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Singapore LTA takes first step into cloud

Jack Loo | Nov. 29, 2011
Mobile application developers can access transport, traffic and geospatial data housed on Microsoft’s Azure.

Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) made its first foray into cloud computing housing transport, traffic and geospatial data on Microsoft's Azure platform.

The non-sensitive information is offered to the public through a "Data Mall" section of LTA's newly revamped MyTransport.SG portal (www.mytransport.sg).

By making the data through one portal, LTA is looking to make it easier for application developers to build unique mobile apps, according to Wee Tee Chiang, director, IT application planning & services, LTA. He is the project director for the MyTransport.SG initiative.

The Data Mall houses real-time data like traffic images, textual traffic data and availability of car park lots, as well as static data like public transport routes, car park rates, and geospatial information like location of bridges.

The Data Mall initiative is part of a collaboration between LTA and Microsoft to build transport data analytics and information dissemination tools.

"The first initiative commencing under this collaboration will enable LTA to tap on Microsoft's substantial research capabilities, resources and networks," said Rosina Howe, LTA's group director, innovation and infocomm technology. "We hope to enable seamless download from 'Data Mall' at MyTransport.SG portal to facilitate development of innovative land transport applications," she added.

Data Mall is likely to be a starting point for LTA into cloud. "We are taking a learning approach," said Wee.

A picture tells a thousand words

The new MyTransport.SG portal provides a one-stop master directory to all existing and new land transport electronic and mobile services.

Information available include bus services and MRT stations for public transport users, student fares, wheelchair accessible buses, cycling paths and bicycle parking facilities at MRT stations, and traffic conditions. 

A new feature to MyTransport.SG is Snap & Send, which allows users to snap and send road infrastructure feedback to LTA, such as potholes on roads, faulty streetlights and obstructed signs, directly from their smartphones.

"A picture tells a thousand words," explained Wee on why the feature was set up. The smartphones' GPS can help pinpoint the location of the feedback, he added.

While the applications on MyTransport.SG publish information, Snap & Send takes a different approach by taking feedback. Perhaps it is an indicator that in the near future, there will be more sophisticated tools that facilitate government and public engagement.

The portal can be accessed from desktop and mobile browsers, and is available for download in iOS and Android formats.

 

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