Digital transformation

The new urban planning trend transforming city design

Jul 01, 2016

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has revealed the jewel in its Smart Nation strategy crown – the highly anticipated first phase of its national 3D mapping project.

A quick glance at Singapore’s impressive glittering skyline reveals it’s a country where considered urban planning is paramount.  This week, the country demonstrated yet again why it’s considered the global leader in Smart Nation strategy, when the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) revealed the highly anticipated first phase of its national 3D mapping project at the Esri International User Conference (UC) in San Diego.

The 3D models being showcased at the event – which use advanced Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to generate compelling ‘real world’ visualisations of the entire island of Singapore – are part of a whole-of-government Smart Nation initiative aimed at improving risk management, facilitating collaboration and enhancing decision-making among the country’s public agencies.

The project has also produced the biggest geospatial dataset ever collected homogenously in Singapore, featuring more than 100 terabytes of data and products which can be used by multiple agencies to create 3D maps and models.


The 3D models have been met with much praise, with many IT leaders indicating the project would serve as a new global benchmark in 3D planning for the world’s leading cities.

Examples of how the 3D models will be used include: 

  • Analysing how the location of where trees are planted may increase a park’s shade coverage during the day, thereby increasing citizens’ comfort levels and patronage of parks. This type of ‘dynamic shadow analysis’ can also help Singapore’s planners better locate new park benches, rest points and activity areas for the greater comfort of park goers.
  • Enabling property developers to understand how Singapore’s weather patterns and an area’s existing greenery could assist in naturally cooling-down a built-up environment. This will help cut down energy usage in buildings, especially from cooling load demands.
  • Providing urban planners with greater insight into how new building developments can change or obstruct the visibility of certain landmarks, tourist attractions, or community facilities. As an example, this can help organisers at the Arts and Science Museum determine the best spots for viewing the light show, thereby helping ensure a unique and great experience for every visitor.
  • Effectively using and managing Singapore’s underground space to host future developments such as malls and MRT stations.  
  • Enabling government agencies to seamlessly share data in real-time in areas such as routing, navigation and field operations. This can be especially helpful when organising large-scale public events such as the 2016 Formula 1 race – an event that requires meticulous route planning and real-time data knowledge to ensure the smooth flow of the event.
  • Undertaking solar energy forecasts to identify suitable areas for solar panel installation.  By conducting a solar potential analysis, the utilities industry can fully leverage Singapore’s solar power potential thereby providing consumers with a reliable source of renewable energy.
You can read more about SLA’s 3D models and how they’ll contribute to Singapore’s ongoing Smart Nation strategy in the CIO Magazine article. 
About the author

Alicia Kouparitsas

Senior Marketing Communications Specialist

Esri Australia, Brisbane

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