|The Second Meeting of the
Working Party on the Application of New Technology
to Population Data
| Singapore, 1-3 April 1998
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE
1 April 1998
Working Party on the Application of New Technology
to Population Data
1-3 April 1998
|Internet And Statistics
in NSO Thailand
Dr Malee Wongsaroje
Mr Neramit Dhanasakdi
National Statistical Office, Thailand
Technology in Thailand
on the Internet
in the NSO Thailand
|Internet is a global collection
of people and computers that are linked together.
Internet is a newly emerging technology that is
gaining a strong popularity. Widespread utilization
of the Internet during the last 2-3 years has brought
the Internet technology to daily-life and become
a part of an information society. The Internet technology
is applied, in forms of various services, by users
from all subject domains. Currently the Internet
has connected computer networks worldwide in over
100 countries and over 30 millions users, both in
academic and business area.
Internet Technology in Thailand
|In Thailand, Internet technology
is playing an important role in the growing of information
technology. Although the Internet is formerly used
among researchers and acadamic bodies, currently
an Internet accessibility is fully commercialized.
Consequently, the Internet will become and important
electronic media in an information system and tele-communication.
(However, the growing of Internet technology still
strongly depends on basic infrastructure of the
country, such as physical communication lines).
Figure 1 shows the status of Internet connection
in Thailand. The node of NSO shown in the figure
is explained later in this report.
| Figure 1: Internet Connection
Services on the Internet
|Internet is physically a network
of networks. It connects small computer networks
by using a standard or common protocol, i.e. TCP/IP,
which allows all different networks worldwide communicating
to each other. Consequently, the Internet become
an electronic media in which network users are communicated.
Various services are developed on the Internet network.
Important services are as follows:
|Electronic Mail, or E-mail
in short, allows an internet user sending a message
(in an electronic form) to any Internet users via
a computer that connected to the Internet. Most
E-mail programs offer convenient utilities for managing
in coming and outgoing mail messages. E-mail is
a basic service of a computer network. Due to the
world-wide connection of computer networks, E-mail
service is heavily based on the Internet.
|File Transfer, a program
called FTP (File Transfer Protocol), provides users
to copy any file from one Internet host computer
to another. An account name on a host and account's
password is all needed to perform FTP. There exist
a public archive from which anybody on the Internet
can access through the use of anonymous FTP.
|Telnet is a service that
allows a user connecting to remote machines via
the Internet network. Telnet program manages an
Internet host computer to become a terminal of another
host computer on the Internet. A user on a remote
machine can thus run the Internet computer programs
that machine provides. Telnet provides direct access
to various Internet services, for example, card
catalog libraries, address and telephone book of
a specific individual on the Internet and so on.
|Gopher is a program that
is designed to allow a user to brows the resources
of the Internet. Gopher displays a set of resources
on the Internet as menus -- or lists of items from
which a user can choose. A user travel around the
Internet by selecting items from these menus --
without a need to know resources' address and any
commands. A user just points to an item of interest
and performing a selection to see its contents on
the screen. Gopherspace has expanded very rapidly
in the last two years and become on line all the
|World Wide-Web, also called
WWW or WEB, offers a different approach to brows
the Internet. A user simply read the text provided
and select the items you wish to jump to for viewing.
A user can follow many different "trails" of information
while browsing through the text. WWW client programs
come in several forms, both text-based and graphic-based
interfaces. Information stored in WWW can be in
multi media forms. Using an efficient WWW client
program, users are facilitated in searching and
managing information from various WWW sites in the
|Usenet Newsgroup provides
a major way to meet people and share information
on the Internet. Usenet newsgroups are special groups
set up by people who share common interests ranging
from food to sciences. There are currently thousands
of Usenet newsgroups arranging in topical hierarchies.
There is no enforcement body; Usenet depends entirely
on the cooperation of its computer' owners and users.
Usenet is in fact another global network of computers,
but locations in the Internet provide access to
a Usenet computer, making Usenet news accessible
to most people on the Internet. A user needs a special
program call a news reader to retrieve only the
desired news from a local Usenet storage site and
display it on his/her computer.
Internet and Statistics
|As previously mentioned in Section
3, Internet services come in several forms. We may
consider the utilization of those Internet services
in two aspects,i.e. (a) from an information user's
point of view and (b) an information provider's
point of view. Next section will elaborate in the
National Statistical Office Thailand case study.
- Information user's point
of view - Internet can be used a new emerging
technology in the area of information technology.
