Marvel-lous Singapore: Infinite Possibilities at your Fingertips
Imagine being able to access all of Singapore’s planning, real estate, car park, and land sales data on one platform, and using this information to create your vision for future Singapore. Check out what our urban planners have in common with the savvy Iron-Man, and how you can be a part of it today!
In the Marvel Universe, using holography for calls and operations planning isn’t novel. After all, Iron Man is arguably the best engineer in the (fictional) world.
What if we could plan all of Singapore using only handheld devices? You might say that sounds like fiction too — but it’s not. With the touch of a finger, urban planners can view planning, development control, real estate, land sales and car parks, all on one platform.
How? The ePlanner is a one-stop platform for advanced spatial visualisation and analytics. The geospatial urban planning analytics system integrates data from various sources to allow planners from URA and other agencies to easily access and analyse land-use planning information.
With ePlanner, access to clean, accurate and useable data has become easy. As it provides its users with clear and constant updates, planners are more aware of the situation on the ground, making them better equipped to anticipate changes and coordinate across various agencies.
Louis Zheng always knew he wanted a career that would be in service of others — a dream he is constantly striving to achieve. As a Senior Systems Analyst at URA, Louis and his team orchestrated an overhaul of the system’s architecture to support the growing demand for the platform.
They tirelessly worked to launch the new system with minimal user disruption, and later executed several re-writes to migrate technologies across platforms. Sound technical, difficult and stressful? It was — but today, it benefits millions of Singaporeans so they can live, commute and play in spaces that work for them.
Is Failure the Secret to Success?
Just like Iron Man, Louis wields cutting-edge technologies and innovations — and he’s never afraid to challenge the status quo. “I strongly believe that we can always be better, and we need to be open-minded and embrace new ideas or constructive comments. We must create room for failure as experimental work has a higher risk of failure,” he shares.
“Learning is a continuous process and I feel the constant need to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and ideas, especially since technologies are moving at a faster pace than ever before. The trends serve as inspiration for my team and me to improve our workflow,” Louis adds.
A regular day in his life means spinning multiple plates: working on system developments, reviewing user experience designs, discussing technical implementations, coding, discovering the nitty-gritty of the latest technologies, and breaking boundaries with new technologies.
Louis focuses primarily on Web and Web Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technologies and incorporating augmented planning information into apps.
Louis believes that technology will drive 3Rs in URA:
- Right location: Become better at locating facilities and amenities for users to reduce travelling time.
- Right size: Anticipate and address changing needs and demands
- Right timing: Increase responsiveness towards citizens and their needs
The Secret to a Rich Tech Career
“I love that my job gives me the rare opportunity to interact with planners from other infrastructure agencies such as MOH, MSF, JTC, LTA, and HDB. This is truly an example of one Public Service,” says Louis.
Besides working on technical tasks, he gets to listen to insider stories behind the history and development of Singapore. From discovering the historical significance of conserved buildings, to details behind maintaining a shophouse, or learning about the multi-dimensional considerations during the planning process, he has developed a better appreciation of the complexities behind the planning for Singapore’s land use and infrastructure.
He believes that having the right attitude, a willingness to learn, an openness to trying new approaches and striving for excellence has helped him in his journey.
To Louis, the best career is one that pushes you out of your comfort zone, encourages learning, growing, and problem-solving, and brings you to greater heights.