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Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure Strategy 2007-2011

Foreword

A surveyor conducting a survey in the field needs to obtain an acceptable misclosure in

the survey which is obvious to most practising surveyors. But to the uninitiated young

surveyors, a sound advice would be that finding a good control point to start a survey is

having half the battle won. Starting a survey with a poor control point is akin to a chef

using inferior ingredients in his recipe.

Knowing the importance of good control points, the Singapore Land Authority has set its

sight with bearings pointing towards establishing a Survey and Mapping Infrastructure

Strategy Map. A small team of staff headed by Victor Khoo was formed to reinforce

SLA’s commitment in establishing and maintaining the survey and mapping infrastructure

in Singapore.

The team was given 6 months to map out a strategic plan that covers the Integrated

Survey Network, Singapore Satellite Positioning Reference Network, Singapore Precise

Levelling Benchmark Network and the Geoid Model. It addresses our long-term planning

based on a coordinated framework. To achieve greater clarity, the team has also

identified tasks required to achieve our goals for the next 5 years. This would set the

directions and priorities for both public sector and private sector in their geospatial

initiatives and activities. This is our inaugural plan and we aim to produce and update the

plan every 5 years to keep up with the technological advancements and paradigm shifts.

In line with our belief that end users should be consulted upon for issues with affect them,

SLA has conducted its first ever e-consultation on this strategic plan. The number of

responses received was not overwhelming; however, it provided us with a good idea on

how we can further improve to serve our customers even better. SLA would like to thank

all respondents who have contributed their suggestions and feedback. The team has

deliberated on all feedback which was received before this strategic plan was finalised.

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Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure Strategy 2007-2011

With this, we hope to provide an array of reliable control network for use in cadastral,

engineering, topographical, aerial mapping and GIS applications. This will also keep the

users abreast of the plans SLA has in the pipeline. Looking ahead, we will continually

communicate and work with the stakeholders to draw their input in achieving the desired

outcomes.

Soh Kheng Peng

Chief Surveyor

Singapore

June 2007

Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure Strategy 2007-2011

Executive Summary

This strategic plan focuses on the survey and mapping infrastructure system in Singapore.

Looking ahead, the main challenges facing the provision of a survey and mapping infrastructure system in Singapore are: 1) to satisfy the needs of all users without compromising on the integrity, reliability, accessibility of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system; 2) staying relevant to changes that are affecting the surveying profession; 3) having the best people to manage such a system; 4) extending the use of geospatial information in decision-making, and; 5) ensuring an internationally-recognised survey and mapping infrastructure system.

To deal with these challenges, strategies have been developed. From these strategies, which act as a framework for task-setting, we aim to reach the 5 goals that are set out in this report. Then, our vision: “To have a world-class survey and mapping infrastructure system in Singapore”, will be realised.

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Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure Strategy 2007-2011

Content

Foreword

i

Executive Summary

iii

Content

iv

List of Acronyms Used

v

1

Introduction

1

1.1

The Origin of the Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System in Singapore

2

1.2

The

Present

3

2

Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System

4

2.1

Survey Services of the SLA

4

2.2

The ISN and SiReNT

4

2.3

The Singapore Precise Levelling Benchmark Network and Geoid Model

5

2.4

An Integrated Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System

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3

Vision

7

4

Goals

8

5

Strategies and Work Plans

10

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Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure Strategy 2007-2011

List of Acronyms Used

2D:

2-dimensional

3D:

3-dimensional

3G:

3 rd generation

HDB:

Housing Development Board

ISO:

International Standards Organization

JTC:

Jurong Town Corporation

MSL:

Mean Sea Level

GPS:

Global Positioning System

GNSS:

Global Navigation Satellite System

NTU:

Nanyang Technological University

RTK:

Real-Time Kinematic

SIMRSN:

Singapore Integrated Multiple Reference Station Network

SMS:

Short Message Service

SLA:

Singapore Land Authority

SVY21:

The cadastral surveying system in Singapore

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Introduction

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1

Introduction

What’s next?

