Ministry of Finance / Infocomm Development Authority

The Problem

Singapore government agencies have been sharing data with the people and private sectors through their respective websites and publications. For example, the Department of Statistics has been sharing economic, population and census data at its Singstat website since 1995; while the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Agency has been sharing data of businesses and companies at its Bizfile website since 2003. More recently in 2010, the Singapore Land Authority launched its OneMap portal as a common platform for agencies to share map information with the people and private sectors.

However, there was no central platform for the people and private sectors to search for all publicly available government data. It was also observed that a number of the data that agencies shared was not in a machine readable format. Furthermore many agencies had differing data terms of use that restricts the use of data by the people and private sectors to develop innovative applications. In addition, there was no central initiative to create awareness on the availability of government data and how data could be used to develop useful applications.

Hence, through the launch of the programme and the co-creation initiatives, the people and private sectors have a central platform to access publicly available government data and use them to develop innovative applications. In addition, initiatives to engage the people and private sectors to use government data for co-creation will be launched.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The programme is a whole-of-government data management initiative to promote the sharing of data from government agencies with the people sector and private sector. The key objectives of the programme are to:
1.Provide convenient access to publicly available data published by the government
2.Create value by catalysing the development of applications that use data
3.Facilitate analysis and research

Since its launch on 20 Jun 2011, there are now around 6,200 datasets from more than 50 government agencies listed in There are also more than 40 applications that uses government data in the portal’s Application Showcase.

The programme is different from many other initiatives started elsewhere (E.g. in the US, and in the UK) in its focus on co-creation with the people and private sector of applications, research and analysis that make use of government data.

By sharing government data, it is hoped that the people and private sectors will use the data to create innovative and useful applications. Some successful examples are applications like Parks “Live” which was developed by Nanyang Polytechnic students using data from the National Parks Board and Singapore Land Authority. This application has been well-received by the general public for its innovative use of government data together with augmented reality functions.

In order to proactively promote and support Co-Creation, a Co-Creation Framework was established to put in programmes to engage the people and private sector to create value from government data by developing useful applications. The Co-Creation Framework seeks to:
•Engage various groups, such as private sector companies, Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and freelance developers to promote the use of government data (and private sector data where applicable) to develop applications; and
•Surface data demands so as to help identify high value data that the government should make available.

The Co-Creation Framework comprises 4 key initiatives:
•Call for Collaboration - A Call-For-Collaboration (CFC) is a mode of engagement to invite private sector submission of proposals for best of breed ideas and technology involving the use of government data to develop applications and tools. The CFC also allows for industry players to collaborate on such projects.
•Ideas 4 Apps Challenge - This is an online competition to crowd source for ideas for useful applications. The competition will be open to the general public and prizes will be awarded to the best ideas. The public will be able to vote for what they think are the best ideas. The ideas culled from this competition will then be used as problem statements for the various initiatives within the Co-Creation Framework.
•Application Competition - Engage developers through competitions to develop applications involving the use of government data.
•Final Year Projects - Work with Institutes of Higher Learning and schools to engage students to work on projects involving government data.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
Ministry of Finance (MOF) is the sponsor and lead agency in charge of the programme. It was conceived as an initiative under the Whole-of-Government Data Management (WOG-DM) programme. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) is MOF’s partner in development and implementation of the programme. Other key partner agencies in this initiative are the Department of Statistics (DOS), and the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). The programme oversight and governance is managed by the Government Data Steering Committee (chaired by the Permanent Secretaries from the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Information, Communication, and the Arts (MICA), and the Ministry of Law (MLAW). Members of the Steering Committee comprises key government ministries and agencies that have high-value data to support Co-Creation. The other members are:
•Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
•Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
•Ministry of Transport (MOT)
•Ministry of Health (MOH)
•Ministry of National Development (MND)
•Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
•Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
•Ministry of Environment, and Water Resources (MEWR)
•Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI)
•Infocomm Development Authority (IDA)
•Accounting, Corporate and Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
•Department of Statistics (DOS)
•Land Transport Authority (LTA)
•Singapore Land Authority (SLA)

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
Create Awareness and Interest in the Use of Government Data:
Before the launch of, focus groups were conducted with representatives from the key users such as application developers, academics and researchers to under their needs and requirements as well as to create awareness on the programme.

An application competition was also launched in partnership with a mobile application developer association to generate buzz on how government data can be used to develop innovative applications. A number of useful datasets such as weather and traffic were also made available as webservices or APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to facilitate application development. The competition saw 50 entries with 18 submitted by students from various institutes of higher learning. Apart from organising the competition, Institutes of Higher Learning were also engaged to encourage students to use government data in creating applications for their school projects.

Data Terms of Use:
A new Data Terms of Use was crafted to enable the people and private sectors to use the datasets in for co-creation.

Making High Value Data Available in Useful Formats:
A demand poll was conducted as part of the focus group meetings and competition to understand the requirements and needs of the high value datasets from the people and private sectors. Based on the responses, where possible, the data was made available in in machine readable formats to facilitate usage for application development and research.

Ensuring government agency engagement and support:
Obtained support from key government agencies that have high number of data and high-value data useful to support the development of applications or for research and analysis.
Leveraged on the Data Management Network comprising of Chief Data Officers (CDO) from all government agencies to identify and make available data that can be shared with the general public and private sector.
In addition, each government agency provided the following resources in support of the programme:
•Appointment of an agency representative for to support the agency CDO for implementation.
•Agencies to take stock of all data currently shared on their websites and all unclassified data that can be shared with the public.
•Agencies to update metadata profiles for their publicly available and made available in

Develop a Co-Creation Framework to Drive Demand of Data:
While there were applications using government data that were developed, either by the government, private or people sector. More can be done to engage the private and people sector to tap on their creativity to develop useful applications from government data. (Please refer to para 2 for more details on the Co-Creation Framework.)

