Database of 1960 Maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand

Prin Jhearmaneechotechai, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok

Published in Academic Journal of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, 2016

Translated for Archival City by Pijika Pumketkao,  École nationale supérieure architecture de Paris-Belleville

Abstract:

This article describes the creation of a cartographic database based upon the 1960 maps of 70 Mueang districts of Thailand that were recently discovered and studied. The database-creation process includes the search and compilation of the maps, the improvement of the maps’ condition, the creation of index of place names and other cartographic features on the maps which can be categorized in topographic context, types of buildings, archaeological sites and monuments and the road network. This database can be used for future study and research on Thai cities during the 1960s.

Keywords: database, City map, Cities in Thailand, 1960.

Introduction

Map is an important tool for recording and presenting the physical features of the city in a specific time. It gives basic information which are important for studying and analysing the city in historical dimensions and physical dimension (e.g. size, location, form, urban elements, infrastructure, topographical features). In Thailand, the systematic survey and cartography started during the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910). However, many maps produced during this period were lost or dispersed in many places. Some were not accessible to the public, as they had belonged to private owners.

The maps of Mueang districts 1960 (B.E. 2503) were found at the Royal Thai Survey Department. The recent study of these maps was conducted in 2015. This series of maps is very important because it shows the details of the physical features of 70 ordinary Thai cities in the beginning of 1960s. The other maps created in the same period show the data on a regional scale. Regarding the earlier maps, they illustrated almost exclusively the capital cities or the principal cities and were not collected into a set of maps.

Goal

This article aims to describe the creation process of a cartographic database based upon the research results of the historic map collection project that gathers the maps of Mueang districts of Thailand 1960 (B.E. 2503). This project was funded by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Fund, Chulalongkorn University.

Research Methodology

This paper discusses the research methodology of the historic map collection project that gathers the maps of Mueang districts of Thailand 1960 (B.E. 2503). To complement the discussion, it also addresses the history of cartography in Thailand, which is part of “The research project on the maps of Bangkok 1907-1932 (B.E. 2450-2475): collection and creation of a database for architectural and urban studies”. The discussion comprises three main parts.

The first part concerns the history of cartography in Thailand before 1960s.The second parts deals with the making of a cartographic database: search for maps, enhancing and digitizing the maps. The third part concerns the making of the nomenclatures and lists of name places.

History of cartography in Thailand

The results of the research on the cartography on a city scale in Thailand show that the maps created before 1960 (B.E. 2503) concern mostly the principal cities. These historic maps were made by the foreigners, for example, Plan of Ayutthaya 1687 (B.E. 2230), Plan of Thonburi 1688 (B.E. 2231), Plan of Louvo (Lopburi) 1750 (B.E. 2293). Then, when Bangkok was established as the capital, most of the city maps concerned Bangkok and certain areas of Thonburi, such as maps of Bangkok created in 1821 (B.E. 2364), 1854 (B.E. 2397), 1870 (B.E. 2413), 1887 (B.E. 2430), 1897 (B.E. 2440), 1907 (B.E. 2450), 1910 (B.E. 2453), 1932 (B.E. 2475) and 1947 (B.E. 2490)[1]. Between 1821 and 1870, the maps were not produced according to the modern techniques and standards of cartography, resulting in inaccurate information on the form and size of the city. These maps were created by foreigners for different purposes (Figure 1).

The modern science of cartography from the West was introduced to Thailand during the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910), who initiated the establishment of the map-making division in 1875. The Royal Survey Department was established in 1885, under the Ministry of Defense. In 1887, for the very first time, the land surveying and map production were conducted in Bangkok by using the modern science of cartography, resulting in more accurate results than the earlier maps. The Map of Bangkok 1887 (B.E. 2430) was sent to England for printing, under the supervision of the captain Alfred J. Loftus, English navy officer. This map identifies buildings, roads, canals, bridges, etc. It was the first map that presented the details of Bangkok city (Figure 2).

Since then, the map-making has been conducted according to Western standards of cartography. For making the map of Bangkok in 1907 (B.E. 2450), the theodolite, chain and prismatic compass were used for surveying and calculating the geometric distance. The main objective of this map-making was to issue land title deeds of the Agriculture Ministry. This was the first map whose information was systematically presented and could be edit.

The map of Bangkok produced in 1910 (B.E. 2453) presented the urban elements of Bangkok city in the beginning of the reign of King Rama VI (1910-1925), when the overland routes were being developed.

The map of Bangkok created in 1932 (B.E. 2475) shows more details of the city than the earlier maps. The method of planimetric surveying was applied for exploring the urban areas with a lot of details.

The map of Bangkok 1947 (B.E. 2490) was produced by the Public Relations Department for promoting tourism after the end of World War II. This map presents the major tourist destinations in Bangkok and Thonburi. It shows the city’s physical features and land transport networks. In this period, the maps of Mueang districts were created to present 70 cities in Thailand and land transport networks developed at that time.

Maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand 1960 (B.E. 2503)

The maps of Mueang Districts were the first city maps that showed the regional administrative centers and settlements in other areas of Thailand beyond Bangkok, the capital city. This series is composed of 70 city maps presenting the characteristics and size of the city, as well as relevant urban elements, such as buildings, roads and other area conditions.

The date of creation of these maps is still unknown. They were made by Department of Public Works whose duties were to construct urban infrastructure. In 1960, Royal Thai Survey Department collected, edited and published these maps in three scales (1:5,000  1:10,000 and 1:20,000). It was assumed that the Department of Public Works conducted the land surveying and map production for the use of officers at the provincial level. These maps gave important information for urban development planning at a later time.

The making of a database of Maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand 1960

The making of a database of Maps of Mueang Districts consisted of three phases.

  1. Search for maps

The searching process consisted of two parts: 1) search for the maps that were already published and disseminated; 2) search for the maps preserved at different documentation centers, such as Royal Thai Survey Department, National Archives of Thailand, Library of the Faculty of Architecture of Chulalongkorn University, Office of Academic Resources of Chulalongkorn University, Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning. It was found that many city maps in Thailand were copied, enhanced, and collected in the digital databases. These maps can be categorized into two types: folding map and research report.

Folding map

The maps were copied and enhanced, including Map of Bangkok 1910 (B.E. 2453), Plan of the City of Bangkok Siam 1903, Plan of Louvo (Lopburi) 1750 (B.E. 2293), Plan of Thonburi 1688 (B.E. 2231), Map of Bangkok 1921 (B.E. 2464), Plan of Ayutthaya 1687 (B.E. 2230), Map of Monthon Krungthep (Bangkok) R.S. 120, Historic plan of Bangkok 1910 (B.E. 2453) (Royal Thai Survey Department).

Research report

  1. Pinijnakorn 1932-2002 (B.E. 2475-2545). Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University in cooperation with Supreme Command Headquarters of Royal Thai Army, published on the occasion of Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Accession to the Throne in 2006.
  2. Maps of Bangkok 1907 (B.E. 2450) and 2007 (B.E. 2550). Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University in cooperation with the Department of City Planning (Bangkok), published on the occasion of Auspicious Occasion of His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary in 2007.
  3. Map of Bangkok 1907-1932 (B.E. 2450-2475) : collection and creation of a database for architectural and urban studies of Bangkok. The Thailand Research Fund, published in 2006.
  4. Map of Bangkok 1887 (B.E. 2430) : collection and creation of a database for architectural and urban studies of Bangkok. The Thailand Reserarch Fund, published in 2007.
  5. Historic maps of Bangkok. Historic Maps and Documents Research Unit, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University proposal to Toshiba Thailand Company Limited, published in 2010.

Regarding the search of maps at different documentation centers, this allowed to discover the maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand 1960, preserved at the Royal Thai Survey Department in book format on size A3. The research team made a request for permission to make a copy, scanned, digitalized, and enhanced the maps by Photoshop program. The team enhanced the damaged parts of the maps, adjusted, and restored faded color, by preserving the original scale and area boundary.

  1. Organisation of the maps

Most of the original old maps were damaged or torn apart in particular at the crease (Figures 3-6). The research team thus had to make the adjustments by Photoshop program, to improve the clarity and printability of the maps, by preserving the original scale and area boundary (Figures 7-8).

  1. Creation of a database

The research team investigated first the data of 70 maps. Then, they classified the maps by province, size, and scale of map. They next explored the details of the map, such as place names, roads, water sources, religious places, area condition. The map data was organized in five main categories.

  • Important places and buildings (provincial governor’s residence, provincial court, provincial police station, city hall, provincial school, district office, municipal office, market, train station, etc.)
  • Religious places (Buddhist temple, mosque, church, shrine)
  • Land transport networks (road, bridge, railway, etc.) that show the urban networks and infrastructures of the city. In the 1960s, Thailand had developed and invested heavily in land transport networks, in the framework of the national highway construction project and the improving of existing roads to meet standards, according to the National Economic and Social Development Plan (First plan, 1961-1966).
  • Water sources (canal, river, brook, swamp, ditch, etc.)
  • Area conditions (paddy field, garden, forest, etc.)

After categorizing the map data, the research team made the nomenclatures and lists of name places, roads, water resources, religious places, and area conditions, by using Microsoft Excel for organizing the information. This format can facilitate sorting and searching for data.

Research results

This article presented the creation of a cartographic database of the maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand 1960, which is one of the approaches to study the city by using the maps. Map is a significant information source and an important tool for recording and presenting the physical features of the city in a specific time. Maps of different periods can be used for a comparative study on the evolution and transformation of the city. The collection of maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand 1960 recorded the important characteristics of the Thai cities during the period of rapid expansion of the land transport networks and rapid expansion of the city after the end of World War II.