Given the many changes implemented over the past 2 years for the surveying profession

in Singapore, such as the online submission of cadastral survey jobs and the change to a

new surveying system, this question seems unnecessary to many survey professionals. However, due to new surveying paradigms and developments in the field of GNSS, we cannot stay oblivious to technological and institutional changes that are affecting the

world, including ourselves. Rather, we must be able to provide a robust, reliable and integrated surveying system for the geospatial industry. As we return to the survey fundamentals, “A survey cannot be more accurate than the control”, this question can be answered.

Such is the importance of this ‘control’ that it can be said no authoritative position can be obtained in Singapore without a nation-wide control network. This ‘nation-wide control network’ is a key component of our survey and mapping infrastructure for geospatial data acquisition purposes. This report focuses on Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system, which consists of all methods, processes and infrastructures associated with Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure.

A survey and mapping infrastructure system is integral to the geospatial industry in

Singapore. In order to overcome new challenges ahead, there is a need to review Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system. Ultimately, everyone who has a stake in positioning in Singapore would be able to reap the benefits of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system for various economic and social activities.

The need to have a survey and mapping infrastructure system is emphasised, but who should provide such a survey and mapping infrastructure system in Singapore?

Under section 7(a) of the Boundaries and Survey Maps Act (Chapter 25),

“The Chief Surveyor shall be responsible for establishing a co-ordinated cadastre and may, for that purpose — (a) establish and maintain a network of survey control marks with recorded co- ordinates for use in surveying, mapping and related practice.”

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Introduction

Although the Chief Surveyor is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a survey and mapping infrastructure for the direct purpose of cadastral surveying, this infrastructure is also used for various geospatial applications.

The need and mandate to provide a survey and mapping infrastructure system for Singapore is stated, which leads to the next logical step of actually providing such a survey and mapping infrastructure system in Singapore. Or has it been provided already? To answer this question, let us first understand the historical origin of the survey and mapping infrastructure in Singapore. Before that, let us distinguish between the vertical and horizontal (planar) components that shape Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure.

The vertical and horizontal survey control networks are references from which heights and 2D positions are obtained so that they are meaningful and consistent. This ensures that data is seamlessly integrated even though they may be acquired from different sources and eliminates any ambiguity with regards to the reference which measurements are obtained.

1.1 The Origin of the Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System in Singapore

If we look back at the history of surveying in Singapore, there was an attempt to establish

a local trigonometrical survey in Singapore as early as 1845 by J.T. Thomson. However, this survey was not completed. On a larger scale, the Trigonometrical Survey of Singapore commenced in 1890 and proved to be successful in providing an accurate and coordinated survey control network in Singapore back then.

More recently in 1992, the Survey Department and JTC jointly engaged NTU as consultants to investigate the feasibility of using GPS technology to modernise and densify the survey control network in Singapore. From the feasibility study carried out, a survey primary triangulation network was established using GPS technology. The survey triangulation network is known as the Integrated Survey Network (ISN). In 1995, additional control points were added to the ISN. With the completion of the ISN, a new system, known as the SVY21 system, was established and launched in August 2004 through a gazette.

The Singapore Precise Levelling Benchmark Network was first established in 1958 by the Survey Department. This vertical control network consists of points, each known as a

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Introduction

Benchmark, whose height values are known from a reference surface, known as the MSL. The MSL is determined from tidal observations taken continuously over long periods. Since the 1958 Precise Levelling Exercise, there had been extensions and revisions made to this vertical control network.

1.2 The Present

From the above, a survey and mapping infrastructure system exists in Singapore already, with the survey and mapping infrastructure consisting of the ISN and the Singapore Precise Levelling Benchmark Network. However, 2 other infrastructures will be considered in this report: 1) a model which converts GPS heights into heights referenced from the MSL, known as the Geoid Model, and; 2) a GPS facility, known as Singapore Satellite Positioning Reference Network (SiReNT). These infrastructures, whether physical or non-physical, will be the basis of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system, consisting of: 1) ISN; 2) SiReNT; 3) Singapore Precise Levelling Benchmark Network, and; 4) Geoid Model.

