Singapore promotes geospatial development to drive Smart Nation initiative 

In his keynote speech at the Geo Connect Asia 2022 opening ceremony on June 1, Edwin Tong SC, Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law said that the government is committed to promoting geospatial development.

He said: “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.”

Taking an example from the healthcare sector, Tong said that geospatial solutions have allowed the government to monitor and quickly respond to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.  

He stated that “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.”

Beyond public sector projects, the government is exploring close collaboration between the public sector, industry and academia, to further develop geospatial solutions.  For example, to foster close collaboration, the government created GeoWorks, the Singapore Geospatial Industry Centre to bring together more than 40 multinational corporations, start-ups and scale-ups in the fields of big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and satellite imagery.

Regionally, Singapore is well-placed to drive adoption of geospatial technologies and build up the talent pool to support the needs of tomorrow. Tong believed it could be done in two ways.

“First, Singapore can serve as a GeoHub for the region.  I believe we are well placed to do this, with our established infrastructure and conducive business environment.  With the appropriate modifications, our adaptable urban geospatial solutions can also be scaled and introduced in many other areas in this region.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“Another is the ASEAN Geospatial Challenge, where students leverage on geospatial technology and information to address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).”

Tong added that “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.”

There is rapidly growing momentum towards a Geospatial 4.0 world, and the global community has seen the potential of geospatial solutions becoming more applicable in many fields and sectors. 

From urban planning and smart infrastructure to forestry management and the environment, geospatial technologies are revolutionizing the way we capture, analyze and present data to develop sustainable solutions. 

As of 2022, the global geospatial market is estimated to be worth US$452 billion, and is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.61% to reach an estimated US$681 billion by 2025.

Photo credit: Geo Connect Asia.  Edwin Tong SC, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law.

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