Posts Tagged ‘license plate’

Lao Minivan in Bangkok

December 31, 2009

I do not see many vehicles with foreign license (registration) plates in Thailand. I can recall four in the past year.

This Lao registered Hyundai Starex minivan stood out in my local supermarket car park a couple of days ago. The owner must be very rich. Laos is still a Communist country and one of the poorest in the world. The country is small and landlocked and I think most of the world has forgotten about it after the tragedy of the Vietnam War.

Lao Hyundai Starex Minivan in Bangkok

Lao Hyundai Starex Minivan in Bangkok - front

Laos uses a different alphabet to Thailand so I can’t read the plate or get any of my Thai friends to help. Wikipedia has articles on the Vehicle Registration Systems for most countries but it does not have one for Laos.

Lao Hyundai Starex Minivan in Bangkok

Lao Hyundai Starex Minivan in Bangkok - rear

They do not sell the Hyundai Starex in Thailand. The styling is quite distinctive.

Singapore Vehicle License Plate Check Character Calculator & Validator

November 23, 2009

Here’s something extremely obscure!

A few years ago I spent a lot of time in Singapore and, as always, wanted to understand their system of vehicle registration places (license plates).

The basic system is easy to understand.Wikipedia has some basic documentation here.

Here’s an illustration from Wikipedia of a current private vehicle plate design (front and rear).

It’s British heritage is obvious but the Singapore Government made an enhancement that’s unusual. Almost every license plate (apart from military and diplomatic plates) has an alphabetic character at the end. It’s not a “year letter” like the old British system but a “check character”.

The check character is calculated from the values of the other characters in the plate and serves as a validator. If you make a mistake recording the plate the check character will be wrong.

As far as I know the Singapore Government does not document the check character generation algorithm for the public. I had a big database of Singapore license plates I’d observed and back in 2002 I tried to reverse-engineer the algorithm.

My mathematics isn’t the best so I got some help from somebody on the Internet. He quickly helped me understand the system and I wrote some Microsoft Visual Basic code to calculate check characters and to validate them.

I published a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with the code on my web site, but I closed it down in 2007 as an economy measure. When I discovered Scribd I decided to re-publish it as a service to anyone else who’s interested in the subject.

In the spirit of open-source I placed the code in the public domain under a GNU General Public License. I don’t know how many people are interested in this obscure subject but if you are, you’re welcome to the code.

After the break is an embedded form of the spreadsheet from Scribd. Don’t worry about the “VALUE” errors in the preview – Scribd rendered the preview incorrectly.

I am not a great Visual Basic coder so I’m sure many people can improve the code. I’ve tested it on hundreds of Singapore plates of all types including the new “SMB” bus plates and it works. But of course that isn’t a formal proof of correctness. As the license says – no warranty!

When I wrote the code I put lists of validated registration plates for the various classes of Singapore buses on the Singapore Buses Discussion Board on Yahoo Groups. They’re still there in the “Files” section over seven years later.

(more…)

Finding the Make of a British Car

October 30, 2009

One of the most popular posts on this blog is DVLA Vehicle Enquiry. It’s second only to my non-informative post on the rumoured Nikon Coolpix P7000 camera.

In the DVLA Vehicle Enquiry post I comment that you need to know the vehicle’s make as well as its registration mark (license plate) to do a search. Well, I found a way around that due to a Flickr friend. (This is a reason people love Flickr – there are people on Flickr knowledgable about everything under the sun, including my nerdy interests.)

It came about because I saw a British registration plate on the back of a Daihatsu Hijet songtheaw (small bus with two rows of seats) in Bangkok. I posted the picture to Flickr with a comment that I’d like to find out what the plate was originally attached to.

How do I know L336VGK is a British registration? What can I say? I am a nerd of the first degree.

GB Plate on a Bangkok Songtheaw
I got a couple of answers. One Flickr friend suggested I try the web site mycarcheck.com. Unfortunately it didn’t know anything about L336VGK.

