Singapore outlines maritime, land initiatives in new Geospatial Master Plan

Spearheaded by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the newly launched Singapore Geospatial Master Plan (2024 – 2033) will enable geospatial-enabled innovations to benefit more segments of society, while addressing the complex challenges Singapore faces as an island-nation. 

Building on the first masterplan, this second iteration integrates land and marine spatial data development and charts the trajectory of national geospatial development for the next decade across terrestrial and maritime domains, towards the vision of Singapore as “A Leading Global Geospatial Hub”.

At the Geo Connect Asia 2024 opening ceremony today, SLA and MPA unveiled several new strategic partnerships and key initiatives to expand the mainstream use of geospatial technology to benefit more citizens, enhance quality of lives and strengthen Singapore’s geospatial capabilities. 

The new partnerships and initiatives by SLA and MPA were announced by Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law, who was the Guest-of-Honor at the event.

Mainstreaming geospatial

Pioneering preventive healthcare for a healthier future

Mainstreaming geospatial can bring tangible benefits into our everyday lives, particularly in sectors such as social and healthcare. Through close collaborations with key partners in these sectors, geospatial tools and solutions can support national programs such as HealthierSG and the Enabling Master Plan 2030.

Today, Minister Tong witnessed the signing ceremonies for two SLA collaborations – with SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH) to co-develop a living asset map portal tailored for social prescribing, and with the Ministry of Health Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT) to expand the Digital Local Connect (DLC) initiative to benefit more neighborhoods. 

Barrier-free access routing function to promote inclusivity

Through collaborations with partners like SG Enable, SLA is making strides in mapping pathways towards a more inclusive society. SLA launched the barrier-free access routing function on OneMap today, as an additional mode of wayfinding, in support of the Enabling Master Plan 2030. This routing function will be initially available for selected areas and will be expanded over time. 

Deepening Singapore’s geospatial capabilities

Leveraging synergies between geospatial and generative AI

Beyond extending the benefits of geospatial to a wider community, SLA is committed to deepening our core geospatial capabilities to keep pace with technological advancements and support the increasing demand for high quality geospatial data.

Following the successful launch of the SLA OneMap GPT Challenge, supported by IMDA, in October 2023 to explore ways to incorporate AI technologies for innovative solutions on OneMap, two winning teams revealed their prototypes at the opening event today. They were chosen out of 41 entries, from companies, academia and individual participants. 

The prototypes demonstrate the potential of integrating geospatial and generative AI technologies to develop interactive and smart solutions to offer users greater convenience and personalized map-based services. As one of the first in the world, and the first of its kind in Singapore, the prototypes showcase how the synergistic combination of artificial intelligence, location information and map visualization can open limitless potential across industries. 

Using marine data to support climate change protection and adaptation planning

GeoSpace-Sea is an initiative by MPA to integrate and provide access to authoritative and consolidated marine and coastal geospatial data. The Centre for Climate Research Singapore, operating under the National Environment Agency (NEA), utilizes tidal data from GeoSpace-Sea to analyze rising sea levels in Singapore. This includes an assessment of extreme sea levels as part of the National Sea Level Program, contributing to the production of accurate sea level projections to support climate change adaptation plans. 

GeoSpace-Sea data is also used in the development of PUB’s Coastal-Inland Flood Model and analyzes on the adequacy of coastal protection measures.

Driving geospatial innovations across maritime domains

MPA is building capabilities across various domains to establish comprehensive situational awareness of its operating environment to support operations planning and incident management.

In the subsea domain, MPA is collaborating with BeeX, a Singapore-based deep-tech engineering company, to map and provide a comprehensive view of the subsea environment. With the increasing use of underwater drones, the ability to better visualize the subsea environment will enable safe navigation and active management of underwater drone operations, such as seabed infrastructure and underwater inspections.

In the sea domain, MPA’s Active Anchorage Management System will utilize artificial intelligence and data from GeoSpace-Sea to allocate and optimize the use of limited anchorage space for vessel anchoring. This is a capability that will be increasingly important to ensure safety as the volume of vessels arriving at the Port of Singapore grows.

Progressing towards a leading global geospatial hub

Singapore is represented in various key platforms at the United Nations (UN) to steer the development and application of geospatial data to help address global climate issues and support nations’ development. Key positions held include the Co-chair of the UN Expert Group on Land Administration & Management, Vice-President for the Regional Committee of UN Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), and Co-chair of the UN-GGIM Working Group on Marine Geospatial Information.

Colin Low, Chief Executive of SLA said: “As the national geospatial and mapping agency of Singapore, SLA plays an active role in spearheading national geospatial development. This second Singapore Geospatial Master Plan reflects our commitment to integrate and drive geospatial innovation in both the maritime and terrestrial domains. 

“In land-scarce Singapore, we continue to overcome our urban challenges through the innovative use of geospatial technology and data, focusing our efforts on the mainstreaming and deepening of our geospatial capabilities to benefit end users, and enable a smarter, safer, and more sustainable Singapore. SLA is pleased to further our collaboration with MPA to propel Singapore to be a leading global geospatial hub.”

Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive of MPA said: “Having a more comprehensive geospatial awareness across the land and sea domains offers potential to optimize the use of our limited land and sea space, and helps develop new models to support maritime services, such as the bunkering of new marine fuels, as well as long-term coastal planning efforts. MPA looks forward to working with SLA to grow our geospatial capabilities as we upskill maritime professionals and hydrographers to co-develop new products and services with industry.”

Photo credit: SLA. Colin Low, Chief Executive of SLA (right), and Associate Professor Gan Wee Hoe, Chief Executive Officer of SingHealth Community Hospitals (left), signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a Living Asset Map Portal for social prescribing. The signing was witnessed by Edwin Tong (center), Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law.

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