This story was first published on March 1, 2013
Stall owners in the Beach Road Army Market are hoping that a high-definition virtual tour of the once popular complex will stir the interest of the young and bring the crowds back.
Business has been slow since the centre was shut for a two-month renovation last year, they said, and they are pleased that they will have a presence on the Web.
The tour will be launched on the National Heritage Board's (NHB) website today.
Few know that the 38-year-old market had re-opened in late November last year after it underwent the renovation, said shopkeeper Madam Lau Lian Hoe, 64, in Mandarin. "They still think the market has been shut down for good."
The Army Market, a one-stop destination for army supplies, is the first to feature in the NHB's new series - Walking Through Heritage.
The board's director of heritage institutions Alvin Tan said the aim is to create a databank of virtual heritage tours to capture present-day Singapore for current and future generations.
The map which combines Google's Street View technology with high-definition still photographs, was produced by Smap Agency in collaboration with the NHB.
The agency uses the latest technology to help businesses establish themselves online. It is the first in South-east Asia to be certified by Google to use the Street View technology to produce panoramic and interactive indoor tours.
Madam Jamilah Nacha, 57, who has been at the market since it opened its doors in 1975, said she is relying on the virtual map to showcase her products, such as ponchos, sleeping bags and trekking sticks, to the rest of Singapore.
Husband and wife pair Chang Kok Liang and Chan Wai Yoke, both 79, said the tour is also a good keepsake for them should they choose to retire when their lease expires in 2016.
Mr Lester Lai, 34, director of Smap, said it is important to document heritage sites which Singaporeans hold close to their hearts as the island's landscape is changing rapidly.
"Things may not be the same five years down the road. If the Army Market is no longer around, at least we have a virtual map of it where viewers can walk through the market's twists and turns."