I’ve been driving along a fine, scenic road just north of Chiang Mai (Way: 28103525) for many months and have often wondered what its name is. Of course there is no name posted anywhere and I can find no address for a government facility (Northern Study Center) located on it. So I stopped to ask some locals and with my girlfriends Nut’s help learned that it is named Thanon Liap Khlong Chonprathan. I went home and immediately added the name to the otherwise non-descript but scenic highway. I was happy, but not for long.
Later as I was working on adding names to the segments of Khlong Chonprathan near its source at the Mae Taeng River I got curious and did a bit more research and asked Nut a few more questions. It turns out that liap (เลียบ) means simply alongside, hence this road runs alongside the canal named Khlong Chonprathan (ถนนคลองชลประทาน). Well, after some more digging I learned that Chonprathan means, more or less, water giving and of course, khlong means canal. Apparently this well known canal on the west side of Chiang Mai city has what might be called a generic name. Nut tells me there are other canals that Thais refer to with the same name. My question is, how does a person distinguish this particular Khlong Chonprathan from others that might exist elsewhere.
Furthermore, my happy discovery of that road name now seems, disappointingly, to be a general name that could apply to any road that runs alongside of any canal. What does one do in this situation? My scientific background wants desperately to name everything correctly. The name Khlong Chonprathan seems fairly well accepted. But how about the liap road? Anybody care to offer an opinion? I am especially interested to hear from Thai speaking OSMers.
I don’t really think there’s much of a problem there. Many roads don’t have fancy names, and are referred to by such generic terms. It’s also quite plausible that that’s how they appear on street signs. If that is the case, it can only be correct to enter the name tag as such. I imagine “Main Street” is quite a common name in English-speaking countries. (BTW, chonlaprathan specifically translates as “irrigation”.)
Thank you very much Paul. That is the perfect comparison to make. You’re quite right about Main Street. There are literally thousands of them in the U.S. As for street signs, in this case I have searched high and low for one but cannot find one. I constructed the name based on what locals told Nut. Your answer convinced me that this name is okay to use.
By the way, it appears that this prominent irrigation canal takes most if not all of its water from the Mae Taeng River near Ban Hua Pa Ha. I wonder if you know of an Internet source for such canal information.
I haven’t encountered that one yet. I’m planning a trip to the south early next year and I’ll make a note of your observation so I’ll know what to expect.
To follow up on the other issue, I was driving along another favorite local road the other day, ชม. 4034, and it too follows alongside an irrigation canal. I stopped to ask some workmen the name of the canal. You guessed it: Khlong Chonprathan. This one originates from the Ping River while the other one, the one that gives the “Canal Road” its informal name, originates from the Mae Taeng River. I intentionally did not ask the name of the 4034
I played with the idea of renaming those features to differentiate them. How about Khlong Chonprathan (Mae Taeng)? The official government signs that appear next to the canal at various locations mention the Mae Taeng as the source of the water so this might be legitimate. But rather than do something that could be considered controversial I’ve given up on the idea for now. I reckon if Thais can live with these inconsistencies I can also.