Thus, a survey and mapping infrastructure system exists in Singapore already. However, we need to ensure that it will not be obliterated or left in oblivion. To do this, there is a need to re-think methods and processes associated with Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system, so that the relevancy, adequacy and need for such a survey and mapping infrastructure system can be known and dealt with adequately.

“Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure Strategy 2007-2011” is formulated to address these issues.

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Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System

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Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System

2.1 Survey Services of the SLA

The Survey Department of Singapore commenced operation in 1826. In 2001, the Survey Department, together with the Land Office, Singapore Land Registry and Land Systems Support Unit, merged to form SLA. In 2004, the Survey Department was renamed: “Survey Services”.

Survey Services, SLA is primarily responsible for:

1)

a reliable survey and mapping infrastructure system in Singapore;

2)

maintaining an optimum standard of cadastral surveys in Singapore, and;

3)

providing superior service to our customers in the private and public sectors.

Thus, Survey Services is responsible for the ISN, SiReNT, Singapore Precise Levelling Benchmark Network and Geoid Model in Singapore.

2.2 The ISN and SiReNT

SiReNT, which was launched in September 2006, evolved from a project which involved the use of reference stations to improve the accuracy of positions acquired using GPS technology. SiReNT is physically represented by 5 reference stations strategically located throughout the island and provides many new opportunities to users for various geospatial applications.

The ISN consists of approximately 70 primary control points, mostly on top of HDB flats, and about 5000 secondary control points, all on ground, with coordinates in the SVY21 system. The ISN makes it possible for surveys to be connected to Singapore’s national survey and mapping infrastructure so all positions can be represented in a single consistent system.

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Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System

Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System Fig 2.1: Photos of Secondary Control Markers 2.3 The Singapore
Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System Fig 2.1: Photos of Secondary Control Markers 2.3 The Singapore

Fig 2.1:

Photos of Secondary Control Markers

2.3 The Singapore Precise Levelling Benchmark Network and Geoid Model

The Geoid Model is required for converting heights obtained using GPS into the local height reference frame. Presently, Survey Services is coming up with the Geoid Model for Singapore. This involves the use of benchmarks in the Singapore Precise Levelling Benchmark Network and new Benchmarks being established, known as Fundamental Benchmarks, to create the Geoid Model. Presently, there are about 500 Benchmarks and slightly over 10 Fundamental Benchmarks in Singapore.

New Fundamental Benchmark

over 10 Fundamental Benchmarks in Singapore. New Fundamental Benchmark Old Benchmark Fig 2.2: Photos of Benchmarks

Old Benchmark

over 10 Fundamental Benchmarks in Singapore. New Fundamental Benchmark Old Benchmark Fig 2.2: Photos of Benchmarks

Fig 2.2:

Photos of Benchmarks

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Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System

2.4 An Integrated Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System

Although it has been said that Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure consists of

the horizontal and vertical component, both are very much integrated, not least due to

the implementation of SVY21. With SVY21 and the Geoid Model, it is possible to convert

a GPS position into a format which the user needs: 1) coordinates under the SVY21

system, and 2) height in the local height reference frame.

The term ‘GPS’ appears so many times that one might ask: ‘Can we do without GPS in

our survey and mapping infrastructure system?’

The answer is “Yes”

While the ISN is the physical realisation of the SVY21 system, the Singapore Precise

Levelling Benchmark Network is the physical realisation of the Geoid Model. This means

that 2D positions and heights can be obtained from these physical infrastructures without

using GPS. Although this is not the envisaged scenario, these plans are in place for a

robust and reliable survey and mapping infrastructure system that is able to deal with

changing practical circumstances, including different methods of ascertaining a position.

3D position GPS + SiReNT SVY 21 parameters + For establishing Geoid Model Geoid Model
3D position
GPS
+ SiReNT
SVY 21
parameters
+
For establishing Geoid Model
Geoid
Model
Singapore
Precise
ISN
+ Levelling
Benchmark
Network
2D position with
height
For establishing ISN markers

Fig 2.3:

Integrating Singapore’s Survey and Mapping Infrastructure System with GPS positioning

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Vision

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Vision

“To have a world-class survey and mapping infrastructure system in Singapore”

As a world-class survey and mapping infrastructure system is paramount to fulfilling the land information needs of a world-class land authority, our vision for Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system is aligned with SLA’s vision: “To be a world-class land authority”. Thus, there is mutual support and recognition between the envisaged position of SLA and the need for a world-class survey and mapping infrastructure system.

