Open Data - data.gov.sg & OneMap
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore & Singapore Land Authority

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
In the past, government services were predominantly delivered in a one-directional manner, where Government decides which services to deploy and how to deploy them. As Government continued to strive for improvements under this service delivery model, the scope for break-through ideas had become more limited going forward. The public’s expectations have also increased. With many changes in societal trends and new challenges such as an ageing population, increase in immigrants and infrastructure issues, it was imperative to push the envelope by opening up opportunities for the private and people sectors to actively identify, develop and deliver services that meet their needs as well as those of others in their community. With technology advancements, increased mobile penetration rate and the rising popularity of social media in Singapore, the public has shown their desire to co-create and provide constructive feedback. One way of catalysing such collaboration was for Government to release selected non-sensitive datasets to the general public. Such Open Data initiatives could lead to greater collaboration and value creation between the public and private sectors While agencies are already publishing data on their websites, many of these were either not downloadable, or downloadable only in non-machine-readable formats like PDF files, which make analyses or usage difficult. The data also tends to be dispersed in multiple agency websites, making it difficult for the public to find. Agencies which wanted to share and display their own spatial information for public’s consumption would have had to procure expensive mapping software to do so. The lack of a central mapping platform meant that like-minded agencies were building their own infrastructure and systems to deliver services of the same nature. This led to wastage of funds and duplication of efforts. In addition, because of the variegated mapping platforms, there was a possibility of inconsistencies in spatial information disseminated. Therefore there was a desire to consolidate resources to standardise metadata to ease search and discovery and for OneMap, to standardise the overlays of map assets to make the map richer for developers to use geospatial assets.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Open data in Singapore is spearheaded by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). Open Data started in 2010 with the launch of the OneMap (www.onemap.sg). Following OneMap, data.gov.sg (www.data.gov.sg) was launched in 2011 as part of the eGov 2015 Masterplan. A Demand-Supply iterative approach was administered for Open Data. a) For Supply, various datasets from different agencies were centralized on two key platforms; data.gov.sg and OneMap. Data.gov.sg focused on sharing textual and some spatial data for download while OneMap is Singapore’s central mapping platform. As part of data Supply, MOF, IDA and SLA engaged agencies to share data, and developed a set of policy, guidelines and data sharing principles to provide clarity and direction to agencies on sharing data with the public. A governance structure was also established as an escalation channel to discuss data sharing issues. b) For Demand, MOF, IDA and SLA carried out innovation efforts to promote the use of this data in order to drive demand for high-value data from the public, and to engage the public to create value with the data. The target audiences for such efforts varied from the general public to efforts targeted at specific audiences such as businesses, developers or students. Examples of such initiatives include hackathons, ideas and apps challenges as well as incentive grants for businesses that used Open Data. OneMap The OneMap initiative came about to fulfil the objective of creating an environment where the people, private and public sector can discover, share and make use of spatial information for agencies to deliver location-based information and services to the people and for companies to make use of government information to create value-added services. The availability of a common map platform enables agencies to upload data and display non-sensitive data with ease, without the need to procure their own systems to do so, resulting in whole-of-government cost savings. The use of common map to display government related location information and services also serve to forge unified government identity. The OneMap base map is a compilation of over 40 layers of information merged into one and can be accessed via APIs, as with more than 90 geospatial layers contributed by over 30 agencies, for use and development of map-based applications. Data.gov.sg Data.gov.sg is one of the key programmes that support Singapore’s eGov 2015 Masterplan to create a Collaborative Government that Co-creates and Connects with Our People. It is part of the strategic thrust on “Co-creating for Greater Value” where customers are empowered to co-create new e-services with the government. The objectives of data.gov.sg are to (a) provide convenient access to publicly-available data published by the government, (b) create value by catalysing application development, and (c) facilitate analysis and research. Data.gov.sg started with more than 5,000 datasets from over 50 agencies. It has since grown to more than 8,000 datasets, more than 70 APIs and with the participation of more than 60 agencies. Data from data.gov.sg can be used for research, analysis and for application development purposes, e.g. to develop a mobile apps. With data.gov.sg, the public is invited to create innovative solutions or deliver insights that can enhance the way we live, work and play in Singapore. Demand Generation Demand Generation focuses on engaging individuals and businesses to use data.gov.sg and OneMap to find data, and to use the data to develop applications and innovative services. The government does not have answers to all the problems. Since public sector services are used by businesses and individuals, businesses and individuals will have good ideas and input on how they would like to be served. In order to cast a wide net and engage the various target audiences, applications development will be driven via competitions to encourage individuals and businesses to develop innovative web and mobile applications using government data. Apart from competitions, hackathons and workshops, a Call for Collaboration (CFC) was organised to engage companies to develop applications and information services. Road shows and talks were held to promote awareness and generate public interest in using data.gov.sg and OneMap to find data. In addition, workshops were also conducted to develop the government’s capabilities in data-related areas such as in geospatial data technology or data management.