Someone else suggested the venerable Royal Automobile Club (RAC). (The Queen calls them when her Bentley State Limousine breaks down).

Bentley State Limousine

Bentley State Limousine

The RAC has a service where you can find out the history of a vehicle. It’s intended to help people buying a used car. One “check” costs £14.99. That’s over 800 Baht! The Bangkok Frugal Photographer does not pay that kind of money for his nerdly inquiries: he doesn’t like to pay anything.

Fortunately my Flickr friend told me that you don’t need to pay to verify the vehicle’s make. They give that to you free to ensure you typed the registration correctly.

So here are the steps.

  • Go to the RAC Web Site Car Check here.
  • Select “Buy 1 Check – Just £14.99”. Don’t worry, you will not have to pay.
  • That takes you to a RAC partner web site which shows a screen like this:

RAC Vehicle Details 1

  • You enter the registration number in the text box. It’s officially a Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM) and click “Check”.
  • Then you some to this screen:

RAC Vehicle Details 2

  • You have to solve the two character captcha. That hinders an even greater nerd than me writing a program to perform the checks.
  • Then you click the “Show” button, NOT the “Buy Now” button.
  • If you have solved the captcha correctly you get a screen like this:

RAC Vehicle Details 3

  • There’s the vehicle’s make. L336VGK was originally on a Volkswagen Caravelle something like this:

  • If you want to find out a bit more you can take the Make = Volkswagen, VRM = L336VGK to the DVLA Web Site and click on “Vehicle Enquiry” on the left toolbar.
  • You enter the information thus:

DVLA Vehicle Check 1

  • And you get this:

DVLA Vehicle Check 2

  • So the vehicle is not currently licensed in the UK. I expect it was exported, perhaps to Thailand. They are both RHD countries. I have seen several cars with GB plates under their new Thai plates (as a mark of distinction I guess). In this case the VW’s owner may have given the old front plate (rear plates are black on yellow) to her friend the songtheaw driver.
  • And 15 years later, a photo of it ends up on the internet. Isn’t the world amazing?

Vehicle Registration Plates of Thailand – Update

September 9, 2009

I completed version 0.2 with many updates from my Flickr friend “channarong108”.

You can download it here: Vehicle Registration Plates of Thailand v0.2.

I have deleted the old version from the blog.

It is a 5.3MB Adobe PDF file so you need Adobe Reader to view it.

Get Adobe Reader

Get Adobe Reader

Comments and corrections are much appreciated.

Vehicle Registration Plates of Thailand

September 6, 2009

UPDATE: I replaced this with version 0.2 on 9th September 2009. See here.

Here is the first draft of a paper describing the current motor vehicle registration system for Thailand – complete with many illustrations.

Vehicle Registration Plates of Thailand

Vehicle Registration Plates of Thailand

I believe it is more complete that anything else that has been offered online, at least for free.

It is a 5MB Adobe PDF file so you need Adobe Reader to view it.

Get Adobe Reader

Get Adobe Reader

Comments and corrections are much appreciated.

Solved the Thai Code List – I Think

August 31, 2009

See https://bkkphotographer.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/province-number-on-thai-license-plates/ and the comments to this photo on Flickr.

A Flickr friend directed me to the web site of the Thai Department of Land Transportartion (DLT)  here. There you can download Excel spreadsheets with statistics of vehicle registrations in each province of Thailand. That’s interesting (to me) but the good news is that the spreadsheets are organized in order of the two digit code applied to license plates for buses and commercial trucks.

The spreadsheets don’t explicitly list the codes but when I combined the information I have from photographs (> 50%) with the columns in the spreadsheets I was able to fill in the blanks. I was very thin in the southern region, but I had 92 = Songkhla and that was enough to place the remainder.