For the survey and mapping infrastructure system in Singapore to reach ‘world-class’ standards, it must be reliable, accessible and consistent with international best-practices. As the survey and mapping infrastructure system in Singapore exists to support Singapore’s economy, security and development, it must be best-suited to the needs of the geospatial industry in Singapore.

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Goals

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Goals

To realise our vision of having a world-class survey and mapping infrastructure system in

Singapore, the following 5 goals are set.

4.1 Data

Goal 1

“To provide a reliable, accurate, updated, authoritative and easily accessible survey and mapping infrastructure system with instantaneous 3D positioning capabilities at an affordable cost to the user and provider”

The first principle of providing geospatial data at a national level is: “The user is able to

obtain the geospatial data he needs easily and uses it for his purpose with confidence.”

‘Confidence’ comes from a reliable, accurate, updated and authoritative survey and

mapping infrastructure system with known strengths and limitations. We aim to create a

self-sustainable survey and mapping infrastructure system from the sale of geospatial

data. However, the cost of acquiring geospatial data must not act as a deterrent towards

the usage of geospatial information for the greater good of Singapore’s economy,

security and development.

4.2 Technology

Goal 2

“To harness leading-edge technologies in geospatial data acquisition, management, analysis and visualisation for a relevant survey and mapping infrastructure system”

We aim to make use of relevant leading-edge technologies in the field of GNSS and

wireless communication to create the most effective solution for the management of

Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system so as to meet and exceed users’

expectations.

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Goals

4.3 People

Goal 3

“To continue to have capable human resources managing Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system”

We aim to increase the capacity of SLA’s Survey Services through a more varied work

scope. Therefore, officers maintaining Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure

system must be competent and skilled enough to deal with the changing needs of all

stakeholders.

4.4 Usage

Goal 4

“The public/private domain is aware of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system and will be using such geospatial information for their various needs”

We aim to extend the usage of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system to

include the maximum number of users. However, a pre-requisite for the above to be met

is the recognition of using geospatial information to achieve the user’s objective.

Therefore, there has to be an increase in awareness of geospatial information usage in

Singapore followed by educating the user on his specific needs. Thus, our policies shall

focus on geospatial information demanded by both public and private sectors.

4.5 Connectivity

Goal 5

“Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system is connected to the world and consistent with international standards”

The use of global systems for geospatial data acquisition, such as GPS, and data usage

on a global scale does not allow Singapore to be isolated from the world. Rather,

international best-practices, such as ISO standards, for geospatial information handling

shall be used as the guide for Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system so

as to allow geospatial information across different platforms to be integrated seamlessly.

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Strategies and Work Plans

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Strategies and Work Plans

Strategies were formulated to provide an overall framework for setting work plans to reach the goals that were stated earlier. Through these strategies, the best responses to the changing needs of the geospatial industry will be provided.

The strategies that are recommended target a specific goal and are grouped as follows:

Strategies

Goal targeted

 

1 to 7

1

8 to 10

2

11

to 12

3

13

to 16

4

17

to 18

5

10
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Strategies and Work Plans

Goal 1: “To provide a reliable, accurate, updated, authoritative and easily accessible survey and mapping
Goal 1: “To provide a reliable, accurate, updated, authoritative and
easily accessible survey and mapping infrastructure system with
instantaneous 3-D positioning capabilities at an affordable cost to
the user and provider”

Strategy 1

Ensuring the reliability of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system

Proposed work plan

1

2

3

To conduct a feasibility study on the use of a gravity survey for Singapore

To review existing procedures on the maintenance of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure

To re-adjust the Singapore Precise Levelling Benchmark Network

Strategy 2

Continuing to integrate cadastral surveys with Singapore’s survey and mapping

infrastructure system

Proposed work plan

4

To conduct a feasibility study on the use of RTK for cadastral surveying

Strategy 3

Regular review of policies regarding Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure

system

Proposed work plan

5

6

7

To establish an understanding with stakeholders who are involved in the protection and maintenance of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure