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Open Data empowers the public to work alongside the government to solve problems and create innovative solutions. By sharing our data, the government no longer had to create all the apps and services. The public now has the power to create such apps themselves by using the data that was shared. The public can also conduct research and analyses on the data to gain insights. Unlike the traditional way most government agencies provide information via FAQs, emails and online forms, with the data.gov.sg and OneMap portals, the public can now access data readily. On data.gov.sg, the public can download datasets directly without having to approach agencies. The public can also use Web services and APIs shared through data.gov.sg allowed to easily mash different types of data. For example, an app developer company, BuUuk, had used the National Environment Agency’s weather data and added additional crowd-sourced data to help those in Singapore to keep track of current and forecasted weather. In addition, geospatial data is now easily accessible. OneMap provides information and services from a map perspective and is constantly seeking to bring different government services together. For example, PopulationQuery on OneMap, a service created in collaboration with the Department of Statistics, transforms the way demographic data is consumed. Unlike the traditional way of viewing demographic data in the form of a textual table, this service gives users the options to select different demographic datasets and visualise them on the map. They can also overlay with various thematic information on OneMap to gain useful location-relation insights.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
As Open Data is a whole-of-government effort (WOG), a governance structure led by the central agencies (MOF, IDA & SLA) was set in place to coordinate various efforts for Open Data, and to obtain buy-in from agencies to share data in effective manners, and to promote demand generation. Organisation to Support Open Data The Government Data Steering Committee (GDSC) was established in 2010 to oversee WOG data management initiatives including data.gov.sg and OneMap. This committee is chaired by the Permanent Secretary of MOF, with members from agencies which are owners of ‘high-value’ data. The GDSC meets quarterly to discuss and decide on WOG data-sharing policies and issues. At this platform, key data sharing initiatives are discussed and populated to the various agencies. The eGov and Data Advisory Panel (eGAP) was formed in Jan 2014 to provide thought-leadership and insights into global trends and innovations in e-Government and “Open Data” strategies. The Panel comprises international Open Data thought leaders who would provide guidance on how new technologies in both ICT and “Open Data” can be better used to enhance the performance of Government. eGAP also advises on engagement strategies with the various user communities in Singapore, so as to encourage more co-creation and to enable more user-centric service delivery. A Chief Data Officer (CDO) is a director-level representative appointed by every agency to act as key points of contact and play the role of an ambassador and advocate for the government’s data sharing efforts. CDOs meet quarterlyand work to drive the agency’s data-sharing and data analytics efforts while ensuring compliance to policies and standards. The CDOs act as gate-openers to more data sharing.. Legal Framework to Support Open Data In 2011, a central Terms-of-Use (TOU) was drafted specially for adoption by datasets on Data.gov.sg and OneMap. The TOU allows public to use the data, whilst indemnifying the Singapore Government from any liabilities. Thus, as agencies are protected, the TOU has served to assure agencies of their concerns and promotes greater data sharing. The TOU also states the permissible uses of the data and requires users to indicate if data had been modified. To enhance our data-sharing efforts, a set of data-sharing principles were developed in 2013 to guide agencies in deciding what data should be shared and in what formats. Agencies are required to comply with the data-sharing principles as well as conduct a self-assessment. The data-sharing principles ensure that the public will be able to gain access to data that is of an optimal quality and in the most optimal format for use. Notwithstanding the above, we are concurrently pushing mindset changes across agencies and driving more external data sharing. In particular, we are gradually shifting our approach in the external sharing of datasets towards one that is focussed on “high-value/ commonly-used” datasets rather than just increasing the quantity of datasets on data.gov.sg and OneMap. Communication From 2010 onwards, within the government, roadshows and bilateral meetings were conducted with key agencies to sell the benefits of Open Data and to get them to share their data on data.gov.sg and OneMap and participate in demand generation efforts where they could put up problem statements for the public to solve. With the public, demand-generation activities like competitions and also roadshows at universities. were conducted to increase awareness of data.gov.sg and OneMap in order to generate public interest to use the data. These included As a result of government-led demand generation efforts, there is widespread interest in the industry on co-creation and the use of government data. Several non-government organisations have partnered data.gov.sg to carry out community efforts with Open Data. For example, Google’s PlugFest Developer Competition partnered data.gov.sg to get their developers to use Open Data in their app submissions.