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The innovation of URA online map services make easier for search function

The innovation of URA online map services make easier for search function.

An entrepreneur who wants to know if a private shophouse can be used for a spa or a restaurant business can now find out for free via a revamped online map services website by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Called URA SPACE (Service Portal and Community e-Services), the website contains information on land matters, such as land use plans, urban design guidelines, property use and approval, car park locations and availability, private residential property transactions, and conservation areas and buildings.

In a blog post yesterday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said more than 33,000 people write in to the URA every year to ask for information on land matters. The majority of the queries received by the URA are on the permissible uses for a shophouse, such as whether a shophouse can be used to operate a restaurant, spa, pub, an office, or whether it can be leased or owned for other uses.

In the past, it would take the URA up to seven working days to search its records. And because of the time and effort involved, it would charge a fee for the information. For example, enquiries on the use of shophouse premises would cost S$53.50, inclusive of Goods and Services Tax. Now, the information is freely available on the portal in an easily searchable way, Mr Wong said.

The data is presented in the Geographical Information System format with a 3D map feature. The new service will be piloted for six months to find out whether there is a need to further enhance it. In a media release, the URA said that the portal also provides private property market transaction information by property type. There is also a data service that provides real-time parking availability in URA and HDB car parks, as well as car parks that supply data to the Land Transport Authority.

The URA said the portal is accessible on multiple devices, including Apple and Android tablets, and there are plans to add more information and features in the future. Mr Wong also said there is still much more that the Ministry of National Development can do to tap the power of digital technology.

“For example, the use of big data and data analytics can be a game-changer in the way we design, plan and develop our future urban landscape and HDB housing estates. “We will continue to innovate and strive to make information more accessible and user-friendly, and bring better service (at) your fingertips,” he said.

Adapted from: The Straits Times, 3 June 2016