New app allows users to view Singapore’s maps, past and present

FRANCIS LAW Today Online 4 Dec 15;

SINGAPORE — From the reclamation of land along Singapore’s coasts to more obscure developments such as the relocation of Oldham Lane — the changing face of the nation’s cityscape has now been captured by a new app.

The One Historical Map app enables users to view five different maps dating as far back as 1966, and includes a function that would allow side-by-side comparisons of the different map editions.

Designed and developed by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), the app was launched at the National Design Centre today (Dec 4).

The app aims to help users compare Singapore’s current streetscape with that of the past. It includes more than 300 pre-loaded geo-tagged photographs, 200 of which were curated by the National Heritage Board. The other 100 photographs were contributed by various supporters and geo-historical enthusiasts.

Users are also encouraged to upload their own photographs of Singapore across the years to share with the public.

The SLA’s geospatial director, Mr Ng Siau Yong, said the app would also help to foster conversations of Singapore’s heritage and history between family members of different generations.

Heritage blogger Jerome Lim said the app would be useful not just to people with interest in history, but to anyone who “wants to relate to Singapore”.

“It’s very useful when you’re trying to pinpoint locations of places ... it’s also very helpful from the perspective of discovering Singapore,” he added.

However, Mr Lim expressed concerned over how the crowd-sourced information will be controlled to ensure that the information provided by users is accurate. He also hopes to see an “overlay” feature in the app in the future that would allow the user to compare one map on top of the other, instead of alongside each other.

SLA Chief Executive Tan Boon Khai said: “We hope the app could spark interest among the Net-savvy and encourage more inter-generational conversation on our shared history and heritage.”

Moving forward, the SLA hopes to collaborate with other agencies, such as the National Archives of Singapore, as well as to gather and incorporate user feedback to further improve the app.

The app is accessible at www.oneHmap.sg or from the Google Playstore for Android phones. An iOS version will be released in a few weeks.

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