Speech by Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong at Geo Connect Asia 2022
1 June 2022 Posted in [Speeches]
His Excellency Ngy Chanphal, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior, Cambodia
Mr Chia Ngiang Hong, President of Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS)
Mr Christopher McCuin Managing Director, Montgomery Events Asia
Rupert Owen Co-founder, Geo Connect Asia
Ladies and Gentlemen
- It is my great pleasure to join you this morning at Geo Connect Asia 2022 today and to see you face to face.
- It is great to see so many attendees here in person.
Geospatial Development is a Key Driver of Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative
- Geo Connect Asia is Southeast Asia’s flagship geospatial and location intelligence event.
- The theme of this year’s conference is imagination meets reality: placing geospatial solutions at the heart of decision-making.
- In many ways, geospatial solutions have already been a part of our lives. They have permeated our everyday decision-making in so many ways. For example, most of us probably put geospatial solutions to work in the background of our many apps on our mobile phones when making decisions on how to arrive at the conference venue today.
- Here in Singapore, the Government is committed to promoting geospatial development. Geospatial development is an important dimension of our Smart Nation initiative. We have developed a Geospatial Masterplan to guide the development and adoption of geospatial solutions.
In the public sector, we have been using geospatial solutions to make better decisions, helping to create impact not just in the commercial world, but also making a visible difference on the social sector and making a visible impact on social value.
a) Take healthcare for example, we are using geospatial data in tandem with health information, population demographics and social data.
i. This allows us to better plan the locations and sites of healthcare and social service facilities, optimise the deployment of staff and volunteers, and of course improve health outcomes.
ii. Geospatial solutions have also allowed us to monitor and quickly respond to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases, such as with what we have been experiencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, geospatial technology was used in Singapore to identify COVID-19 hotspots, or gatherings of COVID-19 super spreaders as the term was commonly used 18 months ago, to ringfence clusters and curb further transmission, through measures such as swabbing operations to identify individuals with increased risk of exposure and quickly isolating them.
b) We have also developed the OneMap and OneMap3D platforms, which is the authoritative national map of Singapore. Those who have yet to get it, I urge you to download and take a look at it.
i. Many agencies have tapped on the OneMap and OneMap3D platforms to develop useful services which allow the public to make informed day-to-day decisions.
ii. Public agencies have developed more than 110 services for the public through OneMap, including for education, healthcare, transport and real estate purposes, just to name a few.
iii. One example that I have used quite a lot is NParks’ Explore a Route mobile app. The service is supported by Augmented Reality (AR). It creates a curated walking/jogging/hiking experience for users across Singapore’s parks and parks connectors and also provides, virtually, information on points of interests such as nearby attractions and playgrounds, allowing users to plan their visits ahead of time, based on what they like to see or do in their areas of interest.
iv. LTA’s OneMotoring platform is another such service. It delivers an interactive map that provides real-time road conditions and traffic alerts, such as road works, vehicle breakdowns and avoid ERP gantries to all its users. This allows users to plan their transport routes and take advantage of road situations in real time to save time and optimise resources.
- Beyond public sector projects, we can explore close collaboration between the public sector, industry and academia, to further develop geospatial solutions.
To foster such collaborations, we have created GeoWorks, the Singapore Geospatial Industry Centre.
a) GeoWorks brings together more than 40 multinational corporations (MNCs), start-ups and scale-ups, many of which are present at GEO Connect today in the fields of big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and satellite imagery.
b) One of the companies that has joined the GeoWorks community is Volocopter, an urban air mobility start-up that offers a range of services including passenger air taxis and heavy lift cargo drones. Volocopter uses geospatial technology to validate and optimise potential routes, as well as to analyse how to integrate their air taxi services into the existing urban transport infrastructure in high-density cities like Singapore.
- Beyond Geoworks, we are also building partnerships with the industry to develop greater value for the public. For example, the Singapore Land Authority and Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) have recently agreed to work towards building greater awareness and application of geospatial data - such technology and standards are highly relevant in the real estate industry. This will help all parties to come together to think about and co-develop solutions to address challenges faced in the industry and improve productivity, resilience and sustainability of real estate and related businesses.
Opportunities for Regional & Global Collaboration
- Indeed, I believe we can unlock even greater value in the use of geospatial technology. We can do so if we collaborate with partners beyond our shores. And this is one of the key purposes of having conferences like the Geo Connect we have today.
Regionally, we can also work closely with our ASEAN partners to drive adoption of geospatial technologies and build up the talent pool to support the needs of tomorrow. I believe that we can do this and consider two ways to do so:
a) First, Singapore can serve as a GeoHub for the region.
i. I believe we are well placed to do this, with our established infrastructure and conducive business environment.
ii. With the appropriate modifications, our adaptable urban geospatial solutions can also be scaled and introduced in many other areas in this region.
iii. Companies can thus take advantage of the hospitable conditions here, tap on our adaptable solutions and reach out to the larger regional market to explore new and emerging opportunities.
b) Second, we can also continue our efforts to build a strong core of geospatial professionals in the region. As this technology develops, the more we are able to anchor thought leadership, have dialogues and discussions, connect partners, see things in a different perspective with a different lens, the stronger and quicker it will be to develop the technology.
i. One current effort is the Regional Geospatial Youth Forum, which through a series of workshops and seminars, generates and build geospatial interest, awareness, and create a vibrant community among young professionals and students.
ii. Another is the ASEAN Geospatial Challenge, where students leverage on geospatial technology and information to address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The winners of the ASEAN Geospatial Challenge will be recognised at an appreciation session tomorrow as part of this conference. And I am heartened to see the enthusiasm and innovation these participants have displayed, and many of these projects have the potential to be transformative. An idea or an experiment today may become the reality of tomorrow. For example, one of the winning entries uses remote sensing and geospatial mapping to identify locations where marine debris collects, so that we can recycle the waste into everyday products.
- At the global level as well, we are also playing an active role to promote the use of geospatial information and technology.
Singapore has hosted several international conferences, which are important to ensure that experts and administrators around the world stay connected and learn from one another, as I mentioned earlier.
a) This includes the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM)’s International Seminars on ‘Effective and Innovative Marine Geospatial Information Management’ as well as “Effective Land Administration”.
i. These conferences explored the promotion and adoption of geospatial technologies in various fields and the benefits to society, the environment and certainly to the economy.
ii. They also provided the opportunity for its member countries to share experiences as they were adopting geospatial technologies and using geospatial information to find their own solutions to their own national and global challenges.
- Finally, as I conclude, let me just say that the future of geospatial technologies and solutions is constantly evolving, and I think that is one thing we can agree on. The technologies and the learnings of today have to be adapted, and in some ways recycled and repurposed so that they become the solutions of tomorrow. We should always be on the lookout for new opportunities and learn from each other at such forums, so that we can remain ahead of the curve.
- I have always taken the view that there is really no monopoly on good ideas. And certainly in a room like this, where so many of you are business leaders and thought leaders in your own fields. The energy and the vibe that you can share as you walk around and socialise with each other will be something that will lend to a much richer geospatial industry of tomorrow.
- On this note, I wish all of you a productive conference and hope you can connect in person, build new relations and reconnect with old ones, and leave this conference and Singapore with extra connections for tomorrow.
- Thank you very much.
Last updated on 1 June 2022