Technology to help with better upkeep of green areas

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (centre) with Singapore Land Authority (SLA) officials during her visit to SLA at Revenue House on Oct 8, 2015.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (centre) with Singapore Land Authority (SLA) officials during her visit to SLA at Revenue House on Oct 8, 2015.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - No green patch in developed areas of this island will be left untended, thanks to technology.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA), which plays a key role in developing Singapore's geospatial data, is lending its high-tech mapping know-how to help agencies here better maintain public greenery, the Ministry of National Development said yesterday.

This update comes some months after the National Parks Board (NParks), which the ministry oversees, in June became the central agency for public greenery maintenance, an area previously handled by different agencies, depending on who owns the land.

The ministry was giving an update on the progress made in better coordinating government responses to municipal problems under the Municipal Services Office (MSO) which was formed last year to break down silos among agencies here and ensure issues on the ground are looked after more seamlessly.

Since then, the MSO has worked with NParks, SLA, the Public Utilities Board and the Housing Board to create a map that clearly lays out the greenery maintenance areas around the island, helping identify any gaps or overlaps in maintenance such as grass that needs to be trimmed.

NParks can also tap on this map to better plan their maintenance schedules and to estimate the number and location of trees they need to maintain.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who oversees the MSO, visited the SLA on Thursday and told reporters greater use of technology in managing these municipal issues will help the government boost its productivity and improve its service delivery.

Better sharing of information will also help agencies work together more effectively.

"Municipal service officers would like to play this role of not just breaking down the silos in operations, but also the silos in information sharing and, more importantly, in capability building," Ms Fu said.

"What we are learning from one agency's providing the backbone of mapping, we hope that other agencies will come on board, allowing us to then spread the technology adoption to many more agencies that are also involved in providing public service," she added.