Ease of Navigation in
As is primarily a portal for discovery of datasets, the structure and layout of the portal has to be simple and easy to navigate in order to facilitate ease of searching for the required dataset.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
•31 Aug 2010 – Stock take of data from all Government agencies to establish the initial set of data to be made available to the general public and private sector.
•16 Nov 2011 – Launched initial Applications Competition to drive demand for data and ensure there will be apps to showcase in the new portal when it is launched
•07 Jan 2011 – Communication on the intent of the development of to the Data Management Network to seek buy-in and support from Government agencies
•26 Jan 2011 – Establish the Governance structure through formation of the Executive Committee which reports to the Government Data Steering Committee
•28 Jan 2011 – Commenced engagements with the Institutes of Higher Learning to involve students in the development of applications based on Government data in their projects and curriculum.
•01 Apr 2011 – Upload of datasets by government agencies.
•27 May 2011 – Finalisation of new data Terms Of Use to the use of datasets in
•20 Jun 2011 – Official Launch of site at the eGov Global Exchange Forum 2011.
•11 Jan 2012 – Launch of the Ideas4Apps Challenge to crowdsource for ideas from the general public and private sector on innovative and useful applications that can be developed using Government data.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Making Available Data in Machine Readable Format:
Although many government agencies published data, a number of the data shared was embedded in PDF documents or HTML tables or online queries. Hence, the team worked with the respective agencies to make available the identified high value datasets in machine readable formats, for example, a number of traffic data is made available via APIs. Other data that do not change regularly are made available in other machine readable formats such as csv, xml or Excel.

Foster Collaborations and Use of Government Data:
As one of the primary objectives of the programme is to catalyse the development of applications, the challenge was to create an environment that is conducive to spur such activities. To address the issue, the Co-Creation Framework was established to provide the platform to generate ideas and support collaborations as well as networking. The Data Terms of Use also provided clarity on what the government datasets can be used for. Finally, as stated above, high value data is made available in machine readable formats to enable the ease of using government data in application development.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
Leveraged on existing ICT infrastructure:
Early in the project, the working committee identified that it was more cost and operationally effective to leverage on existing system infrastructure. A few factors determined this –
•The existence of existing internal government data repositories for statistical and spatial data that agencies were already contributing data to.
•The existence of a existing portal for sharing of government spatial data with the public (OneMap).

The existing data repositories provided a source for datasets that agencies could also opt to share with the general public. This eliminated the need to ask agencies to upload their data again to a new repository for sharing data with the public. All that was required was an enhancement in the existing repositories to allow agencies to indicate which datasets to also share with the general public. Thereafter a new program would scour these databases daily to extract metadata and data so marked for sharing with the public.
The existence of the OneMap portal developed by Singapore Land Authority (SLA) provided a means for the portal to be co-hosted on SLA’s servers and to allow reuse of the APIs to pull spatial data for download or for map visualisation.

Application Development:
Where possible, the application development was based on available open source systems, for example APACHE Lucent for the search engine.

Leveraged on the existing manpower in the respective government agencies to support the upload of data into

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
When the programme was initially mooted, government agencies identified around 3,000 datasets that can be shared with the people and private sectors. This number increased to 5,000 when the programme was launch on 20 Jun 2011 and currently, the portal has around 6,200 datasets. The number of visitors, page views and applications using government data has also met the initial year’s target. With the implementation of the various initiatives under the Co-Creation Framework, the programme expects to see increases in the number of dataset as well as usage of the data, creating a self-sustaining data demand-supply cycle. is a whole-of-government initiative with the participation of government agencies in making data available to the people and private sectors.
The programme can also be easily replicated internationally by adopting the programme objectives and the Co-Creation Framework.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned? is one of the showcase projects of the new Singapore Government eGov 2015 Masterplan. The Masterplan envisions a future where the government, the private sector, and the people work together seamlessly through the enabling power of infocomm technologies. This vision is to be achieved through 3 strategic thrusts:
•Co-creating for higher value
•Connecting for active participation
•Catalysing Whole-of-Government Transformation

As part of the strategic thrust on Co-creating for Higher Value, it seeks engage the people and private sectors in co-creation initiatives in the development of innovative applications as well as the use of government data for research and analysis. For example, currently, there are 46 mobile and web based applications that make use of government data to deliver useful and timely information to the general public. This is an increase from the initial list of 20 applications when the portal was launched on 20 Jun 2011. Some examples of applications developed using government data are:
•Trafficam SG – an app that provides traffic near real-time camera shots to inform about traffic conditions for selected locations.
•iTraffic@SG – an app that provides traffic camera shots about traffic conditions for selected locations, a map showing location of various LTA traffic cameras, a list of traffic alerts (for road works and traffic accidents), a list of car parks in the Central Business District and their parking lot availability); check on weather conditions in Singapore.
• – an app that provides users directions and public transport options on how to get from one place to another in Singapore
•Parks Live – an app that showcases one of the public parks in Singapore – Pasir Ris Park. The app provides information about the amenities, facilities and attractions in the park; it has a map to show you the location of the place of interest; it has a augmented reality feature that allows you to point your phone in a particular direction and see what are the facilities in the direction you are pointing to.

Through the Co-Creation Framework initiatives, the programme aims to further increase the number of innovative applications developed using government data.

One of the key lessons learned is that there is a need to work with the people and private sectors as well as government agencies to make available useful and high value datasets and at the same time, to provide the necessary platforms or initiatives to catalyse the use of the data. Through the 2-prong demand-supply approach, the programme was able to breach the gap between availability and usage of data.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Finance / Infocomm Development Authority
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Arthur Lee
Title:   Assistant Director  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Postal Code:  
Country:   Singapore

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