SINGAPORE: Food delivery apps, ride-hailing firms and drone-flight programming platforms all have one thing in common: They use geospatial technology, which deals with location-based data.
Firms that use such technology are now getting a leg up, as Southeast Asia’s first geospatial industry centre, GeoWorks, was launched in Singapore on Monday (Jul 16).
Developed by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), the 15,000 sq ft centre houses 22 international geotech start-ups, and aims to connect them with sectoral users and government agencies.
This is to match solution providers with companies facing problems, thus driving business growth.
Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong, who officiated at the launch, said that such technology is valuable both to businesses and the economy.
"It accelerates the growth of markets, it promotes the economy. Using geospatial services and technology, businesses learn to optimise processes and create innovation," he said.
The centre will also support the start-ups by providing open data compiled by the Government and expertise from more established companies.
One start-up that has benefitted from a collaboration within GeoWorks is United States drone management platform AirMap.
It requires information about the physical terrain of cities, which it has obtained using OneMap, a detailed map of Singapore.
"SLA actually has all that data and when we leverage the power of the OneMap platform, we’re able to integrate that data into our systems so we can perform those calculations to simulate what the environment will look like for drones," said Head of APAC Business Operations at AirMap Hon Chu.
Apart from giving geotech start-ups a boost, SLA said that GeoWorks is aiming to help boost business from the real estate, retail and logistics sectors.
More sectors will be targeted in the future.
The centre is one out of the 13 initiatives under the Singapore Geospatial Masterplan, which was released earlier this month.
The five-year plan aims to improve business processes, make people’s lives easier and enhance government policy-making using new technology.
Apart from GeoWorks, initiatives within the plan include the launch of Virtual Singapore, a 3D city model, which will be released at the end of this year.
According to Mr Ng Siau Yong, director of the geospatial and data department at SLA, Singapore’s geospatial industry is currently valued at about half a billion dollars.
This is a far cry from its US counterpart, which was valued at US$73 billion (S$99 billion) in 2012 and had an estimated multiplier effect of US$1.6 trillion in revenue.