Preservation of the original maps and search for information

Regarding the maps preserved at different documentation centers, there are limitations regarding the way of storing and organizing documents. The original maps preserved at different documentation centers were not yet arranged and classified. It is hence difficult for searching the maps and information. Furthermore, the maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand 1960 were not yet described. There was no information about the objective and methodology of map-making. For collecting information, the research team conducted the interview with Nij Hinchiranan, architect-urbanist, national artist (visual art) who had worked at the Department of Public Works during the 1960s.

Types of map

The maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand 1960 were created in three scales (1:5,000  1:10,000 and 1:20,000) and presented on A3 format, which was convenient to carry and use on site. In this way, the research team decided to classify these maps by scale. Two city maps used the scale 1:20,000 (Nakhonsawan and Bangkok-Thongburi). 33 city maps used the scale 1:10,000 and 35 maps used the scale 1:5,000.

Map data

The map data are varied and differed according to regions. The local vocabulary is mentioned.  The map data consist of the following.

Data on area conditions, both natural and modified conditions:

  • Natural areas: forest, lowland, mountain, foothills, mountain range, island, beach, etc. Modified areas: paddy field, field, vegetable garden, fruit garden, village, neighborhood, cemetery, etc. This required the study of the local vocabulary to be able to categorize correctly information.
  • Water resources: river, canal, ditch, tributary, pond, swamp, sea, bay, lake, etc.

Data on transport networks:

  • Land transport networks: road, lane, alleyway, bridge, railway.
  • Road directions that indicate the link to other areas and cities.

Data on places and urban elements:

  • Government offices and administrative offices: city hall, provincial court, district office, prison, etc. Provincial officers’ residence: provincial governor’s residence, district-chief officer’s residence, etc.
  • Important places and facilities of the city (private and public sectors): market, school, post office, police station, hospital, etc.
  • Important places relating to the role of the city: power plant, mill, ice factory, other factories, etc.
  • Important places relating to the foreign affairs (England, France, USA and China)
  • Ancient monuments: fortress, city wall, city gate, palace.
  • Religious places: Buddhist temple, mosque, church, shrine.

Making of the nomenclatures and lists of name places

The nomenclatures of name places were built around the types of data presented on the map. The making of the nomenclatures was quite complicated. As the drawing lines overlapped with the name places, it was difficult to read and needed to verify several times.

Conclusion

This paper showed the research methodology behind the creation of a database of the maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand 1960. This database consists of a collection of maps and nomenclatures of place names showing different types of data: area conditions (natural and modified areas), water sources, important places, transport networks. It can be used for studies on the evolution and transformation of Thai cities in the 1960s, a period of rapid urban and social change.

Figure 1- Map of Bangkok 1821 (B.E. 2364)

Source: Journal of an Embassy to the Courts of Siam and Cochin China, (London: Colburn, 1828), John Crawfurd 1828

Figure 2. Map of Bangkok 1887 (B.E. 2430)

Source: National Archives of Thailand

Figure 3. Condition of original map: faded color

Figure 4. Condition of original map: damaged map

Figure 5. Condition of original map: stained map

Figure 6. Condition of original map: damaged map in particular at the crease

Figure 7. Condition of original map of Mueang Districts Chiang Rai

Figure 8. Map of Mueang Districts Chiang Rai after the adjustment

References:  

Crawfurd, John. Journal of an Embassy to the Courts of Siam and Cochin China. London: Colburn, 1828.

Royal Thai Survey Department, Pinijnakorn 2475-2545. Bangkok: Amarin, 2006.

Nij Hinchiranan. Interview by the author, 9 Febuary 2012.

Prin Jhearmaneechotechai & Pirasri Povatong. The historic map collection project: Maps of Mueang districts of Thailand 1960 (B.E. 2503). Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University, 2015.

Bundit Chulasai. Map of Bangkok 1907-1932 (B.E. 2450-2475) : Collection and creation of a database for architectural and urban studies of Bangkok. Bangkok: The Thailand Research Fund, 2006.

Sombat Chutinan & Thammarak Kanpisit. “National Development Plan.” สารานุกรมไทย 24(2542) เรื่องที่ 9. Consulted on 10 Mai 2016. http://kanchanapisek.or.th/kp6/Ebook/BOOK24/book24_9/Default.html.

Historic Maps and Documents Research Unit, Faculty of Architecture Chulalongkorn University. Historic maps of Bangkok. Bangkok: Faculty of Architecture Chulalongkorn University 2010.

[1] Historic Maps and Documents Research Unit, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, Historic maps of Bangkok, 2010, 2.



Citer ce billet
Annalaura Turiano (2023, 30 novembre). Database of 1960 Maps of Mueang Districts of Thailand. Archival City. Consulté le 13 juin 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/beu7

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