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Singapore Establishes First Global Hydrographic Innovation and Technology Laboratory

Singapore and an organisation representing hydrography have officially launched the Joint IHO-Singapore Innovation and Technology Laboratory. The Innovation and Technology Lab is a collaboration between Singapore and the 95-member International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), which is located at PSA Vista near Pasir Panjang Terminal.

The Laboratory intends to make the most of IHO Member States’ resources by harnessing and developing emerging hydrographic technologies that facilitate safe maritime navigation and environmental protection. The joint work on the Singapore Innovation and Technology Laboratory will be focusing on the two pilot projects listed below:

  • Investigate the automated conversion of the IHO S-57 Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) to the IHO S-101 ENC. This project supports the development of the Dual-Fuel Electronic Chart Display and Information System.
  • Develop a digital Infrastructure to improve information exchange between harbours and hydrographic offices. The outcome of this project will inform the IHO S-131 Marine Harbour Infrastructure product specifications.

Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport, who inaugurated the lab yesterday (October 26), expressed his excitement for diverse stakeholders to collaborate on creative initiatives. They should finally be able to establish new global industry standards and test innovative ideas and technology in a field where no single country can make significant progress on its own.

“Singapore supports international efforts to develop hydrographic technologies that enhance the safety of navigation and protection of the marine environment. The Joint IHO-Singapore Innovation and Technology Laboratory is an important endeavour to harness the collective resources and expertise of IHO Member States. Singapore is honoured to be the host country of the Laboratory,” he added.

Singapore is contributing a $1.1 million in-kind fund to help support the lab’s first five years of operations, as well as seed financing for initiatives begun by the company’s lab. The science of surveying and charting the depths of the sea, the structure of the seabed, and the tides and currents are known as hydrography.

Although it was mostly used for navigational purposes in the past, a better understanding of these can help with activities as diverse as coastal conservation, maritime resource management, and environmental impact mitigation. Singapore suggested the lab, which was authorised by the international hydrology company member states at the second IHO Assembly last November.

In addition, MPA is conducting a four-part webinar series on integrated marine geospatial information management from October 26 to October 29, 2021, to coincide with the introduction of the Laboratory. Through the Working Group on Marine Geospatial Information, IHO, MPA, Open Geospatial Consortium, and the United Nations Secretariat for Global Geospatial Information Management are collaborating to host the webinar series.

OpenGov Asia reported that the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will focus on digitalisation to help companies innovate and improve productivity. The Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) will also present the Singapore Maritime R&D Roadmap 2030 to optimise R&D efforts and resources for greater value co-creation within the maritime industry.

Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “Innovation and digitalisation are key areas for Maritime Singapore to sharpen our competitive edge. We recognise that some companies need help to kick-start their digitalisation journey. With this in mind, we have formed the Circle of Digital InnOvators (CDO) network to champion the adoption of technology and innovation. We will also roll out the Sea Transport Industry Digital Plan to help SMEs in their digitalisation journey. We hope that through such efforts, we can bring the maritime sector to a new level.”

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