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Map tool to help NParks manage green spaces better

SINGAPORE — Armed with a map that includes data on the number of trees in a given area and their heights, the National Parks Board (NParks), which is now in charge of maintaining public greenery, can more easily go about their task.

Photo: Ministry of National Development

Photo: Ministry of National Development

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SINGAPORE — Armed with a map that includes data on the number of trees in a given area and their heights, the National Parks Board (NParks), which is now in charge of maintaining public greenery, can more easily go about their task. 

Created using data from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and other government agencies, the map can, for example, help the agency prioritise maintenance for specific trees, such as those at risk of toppling during storms.

With this map, NParks is able to coordinate maintenance schedules, especially for nearby plots of land, as well as identify gaps and overlaps in maintenance, said the Ministry of National Development (MND) today (Oct 8).

The SLA’s geospatial mapping technology is something the Municipal Services Office (MSO) is planning to bring to other government agencies, to improve delivery of municipal services.

Identifying green spaces is one of the several layers of data on a three-dimensional (3D) masterplan map that the SLA is working on. As part of an island-wide 3D mapping process, the SLA plans to scan roads and geo-tag roadside objects such as lamp posts, bus stops and taxi stands.

Speaking to reporters in a media briefing on such efforts today, Mr Lewis Wu, senior deputy director of SLA’s geospatial division, said geo-tagging such physical markers would be useful to improve agencies’ responses to municipal issues reported through apps like OneService. 

For example, if a dead animal is found in an area with no buildings or distinct markers nearby, the public would be able to refer to nearby lamp post numbers or bus stops to help agency officers pinpoint the location, he said. 

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who oversees MSO, said the public will be able to see quicker agency response with the greenery maintenance map used by NParks, and better coordination of maintenance.

Ms Fu, who was visiting the SLA, also said MSO hopes to share geo-tagging technology with other agencies where they can share information more freely and collaborate better, to be more responsive to the public and to resolve issues more productively.

The SLA also provided updates on its island-wide 3D mapping project, which will be part of Virtual Singapore — a Smart Nation initiative announced last year to build a realistic representation of physical Singapore to support agencies’ modelling, analysis and policy planning. 

The first phase of the project to capture data using an airborne camera laser scanner is almost complete and has allowed the SLA to create terrain models, 3D building models and photo maps, said Dr Victor Khoo, deputy director of land survey division at the SLA. 

The information has also helped the agency maintain state land by detecting illegal structures in the area and has more recently been used to help NParks estimate the number and location of trees it has to maintain.

The second phase of using a mobile laser scanner on a car to scan roads and roadside objects started two months ago. When completed at the end of next year, the SLA will have a complete dataset of 3D objects in Singapore.

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