The first digit of the code gives the region of Thailand as follows:

0 – Bangkok
1 – Central
2 – East
3 – Lower North East
4 – Upper North East
5 – Upper North
6 – Lower North
7- West
8 – Upper South
9 – Lower South

Within each sub-region the codes are allocated roughly north-south, west-east. There are exceptions with provinces created since the DLT created the system, for example Sa Kaeo in the East and Nong Bua Lamphu in the North East.

Code Name Thai Name
01 Bangkok กรุงเทพมหานคร
10 Chai Nat ชัยนาท
11 Sing Buri สิงห์บุรี
12 Lop Buri ลพบุรี
13 Ang Thong อ่างทอง
14 Saraburi สระบุรี
15 Ayutthaya พระนครศรีอยุธยา
16 Pathum Thani ปทุมธานี
17 Nonthaburi นนทบุรี
18 Samut Prakan สมุทรปราการ
20 Nakhon Nayok นครนายก
21 Prachin Buri ปราจีนบุรี
22 Chachoengsao ฉะเชิงเทรา
23 Chon Buri ชลบุรี
24 Rayong ระยอง
25 Chanthaburi จันทบุรี
26 Trat ตราด
27 Sa Kaeo สระแก้ว
30 Chaiyaphum ชัยภูมิ
31 Yasothon ยโสธร
32 Ubon Ratchathani อุบลราชธานี
33 Si Sa Ket ศรีสะเกษ
34 Buri Ram บุรีรัมย์
35 Nakhon Ratchasima นครราชสีมา
36 Surin สุรินทร์
37 Amnat Charoen อำนาจเจริญ
38 Nong Bua Lam Phu หนองบัวลำภู
40 Nong Khai หนองคาย
41 Loei เลย
42 Udon Thani อุดรธานี
43 Nakhon Phanom นครพนม
44 Sakon Nakhon สกลนคร
45 Khon Kaen ขอนแก่น
46 Kalasin กาฬสินธุ์
47 Maha Sarakham มหาสารคาม
48 Roi Et ร้อยเอ็ด
49 Mukdahan มุกดาหาร
50 Chiang Rai เชียงราย
51 Mae Hong Son แม่ฮ่องสอน
52 Chiang Mai เชียงใหม่
53 Phayao พะเยา
54 Nan น่าน
55 Lamphun ลำพูน
56 Lampang ลำปาง
57 Phrae แพร่
60 Uttaradit อุตรดิตถ์
61 Sukhothai สุโขทัย
62 Tak ตาก
63 Phitsanulok พิษณุโลก
64 Kamphaeng Phet กำแพงเพชร
65 Phichit พิจิตร
66 Phetchabun เพชรบูรณ์
67 Nakhon Sawan นครสวรรค์
68 Uthai Thani อุทัยธานี
70 Suphanburi สุพรรณบุรี
71 Kanchanaburi กาญจนบุรี
72 Nakhon Pathom นครปฐม
73 Ratchaburi ราชบุรี
74 Samut Sakhon สมุทรสาคร
75 Samut Songkhram สมุทรสงคราม
76 Phetchaburi เพชรบุรี
77 Prachuap Khiri Khan ประจวบคีรีขันธ์
80 Chumpon ชุมพร
81 Ranong ระนอง
82 Surat Thani สุราษฎร์ธานี
83 Phang Nga พังงา
84 Nakhon Si Thammarat นครศรีธรรมราช
85 Krabi กระบี่
86 Phuket ภูเก็ต
90 Phattalung พัทลุง
91 Trang ตรัง
92 Songkhla สงขลา
93 Satun สตูล
94 Pattani ปัตตานี
95 Yala ยะลา
96 Narathiwat นราธิวาส

I verified 44 = Sakon Nakhon and 50 = Chiang Rai today by observation.

A corollary is that the six-digit license plates are duplicated across the country. For example each province registers buses in a series starting 10-xxxx. So a unique registration has to have the two digit code pre-pended.

I want to be able to search by Lightroom catalog for such duplicates. i have the data in my add-in but it is hard to write a SQL query – not least because I still have not found a working ODBC driver for the Lightroom database.

