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In order to help speed up the rehabilitation of the areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption, the University of the Philippines will open its map data of the volcano to the public for free.

About the Initiative

According to a recent report, the state university is allowing the public to access its map data of the aforementioned volcano and its surrounding areas through the UP Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry (UP TCAGP).

The map data was generated during the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM), and the Philippine Light Detection and Ranging 1 (Phil-LIDAR 1) programs.

The maps were generated by using the Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology, with resolution of up to 1×1 metre.

The maps can be used for planning and reconstruction of areas damaged by the Taal volcano eruption.

According to UP TCAGP Assistant Professor Mark Edwin A. Tupas, the use of data in conducting planning and reconstruction activities in the areas affected by the Taal volcano eruption is imperative.

With the Philippines being at constant risk from natural disasters, adequate data is needed for disaster risk reduction planning and operations.

As such, the LiDAR map database is being opened to help in the rehabilitation of those affected by the Taal volcano eruption.

The DREAM and Phil-LiDAR 1 Programs are both projects funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and monitored by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), which mapped river basins all over the country.

Users of the map data would need to properly cite UP TCAGP and the PHIL-LIDAR Program as the source of the information.

The Professor noted that while stringent Quality Assurance/Control protocols were in place during the program operation, there is no guarantee that the data is free of discrepancies, bugs or defects.

The data sets can be accessed here and can be opened using the most modern geographic information system (GIS) software.


From the high-resolution information, detailed 3D geo-visualisation, such as a hillshade, can be created.

The data set can be also used for geomorphologic modelling of areas pre-disaster and the accurate determination of heights for building delineated from satellite imagery, given the Digital Elevation Modelling (DEM) of 20 cm vertical accuracy.

Data acquisition was made from 2014 to 2017.

Utilizing Tech for Disaster Recovery

  • Tech innovations have proven their usefulness, particularly after disasters and calamities.
  • In Indonesia, for instance, the frequency with which natural disasters strike the country has inspired technology innovators to create new devices and applications to help minimise the casualties.
  • Deoterions is among the recent innovations. It helps detect victims of earthquakes buried as deep as 100 metres under building debris.
  • Developed by three students from Brawijaya University, Deoterions is short for “detector of interconnected position points”.
  • It is similar to a credit card and needs to be in the victim’s possession in order for them to be detected and saved.
  • The technology aims to speed up the rescue by finding the victims’ positions under the debris after the earthquake had occurred.
  • The rescue team only needs to have the mobile application installed to activate the card and begin the search.
  • The device could send out 915 Mghz radio frequency signals as far as 10 kilometres from the position of the victim. That signal can be received by other Deoterions users.
  • While Deoterions can help with rescue efforts, a different mobile application called AtmaGo aims to help people get out of harm’s way before disaster strikes.
  • The application gives users early warnings for fires, flood and crime, giving them time to prepare and take shelter.

India’s policy commission, National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), released its vision for the national data and analytics platform (NDAP), earlier this week.

The platform aims to democratise access to publicly available government data. It will host the latest datasets from various government websites, present them coherently, and provide tools for analytics and visualisation.

NDAP will follow a user-centric approach and will enable data access in a simple and intuitive portal tailored to the needs of a variety of stakeholders, a press release stated.

NDAP will spearhead the standardisation of formats where data is presented across sectors and will cater to a wide audience that includes policymakers, researchers, innovators, data scientists, journalists, and citizens.

The development of NDAP will take place over a year. The first version of the platform is expected to be launched in 2021. The process will incorporate feedback received from various users and stakeholders throughout the course of its development.

The vision document was released by the Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog, in the presence of the agency’s CEO. Senior officials from various ministries, state governments, academics, and researchers were also present.

In his opening remarks, the Vice-Chairman said that India has made tremendous progress in generating and using data for policymaking and programme implementation. It is time to build on these efforts to further strengthen the data ecosystem. NDAP, with its mission to be a one-stop and user-friendly data platform, is expected to go a long way in transforming India’s data ecosystem.