To raise public awareness on Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure

To review existing policies on the establishment of ISN markers

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Strategies and Work Plans

Strategy 4

Enhancing user’s accessibility to data

 

Proposed work plan

 

8

To

review

existing

data

policies

for

Singapore’s

survey

and

mapping

infrastructure system

 

Strategy 5

Legalising Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system as the official source of

information for all survey and mapping activities

Proposed work plan

9

To review the Boundary and Survey Maps Act (Chapter 25) and related Rules

Strategy 6

Pegging prices to customer needs

Proposed work plan

10

To create a price list of products from Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure

Strategy 7

Providing online processing capabilities in Singapore’s survey and mapping

infrastructure system

Proposed work plan

11

12

To carry out a market-demand study

To carry out a feasibility study

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12

Strategies and Work Plans

Goal 2: “To harness leading-edge technologies in geospatial data acquisition, management, analysis and visualisation
Goal 2: “To harness leading-edge technologies in
geospatial data acquisition, management, analysis
and visualisation for a relevant survey and mapping
infrastructure system”

Strategy 8

Utilising leading-edge technologies for GPS reference stations

Proposed work plan 13 To move from SIMRSN to SiReNT Strategy 9 Carrying out pilot
Proposed work plan
13
To move from SIMRSN to SiReNT
Strategy 9
Carrying out pilot projects using new technology
Proposed work plan
14
To use SMS technology for the dissemination of information on ISN markers
15
To use 3G wireless technology for the collection and dissemination of
information on Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure
Strategy 10
Initiating research projects with the academia for testing and development
Proposed work plan
16
To
establish
an
understanding
with
educational
institutes
on
research
initiatives
13
13

Strategies and Work Plans

Goal 3: “To continue to have capable human resources managing Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure
Goal 3: “To continue to have capable human
resources managing Singapore’s survey and
mapping infrastructure system”

Strategy 11 Providing training and retraining for officers managing Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system

 

Proposed work plan

17

To organise education courses with educational institutes

18

To organise internationally-recognised survey conferences in Singapore

 

Strategy 12 Sending our officers to seminars for networking and knowledge sharing

 

Proposed work plan

19.

To send officers for courses conducted by the private sector

20

To identify seminars and conferences for officers to attend

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14

Strategies and Work Plans

Goal 4: “The public/private domain is aware of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system and
Goal 4: “The public/private domain is aware of Singapore’s
survey and mapping infrastructure system and will be using
such geospatial information for their various needs”

Strategy 13

Providing guidelines on the use of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system

for surveyors and non-surveyors

Proposed work plan

21

22

23

To review existing and create new guidelines on the use of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system for surveyors

To provide information on the use of SiReNT for non-surveyors and surveyors in the SiReNT website

To provide guidelines on the use of the Geoid Model

Strategy 14

Educating the public and promoting Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure

system

Proposed work plan

24

25

26

To provide a list of terms on Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system

To publish a quarterly newsletter with the latest news on Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system

To disseminate information on the development of Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system in the SLA website

Strategy 15

Understanding the needs of our customers

Proposed work plan

27

28

To review information contained in the ISN datasheets

To conduct customer surveys regularly

15
15

Strategies and Work Plans

Strategy 16

Actively engaging users to realise advantages provided by Singapore’s survey and

mapping infrastructure system

Proposed work plan

29

30

To collaborate with the private sector in creating more applications for Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system

To increase the extent through which Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system can be used by various industries

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16

Strategies and Work Plans

Goal 5: “Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system is connected to the world and consistent
Goal 5: “Singapore’s survey and mapping
infrastructure system is connected to the world
and consistent with international standards”

Strategy 17

Adopting an internationally-recognised survey and mapping control framework

Proposed work plan

31

To constantly monitor SiReNT reference stations

Strategy 18

Adopting internationally-recognised data standards

Proposed work plan

32

To create the metadata for Singapore’s survey and mapping infrastructure system

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