Opening address by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Law, Ms Sim Ann, at the SLA Spatial Challenge 2012 Exhibition and Award Ceremony
27 Jul 2012 Posted in Speeches
Students, teachers, principals,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. I am very pleased to join you today for the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) Spatial Challenge 2012 exhibition and award ceremony.
Global recognition of Geospatial Information and Technology (GIT)
Geospatial information and technology, or GIT in short, has been recognised globally as an important tool for national development. The United Nations (UN) Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) initiative kicked off in 2011 after the UN Economic and Social Council passed a resolution, which was aimed at setting the broad direction and attaining global coordination in the development and use of GIT. Among other things, the UN-GGIM identified the need for a holistic geospatial capacity-building strategy.
This means that the right infrastructure, institutions and knowledge base are necessary for advancing geospatial capabilities. Issues such as climate change, disaster management and population growth, can then be more effectively managed with the adept use of GIT.
For instance, in the United States, GIT has been used to study the effects of rising sea levels due to global warming on human and animal populations. In Mexico, a GIT application has been developed to assess the vulnerability of buildings in the event of emergencies such as fires, earthquakes or landslides. In Australia, as part of its efforts to make Newcastle a ‘smart city’, the government is investing in a Smart Grid, Smart City project to improve the energy efficiency of the city’s electric power grids. Smart Grid uses GIT to manage the data relayed by a system of smart meters between the consumer and the electricity provider. Clearly, there is a lot of potential in GIT.
Geospatial capacity building initiatives in Singapore
Against this international backdrop of growing emphasis on GIT, Singapore, too, intends to build our geospatial capacity. SLA launched OneMap two years ago to provide a platform where businesses and individuals can leverage public spatial information to build new applications and services. The recently concluded OneMap Challenge was part of our efforts to promote the use of GIT in Singapore, and the Challenge saw a wide range of creative geospatial applications and services developed.
This year, SLA is stepping up its educational outreach effort to develop competency and knowledge in GIT amongst students. For example, SLA and the Ministry of Education (MOE) are exploring the development of a web-based application for A-level Geography students. Leveraging existing GIT infrastructure such as OneMap, it could provide the necessary tools, functions and data for students to work on geospatial problems, assignments and projects. It could also incorporate an education community module to facilitate discussions on topical geography issues among students and teachers. With these features, the application will serve as a learning platform to boost the students’ geospatial knowledge and skills.
SLA is also formulating a Geospatial Competency Framework in consultation with academic, industry and public agency partners. This framework will articulate the core geospatial competencies and skill sets that a geospatial professional should possess. Academic institutions such as polytechnics can use the framework to design relevant geospatial courses to meet industry demands.
Spatial Challenge 2012
Besides building geospatial capacity, SLA recognises the importance of raising awareness of GIT at an early age. Today’s Spatial Challenge, for example, is an ideal platform for nurturing interest in this field amongst our youths.
The Spatial Challenge has come a long way. What started as a competition for Pre-University students in 2008 has now expanded to include tertiary students. Participants now compete in not just geospatial analysis, but in developing geospatial applications as well.
Now into its fifth year, the Spatial Challenge aims to increase the awareness of GIT in schools, and encourage innovative use of GIT in Singapore. SLA is honoured that this year’s Challenge has received the endorsement of the UN-GGIM, reflecting the international recognition of and support for Singapore’s efforts in geospatial capacity building.
Today, about 120 students from 18 educational institutions are gathered here with their projects. I am delighted to see the wide range of innovative projects which the students have presented. The projects exemplify the students’ creative and effective use of GIT to design applications that will solve real world problems. For instance, Team Edify from Nanyang Polytechnic created a web-based application for the mobility-impaired to locate disabled-friendly facilities and get to their destinations more easily. Team Land Rovers from Raffles Junior College used GIT to analyse the location and condition of recycling bins in Toa Payoh to identify existing bins that ought to be relocated to better locations to improve their usage.
Many other interesting topics have also been explored in this year’s Challenge, such as identifying potential sites for underground development in Singapore and optimising Singapore’s public transport system with GIT. These projects are a testament to the creativity and hard work demonstrated by our student participants.
- In closing, I would like to thank our sponsors and partners:
- ESRI Singapore
- GPS Lands
- East Gear
- NIIT Technologies
- Quantum Inventions
BCA, LTA, NEA, NParks and URA
as well as all school principals and teachers for making this event a resounding success.
To all participants, I hope you have enjoyed this meaningful learning journey, and gained new insights into how real world problems can be solved through the use of geospatial analysis and tools. I hope that you will share these experiences with your peers and inspire them to explore the exciting possibilities presented by the world of GIT
- Thank you.
Last updated on 25 Nov 2012