guidelines simple)
3. adding place=province and place=district to the province and district, as a node
4. change community from level 10 to 11
5. adding detail to municipality, to make place=city and place=town only for municipality with communities established (Phase II or higher), while place=municipality for Phase I ones (I use Phase II as a turning point rather than Phase III because it is easier to find that communities have already been established than to find that a subdistrict and village headmen have been canceled)
6. note that at Phase II, place=village should be removed or changed to community
7. in addition, adding place=suburb and place=quarter to district and subdistrict in Bangkok (also place=suburb for the city municipality's khwaeng)
8. clarify the admin_level for local administration: 7 for municipality/SAO and 9 for city municipality's khwaeng
9. note that the village (level 10) boundary should not be removed until the municipality has completed Phase IV

Feel free to comment on a solution here.



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