The Internet serves as an electronic media that
establishes a communication among people via
worldwide computer network. All important Internet
services are definitely useful in an operation
of a statistical system. This results in an
effective and productive statistical production
system. For example, using E-mail to communicate
with people instead of a normal mail, fax or
telephone .i.e. Services like WWW, FTP, Gopher,
Telnet, Usenet and etc., are excellent knowledge
resources that can be simply acquired by statisticians,
subject-matter expert, programmers and system
- Information provider's point
of view - A National Statistical Office, as
a major source of statistical information, may
alternatively apply Internet technology for
dissemination of statistical information. Traditional
means of dissemination, such as reports and
databases, can be enhanced by using Internet
Technology. Electronic publishing and on-line
database are such examples. These services can
be made available commonly in the Internet based
on remote access facilities that have been successfully
and wide-spread used. Consequently, a provider
takes responsible only the information server
site whereas users are equipped by utilities
from the Internet.
Internet in the NSO Thailand
|National Statistical Office Thailand
has foreseen an important role of the Internet.
Its utilization has strong impact on promoting an
information technology. Currently the National Statistical
Office has two internet accounts subscribing from
a commercial internet provider in Thailand. Consequently,
the National Statistical Office has set up a project
to deal with the Internet Technology in a statistical
system. Feasibility of applying the Internet is
studied. The goal of the project is to establish
a statistical information system base on a computer
backbone network which is connected to the Internet.
|As can be seen from Figure 1,
the National Statistical Office will become an Internet
node that fully connected to the Internet Backbone.
Any users on the Internet will be able to communicate
to the National Statistical Office network's users.
The NSO node, represented in Figures 2, shows the
logical design of the National Statistical Office
network with an Internet connection. The design
of the National Statistical Office network focuses
on Integrating an existing computer system with
the network backbone.
| Figure 2: NSO backbone
|According to the design shown
in Figure 2. (All computers in the head office have
direct connection via the internet gateway.) Statistical
Branch Offices located in every provinces are able
to connected to the host computer at the National
Statistical Office via the Internet. By this is
meant to reduce the cost of remote dial-up line
connection via the telephone network.
|In a statistical system of the
National Statistical Office, utilization of Internet
services are discussed according the type services.
|E-mail can be used as a
means to communicate between the head and the local
branch offices, as well as people outside the National
Statistical Office. Statistical users might use
E-mail to inquire information from the National
Statistical Office. Moreover, most specialists and
experts in various subjects can be conveniently
reached through E-mail. E-mail, to a certain extent,
may well replace a telephone, fax or post-mail.
E-mail has advantage on rapidity, paperless and
low cost for long distance communication.
|FTP is a way to move files
from one computer to another via network. FTP can
be used to transfer files from local branch office
to the head office or vice versa. Statistical data
produced by other statistical agencies can be electronically
collected through network by using FTP. Exchange
of data among agencies can be easily established.
Moreover, there exists a huge collection of software
utilities scattered in the Internet. EDP staff certainly
gains benefit of those software. FTP has advantage
on simple and quick.
|WWW can be applied to the
National Statistical Office in two aspects. From
an information user's point of view, we can use
WWW as a source of knowledge in which on-line searching
is available. From an information provider's point
of view, we can build a WWW to electronically disseminate
statistical information. Any users may retrieve
statistical data on-line through the Internet. Off-line
WWW prototype has shown very positive results. Moreover,
WWW can be used as an on-line electronic publishing.
This might be an alternative for publishing and
presentation works for statistics.
|Usenet Newsgroup is an
excellent place to meet people in the Internet.
We can select appropriate newsgroups that are allow
us to meet, discuss and exchange opinion relating
to topics of interests. Usenet is the best way to
meet experts and specialists in all subject domain,
in particular, research and academic domain.
|There are benefits of using the
Internet in an organization. The Internet is easy
to use from its user-friend interface. The Internet
can connect users worldwide with no limit of distance.
It is fast communication at very low cost. Moreover,
applications on internet is easy to develop and
maintenance. Free software and utilities are on-line
available. These advantages, so far, have shown
that the Internet will be a global communication
among human being. At that point, statistical agencies
should be statistical information providers on the
|Internet is a newly emerging technology
that are gaining a strong popularity. The Internet
plays an important role in the growing information
technology. In statistics, the Internet has shown
potential advantages in both statistical production
system and a dissemination system.
|Using the Internet in the National
Statistical Office is viable through a long term
plan. As an Internet user currently, the technology
has shown promising benefits to statistical system.
As an Internet provider, the technology will contribute
to the National Statistical Office in a way that
statistical information become more accessible.