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82 projects to improve lives using open government data submitted in GovTech’s 1st Data Visualisation Video Challenge

Above photo: Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Dr. Janil Puthucheary with the top winners and supporting partners of the National Data Viz Video Challenge/ Credit: GovTech

The finals of the Government Technology Agency (GovTech)’s inaugural National Data Visualisation Video Challenge were held today in Singapore.

The Challenge themed “How Open Data makes a difference for you and me” was launched in February 2017. Students from universities, polytechnics, junior colleges and institutes of technical education (ITE), were asked to use and analyse government datasets from Singapore government’s open data portal, Data.gov.sg[1] & other publicly available data sources to create an impactful visualisation video. 

The objective of the Challenge was to encourage greater use of open government data, starting with students, to raise awareness, catalyse innovation and create greater economic value, in line with Singapore’s Smart Nation vision. The Challenge was supported by six industry partners, namely Amazon Web Services, Carousell, Cloudera, Microsoft, Google and The Straits Times.

There were over 80 submissions by more than 200 students. Following eight months of preparation and selection, 12 teams made it to the finals to create a video with data visualisation to share how open data could improve lives. 

The 12 teams used a range of open government datasets, including the number of seniors and locations of eldercare services, data on water consumption and water supply sources as well as recidivism rates to derive interesting insights and present them through a video story. The students displayed the ability to cross-analyse data and come up with tools such as automating the income growth and key expenses of users until their selected retirement age.

Team CEJM from Nanyang Polytechnic emerged winners with their video exploring the use of solar power in Singapore. The team used half-hourly system demand data from Data.gov.sg, data on solar photovoltaic systems (Energy Market Authority) along with information from the National Climate Change Secretariat. They found that using the most efficient solar panels currently available 36 sq. kilometres of solar panels would be required to obtain solar energy for powering all of Singapore’s energy needs (click here to view video posted on the Straits Times’ YouTube channel). 

Ryzal Kamis from Singapore Institute of Management (Global Education) was the runner-up with his project exploring an integrated application to help them filter primary, secondary and special education schools within a certain proximity (through postal code). The application takes into account accessibility criteria for disabled students.

Data resources used include Data.gov.sg (for list of all Schools by Cluster; list of All Schools by Level of Education; list of school addresses 2016; secondary Schools by Planning Area, School Type, and Distinctive Programmes; secondary schools with special needs facilities resources; wheelchair-accessible bus services), Ministry of Education (for list of SPEDor special education schools; primary schools by planning area; integrated programme) and the School Information Service (for the schools directory).

ABang Data Team with members from National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) won the third prize with their project exploring the valuation of HDB (public housing) purchases using a method used for stocks – the price to earnings ratio.

The insights show that public property prices in Singapore do go down over time and citizens should be aware that relying on a HDB flat alone might not be sufficient for one’s retirement. The team used data on resale prices of Singapore HDB from 2007 to 2017, the HDB Resale Price Index from 1990 to 2017 and HDB median rental price from 2007 to 2017 from Data.gov.sg.

Other insights gained by the students using open government datasets included the requirement of more eldercare facilities in Singapore, the pressing need for water conservation in Singapore, and the importance of social acceptance to prevent ex-offenders from re-offending. The details of all 12 finalist projects can be found here.

Dr. Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education, and Minister-in-charge of GovTech, was the Guest-of-Honour for the Finals. Dr. Janil presented prizes to the top three winning teams. 

Ms. Jacqueline Poh, Chief Executive, GovTech, and one of the judges in the Finals, said, “I am impressed with the videos and encouraged by the strong support from industry partners. Aimed at driving Singapore’s open data movement, this Challenge brought together students from different tertiary institutions in Singapore, and enabled them to see the usefulness of the open government data that is available to the public. GovTech will continue to cultivate this culture of co-creation with our citizens and industry.”

[1]The one-stop portal provides access to more than 1,200 high quality datasets from 70 public agencies. As of September 2017, there were over 30,000 government dataset downloads from Data.gov.sg, and about 2 million API calls per month from the Developer’s portal.

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