Final showdown for SLA’s first ever spatial challenge: A battle of skills between 8 shortlisted teams

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24 APRIL 2008

- First map exhibition showcasing 135 years of maps from 1819 to Japanese Occupation to pre-Independence of 1954

A team from Millennia Institute wants to conserve and beautify our rivers. Another group from Raffles Junior College wants to help entrepreneurs who are starting up low-cost businesses to select the best location for their shop. Anderson Junior College is interested to help the typical home buyer make a right decision when he decides a buy a flat. As diverse as the topics may sound, the solutions can be found on a map using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, says the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), the national land surveying and mapping authority.

2 On 23 April, the final eight shortlisted teams for SLA’s first-ever Spatial Challenge pitted their skills against one another to win not only cash but also the coveted honour of being the inaugural champion of the Challenge. And the winner was Raffles Junior College whose project involved coming up with a model for entrepreneurs and startups to search for and select the best location, in terms of traffic, rental and market comparatives, for their shop. The first and second runners-up were Millennia Institute (Team 2) and NUS High School of Mathematics and Science respectively.

3 Four other special awards, which were sponsored by ESRI Singapore, were also given. The awards are: Most Innovative Project (Pioneer JC); Most Challenging Project (National JC); Best Use of GIS (Temasek JC), and Best Exhibition Booth (Millennia Institute Team 2).

4 Twenty-three teams from 15 Junior Colleges, Integrated Programme Schools and Institutes registered for the Challenge in February.

5 The GIS competition aims to increase the awareness of GIS technology in students, and encourage innovative uses of GIS within their community. The competition, which included presentation, exhibition of the students’ projects and the award ceremony, was held at the Asian Civilisations Museum. Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs, Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, is the guest-of-honour for the event.

6 The synopsis of the short-listed 8 projects can be found at Annex A and the list of schools participating can be found at Annex B. The top three teams won attractive prizes worth $10,000 in cash and a trophy.

7 SLA, together with ESRI Singapore, a world-leading GIS software company, held training sessions for both the teachers and students between January and March to familiarise themselves with the GIS software. During these sessions, the participants were given case scenarios to work on so that they could gain first-hand knowledge on how GIS works. For instance, participants had to conduct an accessibility study of the LRT in mature and new housing estates, and to find out the proportion of HDB blocks that do not fall within the service areas of LRT. They will then plot, present GIS map layers, enhance with newly-gathered data and propose solutions on a digital map using the GIS software.

8 Participants were encouraged to look at their community with a spatial perspective and propose location-based solutions, using the latest GIS trends and tools. The Challenge was judged on criteria such as fieldwork, analysis and data-gathering. SLA also searched for the ‘most innovative’ and ‘most challenging’, and ‘best use of GIS’ projects, based on merits of being used by real-life policy decision-makers from different Government agencies.

First map exhibition showcasing 135 years of Singapore’s history (1819-1954)

9 The event also showcased a first-ever historical map exhibition, jointly organised by SLA and the National Archives Board (NAS). Themed “From Emporium to Singapore City: Mapping the Journey”, the exhibition revisits 135 years of Singapore’s history (1819-1959) through maps. Together with historical photographs and documents, the iconic maps on display tell compelling stories on different facets of Singapore’s transformation from an unknown fishing village to a bustling British Emporium of the Far East and a World City in 1951, awakened from the turmoil of the Japanese Occupation. The archival maps over the centuries and decades also touched on SLA’s mapping journey from paper to digital.

The public can visit the map exhibition which will tour three regional libraries and Atrium@Orchard for a few weeks. Details of the map tour are:

MOE (Level 1): map 24 April (12pm-6pm)
25 April - 1 May (9am-6pm)
Ang Mo Kio Community Library (Level 1): map 2 May (12pm-9pm)
3 May -12 May (10am-9pm)
Jurong Regional Library (Level 1): map 13 May (12pm-9pm)
14 May - 25 May (10am-9pm)
The Atrium@Orchard: map 26 May (12pm-9pm)
27 May - 1 June (9am-9pm)

Besides the map tour, any school which is interested to have the exhibits displayed at their premises for a specific timeframe can also contact the National Archives for such an arrangement.


Issued by:
The Singapore Land Authority
24 April 2008



Annex A: Summary of the 8 shortlisted projects


Annex B: List of schools participating

Participating School
Anderson Junior College
Anglo-Chinese Junior College
Dunman High School
Hwa Chong Institution (College Section)
Jurong Junior College
Meridian Junior College
Millennia Institute
National Junior College
NUS High School of Mathematics and Science
Pioneer Junior College
Raffles Junior College
Saint Andrews Junior College
Temasek Junior College
Victoria Junior College
Yishun Junior College

Additional information on GIS:

Geographic information is no longer just associated with terms such as address points, road lines, X and Y coordinates, and lot boundaries. With today’s advanced Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, you can quickly scope out which parts of Singapore have the most food outlets, the highest density of childcare centres, sports and elderly-friendly facilities, and even concentration of disaster or epidemic hotspots.

A. Spatial Science
Spatial Science encompasses multiple disciplines, such as Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Surveying, Mapping and Cartography.

B. GIS (Geographic Information System)
GIS is the culmination of the combination of hardware (e.g. satellites, computers, and GPS), software, and geographic information (e.g. maps, satellite images).

GIS can be used to collect, manage, analyse, and display all types of geographically referenced information. GIS has emerged as a branch of geography that is swiftly advancing in use and importance all around the world. Some examples of the use of GIS are the study of damage to coastlines by the 2004 tsunami; monitoring of forest fires in Indonesia; routing of emergency services such as ambulances and fire engines; car navigation systems, and online street directories. GIS has many other practical and educational applications that have not been fully utilised in Singapore.