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Virtual Singapore project to be ready by end-2018: Tharman
VIRTUAL Singapore, the digital map of the country rendered in virtual reality and based on real-time dynamic data, should be ready by the end of this year, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the Singapore International Water Week, the World Cities Summit and CleanEnviro Summit on July 9.
The initiative will have many uses, from visualising the effects of local upgrading projects on the landscape to planning barrier-free routes.
DPM Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, said JTC Corporation is developing tools in Virtual Singapore to allow stakeholders to help design road networks and public transport amenities.
He noted: "Beyond making the most of technology, it is also critical that we empower communities and develop the social capital that helps ensure that urban innovations have broadly felt benefits."
The platform will be available first to government agencies, then to companies and the public over the next few years.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Tharman said global challenges like climate change, infectious diseases and poorly managed urbanisation are becoming more complex as they interact and compound each other.
They are most severe in developing countries but cannot be ignored by other countries, because they will spill over into the global environment if not tackled effectively.
"That's why it is our responsibility, wherever we are, to contribute to innovations and solutions that can be applied to solving problems elsewhere," he said.
He cited water as a field where Singapore's efforts have helped stimulate and share innovation between cities, with 200 companies, 25 public and private R&D centres and over 14,000 people here working on water.
Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive officer of the World Bank, said: "What makes me most optimistic about the future is the bottom-up energy that comes from mayors and businesses.
"They are embracing carbon emission reduction strategies very practically and building resilience in cities in a very effective way, even in poor neighbourhoods."
Bernard Charles, vice-chairman and chief executive officer of Dassault Systemes, which is working with the National Research Foundation on the project, said: "A city is less complex than a human body. We are doing so much for the brain, heart and muscular system, and we believe that those technologies can be used for cities to interconnect these systems that want to work together, but cannot, because they don't understand each other."