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Singapore Government launches mapping tech for smart living

In a press release, GeoWorks, an industry centre to promote geospatial innovation and competencies, was officially launched on 16 July 2018 by Senior Minister of State for Law and Health, Mr Edwin Tong. GeoWorks aims to connect businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators to drive geospatial solutions for the promotion of business growth and opportunities in Singapore.

Geospatial information and technology has the potential to transform policy analysis, operations, and service delivery, accelerate the growth of industries and generate economic and social value for Singapore. Geospatial information and technology helps support numerous applications across different sectors and allows for real-time location-based services. For instance, geospatial information from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) is used in autonomous vehicle trials and development, drone flight path planning and even in remote sensing applications for day-to-day navigation and wayfinding.

“In the age of technological disruption, GeoWorks represents the Government’s commitment to enhance the use of geospatial information and technology to support digitalisation of our key industries, and to build up geospatial capabilities in support of Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative”, said Mr Tong.

GeoWorks was set up by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) in January 2018 as an initiative under the Singapore Geospatial Master Plan. SLA and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) have jointly developed the Geospatial Master Plan which sets out the vision, strategies and key initiatives to facilitate geospatial transformation and to pave the way towards a “Geospatial-Powered Singapore’. The aim of the Geospatial Master Plan is to leverage emerging technologies and to build geospatial competencies to address complex challenges and create opportunities. This is in line with the Digital Government Blueprint’s strategy to raise Whole-of-Government’s digital capabilities to pursue innovation, in support of Singapore’s Smart Nation drive.

“Geospatial information has the tremendous potential to transform services, streamline business processes and help companies gain competitive advantage with geospatial data analytics,” SLA Chief Executive, Tan Boon Khai said.

As an industry centre, GeoWorks will galvanise the geospatial industry by reaching out to geospatial businesses, entrepreneurs and users, supporting them with resources such as geospatial and government data, expertise and access to networks and opportunities. The ultimate objective is to facilitate the growth of a vibrant geospatial ecosystem, creating value through shared knowledge, expertise, and government data. The geospatial companies catalyse geospatial innovation and solutions; while the corporate and government end-users provide access to business opportunities. GeoWorks now hosts 22 GeoTech companies including ABJD, AirMap, NavInfo Data Tech and LDR Technology.

ABJD cofounder and Chief Engineer Hazrul A Jamari said, “We are grateful to be a part of the Geoworks community as we are able to tap on the expertise and resources of the OneMap team to build our next generation Delivery Management System (DMS) and Halalonclick app. With OneMap, we are able to get authoritative and updated addresses so that we deliver accurately.”

Ben Marcus, cofounder, and Chairman of AirMap said that AirMap will be partnering SLA to progress geospatial innovation in Singapore. "In our experiences around the world, we’ve found that collaboration with government and local stakeholders is key to achieving the full promise of drones and drone technology," he added.

Seventeen GeoPartners have also come onboard to support GeoWorks, including Amazon Web Services, Autodesk, and Esri. “Spatial digitalisation is essential to many industries as it underpins all efforts geared towards Singapore becoming a Smart Nation,” Thomas Pramotedham, CEO of Esri Singapore said.

To build up and sustain a geospatial ecosystem, regular challenges will be conducted at GeoWorks to encourage the ideation and development of innovative solutions to address challenge statements from user sectors, such as logistics, transport, and retail.

“Through GeoWorks, SLA will curate programmes and initiatives, including mentorships and linkages with key industry stakeholders, to seed business opportunities for geospatial start-ups, and jumpstart innovation in this pioneering field. Ultimately, we are looking into developing and uplifting skillsets and capabilities towards harnessing the potential of emerging technologies to address complex challenges and opportunities,” Mr Tan added.

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