NITI Aayog’s CEO explained the context for the development of NDAP. He said that the organisation has always promoted and championed the use of data in all spheres of governance. It is therefore natural that NITI Aayog takes the lead in providing the nation with a simple and compelling platform

The Senior Adviser for the project. Image credit: NITIAayog; Twitter

where various datasets can be accessed together. This has been a longstanding gap in the data ecosystem, which NITI Aayog is now seeking to try and address.

The Senior Adviser, who is leading this initiative within the agency, expounded the need for NDAP: It seeks to address three main gaps. One, all datasets are not published in a user-centric manner that is analysable and visually presented. Two, there is a multitude of datasets out there that is not easily accessible. The NDAP proposes a simple, interactive, visual, and robust platform that will host various Central and state government datasets.

According to the vision document, the three main objectives are:

  1. User-centric: Data access is user-friendly and engaging, tailored to the needs of policymakers, bureaucrats, data scientists, journalists, and citizens.
  2. Coherent: Multiple data sets are presented using a standardised schema, by using common geographical and temporal identifiers.
  3. Up to date: Standard operating procedures are set to ensure data is updated regularly.

The success of the endeavour is dependent on the cooperation and support of various stakeholders. An inter-ministerial committee will oversee the progress of the development of the platform and a group of experts has been inducted into an advisory group to provide technical guidance for the development of the platform.

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) announced a new initiative to support innovative enterprises as they enter global markets. The initiative is called the Intellectual Property Insurance Initiative for Innovators (IPIII), and it will give innovative enterprises insurance coverage for legal expenses that may be incurred in intellectual property (IP) infringement proceedings worldwide.

The IPIII initiative was announced this week by Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung in his keynote address at the Singapore Bicentennial 1819 – 2019, hosted by City of London Corporation. Minister Ong was part of an official delegation comprising Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, and Dr Tan Wu Meng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry.

Innovators with SG Patent can get cost-saving insurance policy

Under IPIII, enterprises and innovators with a Singapore patent, trademark or registered design can take up an insurance policy with substantial cost savings that pays the legal costs of enforcing IP rights or defending against allegations of IP infringement, which can often be expensive and detrimental to business cash flows.

New business risks will emerge as more enterprises use innovation and digitalisation to grow and enter global markets. With over 60 million IP in force in the world today – about 10 IP for every 1,000 people globally – securing business interests with an IP insurance policy is emerging as a business priority.

This initiative comes at a time when value in the global economy is increasingly created in the form of intangible assets. For the first time in history, global intangible value surpassed US$50 trillion in 2018, making up more than half of the global economy. In advanced economies such as the USA, more than 80% of enterprise value of S&P 500 is already in the form of intangible assets. These trends are increasingly driven by Asian economies, with Asian IP filings growing at the compounded average growth rate of 12.7% from 2007 to 2017, twice as fast as the rest of the world according to figures taken from an IPOS press release.

“IP Growing faster than the world population”

Dr Bernard Ong, Group Director, Policy & Engagement, IPOS, said: “IP has been growing at a faster pace than the world population in the past decade. Yet, insuring IP is still nascent to a market that has witnessed multi-million-dollar patent litigation and trade disputes over IP theft.”

“The new insurance initiative is timely in a global economy increasingly powered by the new currency of intangible assets. Cutting edge initiatives such as IP insurance will anchor Singapore’s position as a financial and legal hub, and support our innovators and entrepreneurs as they expand into overseas markets with their IP.” said Mr Ong.

Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s data protection authorities today furthered their warm relations by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen cooperation in personal data protection in the two jurisdictions.

The MOU was signed by Mr Stephen Kai-yi Wong, Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data and Mr Yeong Zee Kin, Deputy Commissioner of Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) in Tokyo at the side-lines of the 51st Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) Forum.

