Speech by Calvin Phua, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Law, at UN GGIM International Seminar
17 May 2022 Posted in [Speeches]
Mr Kees de Zeeuw, Co-Chair, UN Expert Group on Land Administration and Management
Ladies and gentlemen
- Good morning.
- This is the first time the United Nations initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) international seminar is held in Singapore. It’s a pleasure to be here with you all. Let me also extend a warm welcome to our friends and colleagues who have joined us from overseas.
Since its formation in July 2011, the UN-GGIM has played a key role in the development of global geospatial information, and promoting the use of geospatial information to address national and global challenges.
a) These efforts have benefitted many nations around the world.
b) In particular, this seminar has served as a useful platform for the exchange of ideas and sharing of experience and practice, in the field of land administration and management.
c) Now in the video you saw earlier, they asked you a question whether you thought we are small - a small city. Colin has just shared that we are quite small, about 730 square kilometres, with a very high population density of about 7,500 people per square kilometres. And with that, we have many competing needs for the use of the limited land we have.
- So it is quite vital that we make good use of the limited land that we have, and it’s quite apt that the theme of today’s seminar is effective land administration.
Let me give you a sense of how we try to make good use of our land. We do it in two ways. The first is by adopting a long-term and integrated planning approach.
a) This includes the preparation and regular review of the Long-Term plan that will guide Singapore’s development over 40-50 years.
b) This plan then ensures that there is sufficient land to meet the needs of long-term population and economic growth, and provide a quality living environment.
c) The broad, long-term strategies in the Long-Term plan are then translated into detailed plans for implementation over the next 10 to 15 years.
This long-term, integrated planning approach is complemented and supported by a sound land administration and management system, which has a few key features, including:
a) One, a robust and efficient registration and land surveying system, which safeguards property rights, provides certainty and clarity of ownership, and allows transactions to be carried out efficiently and accurately. Comprehensive land information is also made available to serve the needs of the public and the industry.
b) Two, an equitable land taxation and pricing framework, that maximises the use of our state land assets, to meet changing socio-economic needs.
c) And three, a fair and efficient land acquisition framework, which allows private land to be acquired to facilitate public projects.
Building a future ready land administration regime
- As a country’s needs constantly evolve and change, it is important for land administration regimes to be agile and flexible. I am conscious that I am in the presence of many experts in this area, but in the spirit of learning and sharing, let me offer a few suggestions on how we can do them.
First, land administrators have to constantly seek out opportunities to make efficient use of space in novel ways, and identify the means to map out and administer new grounds.
a) In our context, to overcome our land resource constraint, as Colin has shared earlier, we had to look into using underground spaces more extensively.
b) This goes beyond the more traditional uses of building railways and roads underground. We are expanding the potential uses, such as underground pedestrian networks, deep utility tunnels and utility plants, as well as other deep underground storage facilities, sometimes in the heart of urban areas.
c) To guide the planning and management of underground spaces, we have launched the Special Detailed and Control Plan to guide and shape how underground space could be developed and used.
Secondly, administrators should leverage technology to transform processes.
a) I just talked about using underground space. In underground surveying for example,
i. The introduction of new geomatics technology used for underground surveying and mapping, such as the Ground Penetrating Radar, has allowed for visual signatures to be seen of things buried in the substrates without the need to dig up or dig into them.
ii. There are also Augmented Reality devices that superimpose digital data of underground cables, pipes and structures onto the physical ground. These enable users to know exactly what is beneath them without the need for intrusive surveys.
iii. These new technologies allow us to better map and survey our underground spaces, facilitating more efficient and effective use of underground space.
b) In land surveying, we have also started using laser scanners that allow millions of data points in vast point clouds to be captured accurately and efficiently. Colin has just showed you one example. This is a huge evolution in the field that used to rely mainly on manual methods and equipment such as stretched out chains and measuring tape.
c) We have also seen the introduction of advanced geomatics equipment and devices that enable highly effective and efficient data capturing.
i. Mobile and terrestrial laser scanners, supplemented by geodetic total stations, allow the creation of digital representations of ground truths or what is commonly known as digital twins.
ii. The data precision and accuracy are made possible by referencing the data to Singapore’s reference frame via the use of correction data from the Singapore Satellite Positioning Reference Network operated by the Singapore Land Authority.
Finally, it is important for land administrators from around the world to stay connected and learn from one another.
a) Forums like this provide the opportunity for representatives to learn from each other’s experiences. In particular, it would be useful to learn how the various countries have been implementing the Framework for Effective Land Administration.
b) I understand that you will also have the chance to learn about the latest technologies for geospatial and national mapping, as well as innovations in land administrative frameworks.
c) Most importantly, while we have many ways to meet online, nothing beats getting together and meeting each other in person and sharing our views and exchanging our experiences
- In closing, I wish to thank the UN-GGIM Secretariat and all of our partners who helped make this seminar possible.
- I wish you a fruitful seminar, and for our friends who have come from overseas, a very pleasant stay in Singapore.
Last updated on 17 May 2022