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Royal Thai Survey Department

Special branch of the Royal Thai Army that conducts land and aerial survey, geodesy and geophysics works in Thailand. The headquarters of the Survey Department (fig) are housed in the building complex adjacent to the administrative building of the Ministry of Defence (fig.), in the back of the Saranrom Palace (fig.), where previously the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (fig.) was located. Map surveying in Thailand began in 1875 as the Mapping Division, during the reign of King Rama V, initially to chart telegraphy lines and map the coast. In 1882, the Thai Survey School was established, with initial recruits coming from the Royal Guard (fig.). On 3 September 1885, a royal decree separated the surveyors from the Royal Guard and created the Royal Survey Department. In the first half of the 20th century, a few one-colour sets of Siamese and Thai postage stamps where produced with the printing press of the Royal Thai Survey Department. Besides the often poor printing and paper quality of that time, the department also produced some misprints (fig.), which over time have become very rare and thus valuable sought-after collector's items for philatelists. See MAP.