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Open Data is led by the Ministry of Finance in partnership with IDA and SLA. IDA manages the data.gov.sg Portal and drives the adoption of its data while SLA manages OneMap and drives the adoption of geospatial data. In his keynote address at the eGov Global Exchange 2013, Mr Tharman Shamugaratnam, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister had emphasised government’s support for Open Data. He said, “...we [the Government] will proactively share more data. This will encourage more feedback, as well as research and analysis on issues of public concern”. All agencies are stakeholders of Open Data. While, MOF, IDA and SLA play key roles in driving the adoption of sharing data on data.gov.sg and OneMap, agencies’ participation is imperative for the project’s success. To-date, more than 60 agencies are sharing their data on data.gov.sg. For OneMap’s implementation, an initial consortium of 16 public agencies led by SLA was responsible for developing OneMap to ensure its successful roll-out and subsequently, over 30 agencies became contributors and adopters of OneMap. SLA also worked with Non-Government Organisations like Cat Welfare Society and Restroom Association Singapore to ensure the successful adoption of OneMap for business and community needs. The developer community also played a key role in implementation. To kick-start the adoption of Open Data, the Mobile Alliance carried out the AppVenture Challenge to precede the launch of the data.gov.sg Portal, and showcase its potential. Using existing datasets, the Challenge generated 18 apps that used Open Data. These apps served as showcases of the value of Open Data once data.gov.sg was launched in 2011. The public’s feedback was also incorporated throughout the implementation in areas such as portal usability as well as on high-value data that the government should provide.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
OneMap and data.gov.sg are funded by the Ministry of Finance (MOF). The resources for the initiative included: • High level expertise in many domains for the system development of OneMap. The key knowledge areas are GIS, Web and mobile development with a keen emphasis on usability and system performance. There was ample participation from the data maintenance team, cartographer and line managers in contributing to their respective areas. • Project team for data.gov.sg and OneMap to ensure the successful roll-out and maintenance of the datasets shared on the Portal. This project manager also liaised with various agencies to ensure that their data was accessible on the Portal, and updated when required. • Programme manager was enlisted to engage the public to carry out demand-generation efforts, and to engage the people and private sector use the datasets • Policy developer was also involved in creating the new terms-of-use for datasets, and in creating the best practices and guidelines for data sharing. • CDOs played the role as advocators of Open Data, and led their agencies to release more datasets.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
he successes of the initiatives were evident in the amount of information shared, adopters, and services developed using government data. These help achieve the overall objective of improving public service delivery and innovative services co-created with the people and private sectors. 1a. The number of datasets on data.gov.sg has grown from 5,000 to 8,000, and has achieved 100% machine-readability in end 2013. OneMap’s thematic information has grown from 24 in April 2010 to 91 layers presently, while location-based services in collaboration with fellow public agencies, non-government organisations and private firms have increased to 43 from 7 in when it was first launched. 2b. data.gov.sg has had more than 800,000 visits and more than 100,000 data downloads while OneMap has had a combined total of over 100 million page views and services used, illustrating the growing interest of the public in using the data. 3c. More than 300 prototypes and apps using Open Data have been created by the Public through demand-generation initiatives, of which 60 apps are available on the data.gov.sg AppShowcase for the public to use. In total, more than 100 apps have been created using Open Data from data.gov.sg or OneMap. These apps cover various aspects of life in Singapore including transport, public safety and education. 4d. More than 20 different demand-generation initiatives were carried out by various agencies to co-create solutions to problems with the public. These initiatives have resulted in more than 70 new high-value datasets released. 5e. New revenue streams have been created by companies that use Open Data. - StreetSine’s SRX Valuation Engine which uses a mixture of private and public data provides a service which allows consumers, real estate agents, valuers, and banks with a rigorous, real-time valuation of properties. - Quantum Inventions’ real-time navigation, vehicle tracking, routing and traffic information services for consumer, enterprise and government systems. The solution had used the Land Transport Authority’s data. Quantum Inventions had received co-funding from IDA to develop this solution, and have since partnered car GPS device manufacturer to market the system.