Partnership promotes collaborative initiatives and information exchange in personal data protection

Under the MOU, the Hong Kong SAR’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) and Singapore’s PDPC1 will engage in the cross-sharing of experiences, exchange of best practices, joint research projects and information exchange involving potential or ongoing data breach investigations.

Mr Stephen Kai-yi Wong, Privacy Commissioner of the PCPD said, “The MOU marks the joint efforts of Hong Kong and Singapore in strengthening the cooperation between the two jurisdictions and provides a solid framework for promoting collaborative initiatives and information exchange in personal data protection. It also clearly demonstrates the PCPD’s strong commitment to stepping up cross-jurisdictional collaboration in exchange of expertise and information so as to better prepare Hong Kong to enter into the new ‘post-digital’ era.”

Mr Tan Kiat How, Commissioner of the PDPC said, “A strong collaborative effort with our counterparts in Hong Kong and other jurisdictions is needed to advance personal data protection and prepare for a Digital Economy. We look forward to strengthening our working relations to enable all parties to collectively benefit from best practices, research and the sharing of information.”

Hong Kong and Singapore continue to enjoy good working relations in global personal data protection, with both regulatory authorities being active members of international organisations such as APPA and the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. The MOU was the outcome of an initial discussion between the two authorities in September 2018, to explore opportunities to strengthen the partnership and develop bilateral platforms for the advancement of personal data protection.

Hong Kong and Singapore jointly develop guide to Data Protection

As part of the enhanced cooperation, Hong Kong and Singapore are also releasing a jointly developed Guide to Data Protection by Design (DPbD) for ICT Systems. This encourages organisations to pro-actively incorporate data protection considerations when developing ICT systems from the onset. The Guide assists organisations in applying DPbD principles through practical guidance for all phases of software development and good data protection practices for ICT systems.

After a gym in Singapore was found out to have CCTV cameras active in a ladies changing area, it sparked huge debate on privacy laws and personal data protection nationwide.

This week in Parliament, the Minister for Communications and Information was asked whether the Ministry has plans to better regulate the installation and access to CCTVs installed in public and private premises in the wake of the recent outcry of CCTVs in a private gym.

Minister for Communications and Information Mr Iswaran replied that The Police Licensing and Regulatory Department requires any person who provides CCTV installation or maintenance as a service to have a Security Service Provider licence under the Private Security Industry Act. These licensees must undergo security screening to ensure they are fit and proper persons to provide security services.

Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) includes personal data and details captured on CCTV

He also highlighted that under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), organisations are required to notify individuals of the purpose and obtain their consent to collect, use or disclose their personal data, including those captured by CCTV recordings. Also, organisations are required to protect personal data in their possession or control by making reasonable security arrangements.

The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) has issued advisory guidelines to help organisations deploying CCTVs comply with the PDPA. The advisory guidelines provide examples of good practices, such as placing notices at points of entry to a building or prominent locations in a venue, where individuals are able to read the notices prior to the collection of their personal data by CCTVs.

Organisations that fail to notify or obtain consent on data collection will face penalties

Organisations that install CCTVs but fail to notify or obtain consent from an individual for the collection of personal data, or fail to protect such personal data, are liable for breaching the PDPA. The PDPC will investigate and take enforcement action for breaches, which include issuing directions and imposing financial penalties.

The Australian Federal Government has created a National Data Advisory Council in order to manage data better and to drive innovation and economic growth.

The advisory council was created based on a recommendation of the Productivity Commission’s 2017 review of Australia’s data sharing and release arrangements. It also recommended a new Data Sharing and Release Act to replace the complex web of rules and regulations that have restricted data sharing between government agencies.

Advisory Board to focus on ethical data usage and data best practice

“Work on this legislation is already well advanced and will enshrine the principles of privacy and security, while also ensuring that Australia can continue to capitalise on the enormous benefits that data can deliver when used correctly,” said Minister for human services and digital transformation Michael Keenan.

