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Opening address by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, at the OneMap IdeaWorks! exhibition and award ceremony

Posted in Speeches

SLA Chairman, Mr Lim Sim Seng,


Ladies and Gentlemen,


1.                     Thank you for coming here today and taking part in this event and helping us make it a success.


2.                     It’s a tremendous effort by SLA and our partners to have this number of contestants, people here taking part; and making it vibrant.


3.                     We wanted this event to be an open platform, and we want people to develop applications that are going to help our people, and to help Singapore.




4.                     For Singapore, we need to constantly innovate. That is why we have the Smart Nation Initiative; it’s a big idea but it’s really in essence to get us future-ready.


5.                     The Smart Nation initiative is not about being technologically advanced for technology’s sake. It is about bringing a better quality of life for people, making their lives easier, and creating more job opportunities for each and every citizen.



6.                     In that context, geospatial technology is going to be one of the important technologies which underpins and provides a platform for the Smart Nation initiative. Its common products are maps, satellite imagery, and global positioning systems.


7.                     Geospatial technology is especially useful in organizing large amount of locational data from different domains; bringing them together; and making them valuable for the creation of services and decision-making – a variety of day-to-day services for people.


8.                     It is an essential technology used by international institutions, governments, and private sector companies.


9.                     In today’s world, mobile applications based on Geospatial technology have begun to take off in a big way. They are transforming lives and opening up new possibilities, shaping the way people live, work, and play.


10.                  We are all familiar with apps like Deliveroo and Food Panda. They have revolutionised the F&B industry. People’s lives have changed as a result, as they can expand their food options, without leaving their homes.


11.             The Government has also been using geospatial technology, to improve the way we deliver services to the people.


a.    One example is the myResponder app, used by SCDF. It alerts nearby volunteers, people who have signed up, to people who need help in the neighbourhood.

b.    Another example is the OneService app. It allows any citizen to locate, pinpoint and identify, a municipal service that is offered and give feedback as well; and that allows public agencies to respond much faster.






12.             SLA has been driving the development of geospatial technology, since the 1990s, through the Land Data Hub. 


13.                  In 2008, we formed a partnership with GovTech; as we wanted to speed up the development of geospatial technology.


14.                  Now, SLA is working on two key projects:


a.    GeoWorks, and

b.    the new OneMap.




15.             GeoWorks is a collaborative space and platform. It hopes to bring together geospatial companies, start-ups and users into one vibrant space and create ideas together.


16.             Its aim is to help local start-ups with geospatial focus; to bring them together with their potential partners and help them grow.


The new OneMap


17.                  The OneMap platform was launched in 2010. Since then, there have been over 400 million page views and services used. People have used it for locating childcare centres, and checking land ownership and property prices.


18.                  The new OneMap is a brand new platform, fully built in-house, using the latest open-source geospatial technologies. It is faster, it’s got more information, and it is mobile-centric. It makes possible the provision of many more services.


19.                  For example, if you want to calculate the route from point A to point B and you want to identify a sheltered route all the way, it helps you do that.


20.                  The Application Programming Interfaces provided by the new OneMap are also open freely to anyone for use, to create apps and services.


21.                   One example is the local startup Overdrive, which has developed an app, based on OneMap. It works in tandem with school bus companies. The child gets a Bluetooth, the bus is enabled to connect, so the parents know what time their child is in the bus, and when he or she gets up, and when he or she gets dropped off. So as a parent, you can know exactly when something happens.


22.                  Overdrive is also doing something with NTU to tell you exactly what time the different buses are coming and where the buses are. The technology is available and we can potentially use it across the board for all public transport.


23.                  We will continue to play our part in the Smart Nation Initiative, and encourage the use of this technology.




24.                  The OneMap Ideaworks! event is part of a campaign which has sought to bring together technologists, data scientists, start-ups and community organisations; to put them together, and develop solutions that work for each other.


25.                  This year, OneMap Ideaworks! received more than 70 challenge statements put forward by over 30 community and public agency partners.


26.                  They touch on a variety of aspects: social services, environment, health, transport, and heritage.


27.             One app has been developed to support the elderly, to get better care through movement tracking, so that people can know when the elderly person is moving around. One of the key concerns which an elderly person faces is falling down without others noticing – so the app immediately alerts the next-of-kin, who will know what’s happening.


28.                  I was at another booth earlier which is run by ITE students, who are working together with a community organisation. They have developed an app which identifies all the food places in specific locations.


29.                  These are all prototypes.  I hope that many of them will see actual application in due course.




30.                  I would like to end by thanking everyone for taking part in OneMap Ideaworks!.


31.                  We have got to move the society forward by becoming a nation that plugs into an international movement that is taking place. This is very important.  We do not want to be left behind.  


32.                  In fact, we should be ahead. If we are not ahead, we should at least be in line, and then try to get ahead. For a small place like Singapore, with a highly educated populace, we can actually be ahead of the curve.


33.          Congratulations to all participants and winners! And I would urge everyone to continue to walk this journey with us. Thank you!

Last updated on 12 Oct 2017