The National Library Board of Singapore decided to apply geospatial technology to assist with the visualisation of library data and to gain insights on the geographical coverage of its public libraries. These insights help to inform its decision making, especially in library planning and customer outreach.
Geospatial for library management is not a common application. What prompted National Library Board to use geospatial technology?
The National Library Board (NLB) oversees a network of 25 public libraries across the island state. Last year, these libraries handled a combined total of approximately 36 million visits and 33 million loans. With so much transactional data on hand, NLB has decided to apply geospatial technology to assist with the visualisation of the library data and to gain insights on the geographical coverage of its public libraries.
Can you brief us how geospatial technology is used in managing, analysing and presenting libraries data?
Patron and library usage data are geo-coded and visualised on a Singapore map. In addition, the library data is overlaid and enriched with other government data such as urban planning area and demographics data to enable more in-depth analysis. Through geospatial technology, NLB is able to understand the borrowing trends by geographical areas and to discover correlations between the location of libraries and historical loan transactions. These insights help to inform its decision making, especially in library planning and customer outreach.
Is there any plan for future expansion of this technology usage?
We are still developing and refining the geospatial analytics model. Once developed, the system will be used by staff from various divisions to support decision making. Beyond business analytics, NLB hopes to use geospatial technology to provide spatial discovery of Singapore historical content, e.g. archived maps and photographs.
I understand the system is developed by Singapore Land Authority. How was technology transfer exercise conducted?
The project is a collaboration between Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and NLB. SLA will assist with the development of the geospatial analytics models and train NLB staff to maintain and support the system.
In your opinion, what would be the best approach to encourage more non-traditional users to adopt geospatial technology?
Start small and engage geospatial experts to develop a Proof-of-Concept or prototype. The prototype will help to demonstrate the capability of the geospatial technology and assist you in making an informed decision to invest on geospatial technology.
Ms. Liau would like to thank Mr. Lau Tack Guan, Assistant Manager, Geospatial Development from Singapore Land Authority for his inputs in this interview.