Lost in Singapore? No longer with Google Street View, iSingeo, Gothere.sg

Google Street View car spotted in Singapore
Photo source: CNet Crave

Hurray! Google Street View is confirmed to be coming to Singapore in a few months (via Singeo). Similarly, Street View launched in Japan earlier this year, much to the delight of Jon on Yongfook.com

What kind of fun can you have with Google Street View in Singapore?
Here are some ideas…

With Singapore being so geographically small, I’ve been somewhat puzzled why it has taken so long for Google or Yahoo! to present better mapping services for Singapore. While the low priority could be due to our relatively small market size, there’s definitely no shortage of local GIS developers ready to jump on board. Let’s not forget, with the demand for location-aware mobile applications (e.g. iPhone), there’s bound to be plenty of fresh money to be made in this industry.

If anyone needs a clue, check out these two mavericks who have reworked Google maps into their own design…


Making the case that more Singaporeans require walking rather than driving directions (a current default of Singapore’s Google Map), mapping extraordinaire Jon of Singeo.com.sg has developed isingeo.com for the traveling iPhone user.

For those who us who can’t stand typing on miniscule keyboards, iSingeo lets you pick landmarks from several pulldown menus (obviously find ones near you), then points you on the direction and the time it would take to get there, all through an optimized Google Map iPhone interface.

It’s such a waste of Jon’s immense experience in this field isn’t already being tapped on by Google, Yahoo! and even the local government. Developers like him are willing to contribute to the local online scene, yet are stifled by having to manually chase down the relationships they need.

What if a real interface designer took over Google Maps?

What if a real interface designer took over Google Maps?
Oh yeah, you get gothere.sg!

As a brainchild of KK, Dominic and Jeremy, gothere.sg was recently redesigned by the talented designer, Jussi Edlund. Most Singaporeans know about gothere.sg, but if you’re not a local, go see. Doesn’t the interface feel finger lickin’ good?

The unique selling point of gothere.sg is how it gives you the kind of contextual information you’d typically from a full featured Google Maps, but is somehow missing from the standard Singapore Google Map. Just as you might experience Google Maps in metropolitan cities like San Francisco, you’ll be able to get the directions, distance, estimated time, as well as cost of public transportation.

There are easter eggs in there if you look hard enough, such as what it tells you when your destination is just a short walk away: “Come on, don’t be lazy, walking is a good form of exercise“. It’s the human touch.

Plenty more features have been added, such as integration with HungryGoWhere.com. Singapore web service providers should quickly hook up with GoThere.sg where they can… I do think that there’s a sore need for a local web ecology.

79 thoughts on “Lost in Singapore? No longer with Google Street View, iSingeo, Gothere.sg

  1. Hi Kevin, thanks for the plug and the kind words (wish they were deserved…). Location based stuff is finally coming of age and Singapore is such a great place to experiment with stuff. Densely populated, high internet penetration, wi-fi, 3G etc etc.

    You’d think the Singapore Government would be all over this, but I’m afraid Jussi Edlund’s experience with the LTA is typical.

    Singapore needs a “Data Tsar”, a Senior Minister responsible for forcing Government bodies to get the public’s data into the public’s hands. Then they can just sit back and see what cool things bright people (like those at gothere.sg) come up with. Hell, the amount they pay Singapore Ministers, I’d do it….

    Jons last blog post..Google Street View coming to Singapore?

  2. Jon, I love the idea of a “data tsar”; reeks of techno-politics.

    The government, being a single entity, can no longer take the gatekeeper approach. This is way too slow, and isn’t optimal to take advantage of the many potential developments waiting to happen thanks to Singapore’s talented citizens.

    I’d argue that besides a single minister pushing a better ideal, govt agencies need to holistically work in a “parallel processing” approach, to be able to delegate and crowdsource, rather than think they can do everything on their own.

    The amazing problem here isn’t the lack of talent, but the government’s closed door approach to innovation. It’s a privileged problem, but a real problem nevertheless.

  3. Wow, thanks for the kind words about the gothere design. Keep your eyes open and hit that refresh button at gothere.sg every now and then, though. There’s a lot more in the pipeline. 😉

    jussis last blog post..gothere.sg redesign

  4. We’ve linked gothere.sg maps on some of our webpages over at http://www.moe.gov.sg. I’d have liked to embed them, but the info bubble is open by default and takes up a lot of the map viewport.

    I’m immensely proud of Singeo and the Gothere team. 🙂 Way to put Singapore on the map.

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