S'pore firm, Indonesian university creating haze app

SixCap, a Singapore digital company, and Indonesia's Gadjah Mada University have been working together since early this year to develop a mobile app to crowdsource real-time data on forest fires and haze in Indonesia.

Users can send photos showing haze or land and forest fires to the app, key in their locations, Mr Paul Teng, SixCap co-founder and group chief executive, told The Straits Times.

They can also rate how bad the haze is on a scale of one to 10 .

Those who live in remote areas with poor telecommunication coverage can also send the data via SMS.

"This is still a prototype. We'll be doing a field test," said Mr Teng, 28.

He added that he hopes the app can be launched by next July, when the dry season typically starts.

This "collective effort", he pointed out, will act as an early warning haze system and help the Indonesian government douse the flames and stop the spread of haze.

"A lot of online chatter is always targeted at Indonesia, like, 'It's your fault and go solve your problem as it is affecting us.'

"Instead of finger pointing... we should be collaborating and trying to solve this problem together," he said.

Millions in South-east Asia, including Singapore, were affected by thick smoke from the fires that covered many parts of the region in the second half of last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore firm, Indonesian university creating haze app'. Subscribe