S'pore govt to share more data to spur innovation

New "Open Data" initiative will see the government sharing more data sets with both public and private sectors to create greater public value, enhance productivity, decision-making and crowdsourcing of information.

The Singapore government has adopted a new "Open Data" philosophy to do more to harness the transformative power of data.

SINGAPORE--The Singapore government will make more data available to the public in order for others to build on it to increase efficiency and drive social innovation.

According to Tharman Shanmugaratnam, deputy prime minister and minister for finance, the government has adopted a new "Open Data" philosophy to do more to harness the transformative power of data .

Within government organizations, cross-agency data sharing will start to be more pervasive, as there is great scope for use of data analytics to design and provide better and quicker services, while raising productivity in government and improving decision-making, he said, speaking at the eGov Global Exchange here Monday.

Externally, the government plans to encourage crowdsourcing of information, as well as research and analysis on issues of public concern, Tharman added.

New services

One of which is a new data service named PopulationQuery has been launched on OneMap, to allow users to get various forms of data on the Singapore population and display results on a map, the minister noted.

Jointly developed by the country's department of statistics (DOS) and the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), users can overlay this with other information such as schools, transport options and other amenties, the minister said.

PopulationQuery will be useful to both citizens and academics, Tharman pointed out, noting for example, if a citizen is thinking about buying a property, he may be interested in the demographics in the area and at the same time, are able to see the schools, restaurants and property prices in the area.

On the enterprise front, PopulationQuery will provide useful information about the profile of potential pools of customers, and can overlay this with information about other registered businesses in the area, and decide their product mix or the marketing strategies to employ, he added.

"By opening up more data, and through innovative use of technology, we can crowdsource ideas and co-create applications with the wider community," Tharman said.

The IDA last month also announced its intent to pilot a data-as-a-service program to kickstart the development of a nationwide delivery platform of public and private sector datasets, which would in turn spur more innovative applications to be created.

The is a change of attitude by the Singapore government, including running contests to encouraging third parties to use its data, and it now wants all the information on its data portal to be "machine readable" formats by the end of the year.