Fifty Percent!

August 23, 2009

With help from a Thai Flickr friend I have worked out half the Thai Department of Land Transportation two-digit province codes for truck and bus license plates.

See here and the comments on this Flickr picture.

01 Bangkok กรุงเทพมหานคร
12 Lop Buri ลพบุรี
13 Ang Thong อ่างทอง
14 Saraburi สระบุรี
15 Ayutthaya พระนครศรีอยุธยา
16 Pathum Thani ปทุมธานี
17 Nonthaburi นนทบุรี
18 Samut Prakan สมุทรปราการ
21 Prachin Buri ปราจีนบุรี
22 Chachoengsao ฉะเชิงเทรา
23 Chon Buri ชลบุรี
24 Rayong ระยอง
25 Chanthaburi จันทบุรี
27 Sa Kaeo สระแก้ว
31 Yasothon ยโสธร
32 Ubon Ratchathani อุบลราชธานี
33 Si Sa Ket ศรีสะเกษ
34 Buri Ram บุรีรัมย์
35 Nakhon Ratchasima นครราชสีมา
36 Surin สุรินทร์
45 Khon Kaen ขอนแก่น
46 Kalasin กาฬสินธุ์
47 Maha Sarakham มหาสารคาม
60 Uttaradit อุตรดิตถ์
61 Sukhothai สุโขทัย
63 Phitsanulok พิษณุโลก
64 Kamphaeng Phet กำแพงเพชร
66 Phetchabun เพชรบูรณ์
68 Uthai Thani อุทัยธานี
70 Suphanburi สุพรรณบุรี
71 Kanchanaburi กาญจนบุรี
72 Nakhon Pathom นครปฐม
73 Ratchaburi ราชบุรี
74 Samut Sakhon สมุทรสาคร
75 Samut Songkhram สมุทรสงคราม
76 Phetchaburi เพชรบุรี
77 Prachuap Khiri Khan ประจวบคีรีขันธ์

DVLA Vehicle Licensing Online | Vehicle Enquiry

August 22, 2009

DVLA Vehicle Licensing Online | Vehicle Enquiry.

UK DVLA Vehicle Enquiry

UK DVLA Vehicle Enquiry

I often want to know details of a vehicle that I have photographed. In the UK the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency provide basic details on this page.

Unfortunately the details they provide are very basic and do not include the make and model. Indeed you need to know the make in order to make the inquiry.

UK DVLA Vehicle Enquiry Result

UK DVLA Vehicle Enquiry Result

I extracted the list of vehicle makes that the DVLA know about from the web page source. It’s interesting (to a database geek) how they represent the many vehicle manufacturers’ names. For example Mercedes-Benz is just “MERCEDES”.

I had a quick look for manufacturers that I have seen here in Thailand that are not in the UK list. The only one I could find is Thairung. They make a SUV called the Allroader as well as vehicles under license. Apparently none have made it to the UK.

Here is the list as a PDF file. UK DVLA Vehicle Makes. WordPress does not allow me to upload a simple text file. Undoubtedly that’s “for security reasons“.

Other countries provide information on-line too. I should make an annotated list. I am quite sure Thailand is not amongst them.

What is the Box?

August 21, 2009

What is the Box?

I photographed this nondescript Toyota Corolla in Thonburi. It has a curious box around the front license plate with wires or pipes leading to it. The license plate is a normal Bangkok car registration – pre 1997.

Something to fool speed cameras? I don’t think they have them in Thailand.

Here is a closeup view:

Strange Box

Strange Box

My guess: it’s a joke. Made to bemuse curious passers by.

Progress!

August 16, 2009

I have made good progress looking at the small two digit numbers on Thai truck and bus license plates and seeing how they correspond to the province. I introduced the problem here.

