Why Singapore is digitalising its green data
The city is also testing lightweight drones to better maintain and inspect trees
Singapore is set to become the first country to 3D map its whole land mass. Although Melbourne, New York City and others are taking similar action, the city-state will become the first country to do so.
To better manage and more efficiently maintain its green spacesâ"at the same time improving urban planning and land useâ"the âCity in a Gardenâ began to digitalise its data four years ago, part of which includes 3D mapping of trees.
Named as the worldâs greenest city by MIT-Senseable City Labs last year, the project continues a tree and green-focused policy that Singapore began when the former Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, started a tree planting campaign that has helped the city now count six million treesâ"including two million in urban areas.
Using LiDAR, a laser surveying method which scans the trees, the National Parks Board can then identify and extract the tree data and create models.
âWe manage about 15,500 hectares,â explained Tan Chong Lee, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, National Parks Board. âA lot of the data was previously used in a very bespoke manner, with each sector managing their own data. It was not really shared.â
Since then, the board has worked with GovTechâ"the agency in charge of digitally transforming government departmentsâ"to consolidate this data into a common platform, called MAVEN. Park officials have access to this on their smartphones and computers and includes a geospatial data base, satellite imageries, and data exchange standards. The public can also report tree issues through the app and website, trees.sg.
âNow, this platform allows each sector to share with each other, with other government agencies as well as the public,â added Tan. âWe can identify who is in charge of a particular area.â
Key reasons for moving to digitalisation include a greater need to manage cost of service delivery and to open up new opportunities through digital technologies. The 3D inventory began in 2016 and is set to be complete by next year. It will also help NParks study tree behaviour under extreme conditions, like wind and rain.
With so many trees close to busy roads and streetscapes, Tan takes seriously his responsibility of maintaining healthy trees, with data helping ensure these safety efforts.
New approaches to emerge include more accurate lawn cutting using laser technology, robot lawn mowers, and telescopic video and special light weight drones to inspect trees.
âWe are now testing lightweight drones that can actually fly around the tree and inspect it, and can fly within the tree top,â said Tan. âWith the camera and video it allows us to look more closely.â
This has saved the city considerable time and resources, as in the past a team member would have to climb up the tree and manually inspect it.
âWithin a matter of minutes we can now take a visual and identify defects in the tree,â said Tan.
He added that the digitalisation plan is âall part of nurturing a biophilic community, by establishing a virtuous cycle between the flourishing of our green spaces and the enhancement of civic ownershipâ.
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Login RegisterSource: Google News Singapore | Netizen 24 Singapore