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The monitoring of progress of these two initiatives comes in two folds, the governance component through institutional arrangements and data sharing policies as well as systems to keep track on the usage level of portals and data. The governance structure as mentioned in question 4 monitors the progress of Open Data in Singapore. The GDSC also serves as a coordination platform to ensure the alignment and effectiveness of the various efforts. OneMap’s key performance indicators, in terms of page views and services used, utilises online monitoring feature such as Google analytics to track usage of the portal. Registration of OneMap APIs is also made compulsory to keep track of its use. On the administrative side, appointment of agency administrators as liaison points were in place to manage feedback about the source data and monitor the number of information and services put out. Similarly, data.gov.sg monitors the page views, data downloads and portal visits. The number of apps created is also tracked as this is a key measurement to evaluate the adoption levels of the portal. Since its launch, the number of page views on data.gov.sg has grown from 500,000 in 2011 to close to 1.5million in 2013.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Data.gov.sg and OneMap encountered obstacles which are similar in nature, namely (a) changing the mindset of agencies that were reluctant to contribute data due to concerns over its sensitivity and purpose of use, (b) availing high-value datasets and (c) developing a co-creation ecosystem. (a) Changing Agencies’ Mindset - many road shows and meetings with the agencies at both the senior levels and working levels were arranged. Workshops and trainings to equip the working level personnel from other agencies with the mindset, knowledge and skills to create and manage data for sharing that conforms to recognised data standards. These communication platforms also served to help agencies understand the value of Open Data and co-creation. When new OneMap services were developed, these were used as successful showcases to encourage to other agencies to also develop service that would benefit the public. Thus, the number of services and data layers shared increased many folds in the first 8 months of OneMap’s operations. (b) Availing High-Value Datasets - To help agencies share high-value datasets, policies and guidelines were set in place to promote data sharing. These included a mandate for all unclassified data to be shared on data.gov.sg or OneMap, as well as the Data Sharing Principles which aided agencies to share data in the most optimal means. An API Funding programme was also established to co-fund the development of APIs for high-value datasets. In addition, IDA regularly facilitated the sharing of high-value datasets as identified through demand-generation initiatives. (c) Developing a pro ’co-creation mindset’ – Initially, many agencies were not convinced on the benefits of co-co-creation and were not open to putting up problem statements for the public to solve. Over time, upon seeing the successes of other agencies’ co-creation efforts, more and more agencies started carrying out their own efforts to crowdsource solutions using Open Data.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The provision of government data on these two platforms resulted in several benefits. Within government, it creates more collaboration opportunities, lowers operation costs amongst many others. For the general public, closer public engagement through co-creation of services shifts the traditional government to consumer paradigm to a government with consumer one. Some examples of the benefits: • Individuals and businesses can enjoy a whole new range of value-added services. More than 60 apps were created by the people and private sectors. Examples include WeatherLah and BookeeSg. Weatherlah uses data from the National Environment Agency (NEA) and also crowdsources for additional weather information from the public. BookeeSG uses data from the National Library to provide a value-added service for library users to use the barcodes found on books to locate a book’s availability. When Singapore was hit by high haze levels recently, many apps were created using NEA’s data to provide the public with updated information on the haze situation. Enterprising businesses can create new revenues streams through the sale of innovative products and services. For example, a recent winner of the Apps4SG Competition (a demand generation effort where participants had to use Open Data for any app that can enhance the way we live, work and play in Singapore), EduChoice, has obtained seed funding to further develop the app into a commercial business. The app was developed by a 19-year old student. • Government agencies now have an avenue to co-create new solutions and solve problems with the people and private sector. In the beginning, data.gov.sg and OneMap ran its own demand generation initiative but recently, individual agencies have started organising their own efforts to promote the use of their own data. Some examples are the Energy Market Authority (EMA)’s E3 Hackathon and the NEA’s Clean and Green Hackathon (CGH). At the E3 Hackathon, EMA released electricity and gas household consumption records for hackathon participants to develop solutions for energy efficiency and lowering home energy consumption. NEA has also organised the CGH every year since 2012. Agencies are now more open to co-creating with the public and can now tap on the expertise of the crowd to help solve problems. • Support from the wider community has increased. Several community platforms that support the use of Open Data have emerged. For example, UP! Singapore, a digital agency in Singapore, regularly carries out activities that promote the use of Open Data. UP! Singapore has partnered various agencies to help bring the community together to use Open Data to solve problem statements by the agencies. Other organisations such as the Singapore Computer Society Student Chapter (SCS) have been supporting of promoting Open Data to its members. The SCS has promoted Open Data to its student chapter in their annual Splash Awards Competition for two years in a row, thus contributing to the development of capabilities in Open Data amongst youths and students. • Government agencies can leverage on the central platform to share data, and reduce duplication of efforts. o The data.gov.sg