The purpose of the council is to guide the Office of the National Data Commissioner on ethical data usage,  and technical best practice. This follows the Government’s plan to develop a new framework for sharing and managing public sector data announced last year in July.

“Data held by Government is a hugely valuable national resource that, when used correctly, can drive innovation and economic growth, help to better inform public policy, and deliver breakthroughs for researchers and scientists,” Minister Keenan said.

Advisory council representative of all Australia

There are nine representatives in the council, including are associate professor Nicholas Biddle whose research includes examining how to deliver economic and social benefits to Australia’s Indigenous population. Ellen Broad, an independent consultant in open data, data sharing and artificial intelligence ethics.

Paul McCarney, the co-founder of Data Governance Australia with more than 20 years of experience in data, technology and digital business. Joshua Meltzer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC who has examined the significance of the internet and cross-border data flows for international trade.

Also in the council is Lauren Solomon, CEO of the Consumer Policy Research Centre, an independent, non‑profit, consumer research organisation; and professor Fiona Stanley, 2003 Australian of the Year and research professor of paediatrics and child health at the University of Western Australia.

The Government members of the council are Australian Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, and Australian Statistician David Kalisch.

“But maintaining public trust is crucial in order to unlock the full potential that our data holds. That is why I’m pleased to have a council advising us that represents the full range of community views, including those of civil society advocates, researchers and industry” Minister Kennan added.

In recent times stakeholders from various sectors have started becoming proactively involved in identifying ways to improve justice. However, issues that hampered this mission include a lack of good governance thereby hindering the institution of an efficient, fair, transparent, and accountable system.

These issues can only be rectified through continued effort, necessitating cooperation from all sides.

Thus, a recent article reported on how Open Data and AI Technology can play an important role in rectifying the issues prevalent in the Thai justice system.

The adoption of such technology by many governments and agencies has reinforced direct representative democracy since it allows democratic engagement and empowers people in new ways.

Recently, the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) in collaboration with ChangeFusion and several partners held the 2nd Roundtable on Technology for Justice Series (Project j: jX Justice Experiment) under the topic “Open Data and AI for Participatory Justice”.

Open data is a set of machine-readable information that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere. Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools can be used to find insights and anomalies within such open datasets. For instance, AI can be used to enhance, deepen and accelerate routine data analysis so people can be free to monitor suspicious contracts or payments in depth. This can increase the rate of corruption prosecutions.

The Executive Director of the Thailand Institute of Justice stated that good governance has a direct impact on law and order. It requires a climate of respect for the rule of law, the existence of check and balances, transparency and accountability. A reform of the justice system in this sense asks for measures to ensure efficient and transparent procedures are performed in line with ethical standards.

He noted that Open Data is a key part of this reform as it encourages citizens active participation, by allowing them to look into government data and oversight its procedures.

In Thailand, Open Data and AI are being used in several sectors. For example, in an AI-powered customer support platform analyses data through AI. The data is then made public and people can help monitor real-time incidents, share information and offer suggestions to the government.

Moreover, AI can prevent road accidents by detecting blind spots crossing statistic data from Department of Highways, volunteers and insurance companies. Similarly, the KiiD project creates an ecosystem where people share information and contribute to the economic development, health and safety of an Innovation District.

Other platforms include data.go.th, developed by the Digital Government Development Agency; AI police for women by Royal Thai Police, a project geared to protect vulnerable groups namely, women and children victims of family violence.

It is essential to appreciate how valuable accurate data collection and sharing is in order to maximise modern technology.

Data that is collected and shared has the potential enable governments to operate more effectively; it is government’s responsibility to make information – like information on procurement, budget disbursement, government expenditures including taxes and justice related information – accessible to the public.

The Director a Thai News Agency argued that when the public sector refuses to share information, it might have a hidden agenda or the interests of those in power are at stake.

