Singapore Land Authority working on platform to help start-ups that tap location-based data grow

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) is working on a collaborative platform called GeoWorks that aims to bring together geospatial companies, start-ups and users.

This was announced on Thursday (Oct 12) by Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam at the OneMap Ideaworks awards ceremony, which was held at the atrium of HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.

Said Mr Shanmugam: "The aim (of GeoWorks) is to help local start-ups with a geospatial focus, to bring them together with their potential partners to help them grow."

Geospatial technology involves the organisation of large amounts of locational data from different domains for the creation of services and decision-making.

"Geospatial technology is going to be one of the most important technologies to underpin, to provide a platform for, the Smart Nation initiatives," said Mr Shanmugam.

Mr Shanmugam presented awards to the winners of the OneMap Ideaworks challenge, which kicked off in July in conjunction with the unveiling of a mobile app version of SLA's integrated map system OneMap. The map system makes location-based information and services available to the public for free.

The teams used OneMap as well as open geospatial data to come up with prototypes of apps to overcome daily problems faced by communities, such as those related to social services and the environment.

These problems were put forth by organisations including the National Heritage Board and Singapore Management University, as well as the public.

Twenty-two teams took part in the competition - 12 in the school category and 10 in the open category.

Final-year Singapore Institute of Technology undergraduate Lim Xing Yi clinched first prize in the school category with his Web app WhereMyJob. The app places job listings on a map to help users visualise job availability across different locations.

"This app can, for example, help somebody looking for an F&B or retail job to find restaurants or shopping malls near their homes. Having a nearer work location would mean the employer pays less reimbursement for transport, and the employee enjoys better work-life balance as he spends less time travelling," said the 30-year-old, who studies information and communications technology.

In the open category, mobile app My Smart Kampong-A Punggol Community Experience won first place. The app allows residents in Punggol to identify points of interest and search for interest groups they can join in their neighbourhood.

Each winning team won $3,000 in cash and $5,000 worth of Amazon Web Services credits.

The three judges on the final judging panel were Dr Chong Yoke Sin, chief of StarHub's enterprise business group; Mr Loh Lik Peng, founder and owner of Unlisted Collection, an umbrella brand of boutique hotel properties and restaurants; and Ms Margaret Goh, former group managing director at GuocoLand.