Portal has centralised all datasets on one-portal. With the central portal, agencies need not expend resources to share data on their own portals and can now utilise data.gov.sg to share data with the public. It is also easier for the public to search and discover many datasets from a central portal. • Besides viewing of government spatial data on a map, OneMap also provides extensive APIs for the Public Sector, Private Sector and the Community to quickly and easily publish their location based information onto their portals through interactive online maps without the need to procure any GIS infrastructure. They could also mash-up their own data to create and deliver value-added geospatial services to their customers. Some examples include SchoolQuery by the Ministry of Education (MOE), which is a free service which enables parents to search for primary schools near a property. It can also be used to determine if a particular address is within 1 or 2km from a school for the purpose of priority admission to choice primary schools. For communities, OneMap has made available a crowdsourcing plug-in for NGOs to crowdsource geo-tagged information. The LooConnect crowdsourcing website is created by Restroom Association Singapore using this plug-in for the general public to give feedback on cleanliness of public toilets by tagging comments on a map. These are just some of the impactful services enabled by OneMap.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The OneMap and data.gov.sg initiatives are a whole-of-government effort disseminated throughout the Singapore public service to drive the use of government data and services. They are also supported by various funding frameworks that agencies can tap on to harness its benefits. Besides references to best practices around the world, these initiatives have also garnered international recognitions as exemplary systems to follow. Within government, MOF, SLA and IDA work with other agencies and make available special fund for innovative services to be developed by them that leverages on OneMap or data.gov.sg. An example is the GeoFund, which is made available for agencies if they want to develop location-based services using OneMap. Data.gov.sg also provides funding to promote the sharing of data in APIs. The private sector is also engaged to build services that will benefit businesses and the communities. To encourage adoption and to spur usage, the use of OneMap and data.gov.sg are made available free to them. The Community is free to use the data and create both social and economic from the data as long as they have value-added to it. Sustainability is further enhanced with the geospatial data creation tools available on OneMap. The ability to create data, contribute to the data repository, collaborate with agencies and consume other contributors’ data make OneMap reliable and up to date with the generation and addition of new spatial data. Open Data in Singapore is also transferable. In addition, Open Data can be used for many purposes and is not restrictive. Recently, the WorldBank was invited to partner IDA for an Open Data Bootcamp for journalists in order to equip them with tips and tools on data usage. With Open Data, journalists can tell better stories, backed by data points. Apart from apps, there is also scope for Open Data for other uses. For example, Open Data can be used for visualisations. To celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday next year, the “Data in the City” Visualisation Challenge invited participants to tell their Singapore Story with creative use of data. This was the first of such a Challenge where the open data, data visualization and story-telling were brought together. We also often receive invitations to share our Open Data efforts with other countries. IDA’s International arm provides consultancy services to other countries on our Open Data efforts.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
There is much to learn from policy formulation to the implementation of these initiatives. The key takeaway lessons very much lie in how to engage of stakeholders and make them feel part of the projects to be empowered to contribute in meaningful ways. Another learning lesson is the importance of engaging the people and private sector in developing these programmes. Getting high-level buy-in from the participating agencies during the early stage of the project was crucial so that inter-agency coordination works will be smoother during the implementation. Government agencies have to overcome their inertia to share data with the public. Before, during and after the project implementation, all agencies should be engaged so that there is a sense of ownership by all agencies involved to ensure the continued success. Publicity and promotion activities to increase the participations and adoption by public agencies, businesses and the communities have contributed to the success of the Programme. Without support from the Community, the initiative would not have generated as much benefits as it did. Moving ahead, recommendations would be to continue with the demand-supply strategy. It is only with the demand from the public that the supply of high-value data can increase. And with sufficient supply, then more innovative solutions can be created. As a whole-of-government effort, there are many more benefits that can be reaped. We will continue to promote ground-up innovation. With more than 5.4 million residents and only 139,000 public officers, there is still a lot of opportunity to co-create with the public to deliver better services and solve problems together.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore & Singapore Land Authority
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Liyana Muhammad Fauzi
Title:   Manager, Data Management Division  
Telephone/ Fax:   (65) 9620-4842
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   liyana_muhammad_fauzi@ida.gov.sg  
Address:   10 Pasir Panjang Road
Postal Code:   Singapore 117438
City:   Singapore
State/Province:   Singapore
Country:  

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