On the other hand, Open Data and AI technologies have limitations including machine bias, privacy issues and a lack of human empathy and emotions.

However, as these tools become more sophisticated as time goes on and they have the potential to alleviate the bias and inefficiencies facing the justice system while improving fairness and safety.

The reform of a fair justice system is indeed a challenging undertaking which calls for all stakeholders’ cooperation. Thus, Thailand’s government needs a concerted effort on the part of key stakeholders – policymakers, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and researchers – to promote a culture that embraces innovation and leads to more effective, transparent and responsive civil services and criminal justice systems.

In a previous report on Data.gov.sg, we learnt about an upcoming data visualisation competition for students from universities, polytechnics, junior colleges and institutes of technical education across Singapore.

On 3 February, the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) launched a nationwide competition, called the National Data Visualisation Video Challenge. It is a part of the Singapore government’s efforts to spur an open data movement and catalyse ground-up civic innovation.

Open data sharing is one of the key priorities in Singapore’s Smart Nation journey.  Opening up datasets and APIs (Application programming interface) can encourage citizens to make better informed decisions in their daily lives and drive innovation.

There have been several innovations, leveraging open data to make a difference to the daily lives of Singaporeans, including a real-time taxi availability heat map and zika and dengue hotspots.

The theme of the Challenge is “How Open Data makes a difference for you and me”. It is open to students from Singapore-based Institutes of Higher Learning (i.e. Universities, Polytechnics, and Institutes of Technical Education or ITEs) and Junior Colleges (JCs). Students can participate individually or form teams of up to 4 persons within the same institution.

Students will need to use and analyse government datasets from Singapore’s open data portal, data.gov.sg & other publicly available data sources to create an impactful visualisation video. All submitted entries must include a minimum of three datasets from Data.gov.sg to be eligible for consideration.

There will be two rounds of Judging – the Qualifying and Challenge Rounds. The Qualifying Round will be the submission of storyboards for the first round of evaluation. It ends on Friday, 28 April. Selected teams for the Qualifying Round will advance to the Challenge Round, where they will create the visualisation video of 60 to 90 seconds in length. The video can be in the form of animation, motion graphics, stop motion, and any other relevant video styles, which would best convey the story the participants are telling through data. The best three videos for the Challenge will be selected winners.

The judging will be based on 3 criteria: 1) Application and analytics of data– 40% weightage (How creative is the use of data? How effectively have these datasets been applied or cross-analysed?; 2) Quality and creativity of storyline for Qualifying Round and video production for Challenge Round – 40% weightage (Is the story idea easy to comprehend for the general public? How effective is it in telling the story? Is it creative enough to attract public attention and go viral?); 3) Impact and Insights generated– 20% weightage (Significance and benefits to the society? Ability to make the public realise the benefits of open data? How relevant is the story idea in relation to the theme of the Challenge?)

The criteria reflects the focus on making data meaningful and understable for regular citizens of Singapore. The Challenge would require cross-disciplinary collaboration between the computer science/analytics and visual media students.

The Challenge has received strong interest from the schools. It ties in with Singapore’s focus on cultivating data analytics and application capabilities among the youth, as it will be one of the core skillsets for jobs of the future.

The industry partners for the Challenge, Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Cloudera, and The Straits Times, will be providing support in terms of data analytics platforms and tools, prizes and judging. It is yet another example of partnership between government, academia and industry.

A briefing will be conducted at GovTech Hive on 17 February 2017, 1800-2100hrs (Sandcrawler Building, Level 8, 1 Fusionopolis View, Singapore 138577). Participants are required to register their interest (Name, Email Address, Number of pax attending) for the briefing by 13 February 2017 through competitions@data.gov.sg.

OpenGov TV Speaker Panel – Data Sharing

Part 1 of our OpenGov TV Speaker Panel series with OneConnect. Listen to this panel of experts from the financial services industry to get insights into data sharing!


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