Singapore

Centre for geospatial start-ups opens

From commercial drones delivering medical supplies to hospitals and packages to homes, to an app that connects people living in the same neighbourhood so they can carpool on-demand, maps infused with data promise a range of possibilities.

Such geospatial information is an area the Government wants to see greater use of to bring about smarter living in the city. These maps could include the flight paths of drones, and the location of tall buildings to avoid a collision, or the addresses of students in the same school so their parents can form carpools.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) yesterday launched an industry centre dubbed GeoWorks, where promising geospatial technology start-ups from around the world can aggregate and find deployment opportunities here.

Located at the PSA Building at Alexandra Road, the 15,000 sq ft facility houses 22 of these start-ups, which the SLA hopes can solve urban logistics problems like overcrowding on roads.

"Geospatial technology generates value for the economy... the logistics and transport sectors use it significantly," said Mr Edwin Tong, Senior Minister of State for Law and Health, at the launch.

GeoWorks is an initiative under the five-year Singapore Geospatial Master Plan co-developed with the Government Technology Agency, which is behind public sector tech transformation here.

The masterplan was released in July with strategies to push the envelope in this space to help Singapore thrive in the future digital economy.

Forerunners in geospatial technology use in the private sector include ride-hailing app Grab. Online grocer RedMart also uses smart mapping information to optimise delivery routes.

Examples in the public sector include the myResponder app, which calls qualified volunteers to suspected heart-attack cases until emergency services arrive.

The 22 geospatial start-ups in GeoWorks include drone flight management software companies Garuda Robotics, AirMap and Precision Autonomy.

More developments can be expected when Virtual Singapore, the digital map of the country rendered in virtual reality and based on real-time dynamic data, is launched by the end of this year.

Technology