Thailand Truck License Plate

Thailand Truck License Plate

I have gone through several hundred pictures from my Lightroom database where the province code and the province name (in Thai characters) are visible. It does seem that the two digit code identifies the province (changwat), 01 = Bangkok for example. I have never seen more than one code for a province or a code used for more than one province. (It’s a 1-to-1 mapping in CS jargon.)

Here is that I have so far:

License Plate Name Thai Name
01 Bangkok กรุงเทพมหานคร
13 Ang Thong อ่างทอง
14 Saraburi สระบุรี
15 Ayutthaya พระนครศรีอยุธยา
16 Pathum Thani ปทุมธานี
17 Nonthaburi นนทบุรี
18 Samut Prakan สมุทรปราการ
21 Prachin Buri ปราจีนบุรี
22 Chachoengsao ฉะเชิงเทรา
23 Chon Buri ชลบุรี
24 Rayong ระยอง
25 Chanthaburi จันทบุรี
27 Sa Kaeo สระแก้ว
31 Yasothon ยโสธร
32 Ubon Ratchathani อุบลราชธานี
33 Si Sa Ket ศรีสะเกษ
34 Buri Ram บุรีรัมย์
35 Nakhon Ratchasima นครราชสีมา
36 Surin สุรินทร์
45 Khon Kaen ขอนแก่น
46 Kalasin กาฬสินธุ์
47 Maha Sarakham มหาสารคาม
60 Uttaradit อุตรดิตถ์
63 Phitsanulok พิษณุโลก
64 Kamphaeng Phet กำแพงเพชร
68 Uthai Thani อุทัยธานี
70 Suphanburi สุพรรณบุรี
72 Nakhon Pathom นครปฐม
73 Ratchaburi ราชบุรี
74 Samut Sakhon สมุทรสาคร
75 Samut Songkhram สมุทรสงคราม
License Plate Name Thai Name
1 Bangkok กรุงเทพมหานคร
13 Ang Thong อ่างทอง
14 Saraburi สระบุรี
15 Ayutthaya พระนครศรีอยุธยา
16 Pathum Thani ปทุมธานี
17 Nonthaburi นนทบุรี
18 Samut Prakan สมุทรปราการ
21 Prachin Buri ปราจีนบุรี
22 Chachoengsao ฉะเชิงเทรา
23 Chon Buri ชลบุรี
24 Rayong ระยอง
25 Chanthaburi จันทบุรี
27 Sa Kaeo สระแก้ว
31 Yasothon ยโสธร
32 Ubon Ratchathani อุบลราชธานี
33 Si Sa Ket ศรีสะเกษ
34 Buri Ram บุรีรัมย์
35 Nakhon Ratchasima นครราชสีมา
36 Surin สุรินทร์
45 Khon Kaen ขอนแก่น
46 Kalasin กาฬสินธุ์
47 Maha Sarakham มหาสารคาม
60 Uttaradit อุตรดิตถ์
63 Phitsanulok พิษณุโลก
64 Kamphaeng Phet กำแพงเพชร
68 Uthai Thani อุทัยธานี
70 Suphanburi สุพรรณบุรี
72 Nakhon Pathom นครปฐม
73 Ratchaburi ราชบุรี
74 Samut Sakhon สมุทรสาคร
75 Samut Songkhram สมุทรสงคราม

I have 32 out of 76 provinces – 42%. To find more sans travel I need to look at my older pictures in ThumbsPlus.

I added a Region field to my little Lightroom Vehicle Information Plugin so I can record the information in the database. I have done it in a general way so I can record the same data for license plates of other countries.

New Lightroom Region Code

New Lightroom Region Code

I want to learn how to “inject” these name-value pairs as typed Vehicle Tag keywords into pictures that I export as Jeff Friedl does for his Geocoding information:

veh:state=Thailand
veh:regnclass=Bus
veh:regn=10-7054
veh:fleettype=Transport Company
veh:fleetnumber=0579-0011
veh:region=35-Nakhon Ratchasima