For a city known around the world as a bustling center of trade and commerce, one of the most amazing things about Singapore is how green it is.
While open spaces are highly valued, nature is a vital part of the island nation’s psyche, with citizens flocking to the parks, beaches, and gardens at their leisure, and in a city where the future is constantly being reinvented, what better way to achieve that. Ensure green spaces continue through smart technology?
Radar Pro Technology Have already seen how to do this City grass is being trimmed by IoT technology, but the natural extension also seems to extend to the trees themselves.
Despite its office blocks and tightly packed roads, Singapore is proud to call itself the City of Gardens, and nowhere is this more evident than in its Botanic Gardens.
Established in 1859, the gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are a popular destination for locals and tourists alike to relax, play sports, or simply sit and observe the thousands of plant species on display.
The national parks are run by the government’s National Parks Board (NParks), which manages and oversees a wide range of different tasks as it looks to transform itself from a city of parks, says Tan Chung Lee, assistant chief executive. Radar Pro Technology It will be a “city in a garden”.
NParks has taken Singapore’s affinity for technology into full gear, with Lee noting that it has around 150 research and digitization projects currently underway as it looks to adopt a science-based approach in its future work.
One of its largest projects involves the care and management of nearly two million urban trees across the island. With a total of about seven million trees in Singapore, they provide a welcome respite from the concrete jungle of the city’s business districts, helping to clean up pollution and cool temperatures.
But in order to make sure this vital resource remains protected, NParks in partnership with Govtech, the technology arm of the Singaporean government, has now put its two million tree care online. Using lidar technology and machine learning, each tree is scanned to create a digital twin that is loaded onto a virtual map that outlines the city.
In addition to providing a tree’s location, this digital twin provides information such as height and girth, which can be compared to average rates for its species to determine how it will grow, and when it might next need pruning.
As any gardener knows, pruning is vital to encouraging new growth, but for urban trees, it can also be an important safety protocol, as overgrown branches can block road signs or speed warnings. The data produced by the digital twin can be modeled to determine when urgent work is needed, reducing waste and manpower resources while maintaining a high level of safety.
However, the information can also be used to benefit the trees themselves. Satellite images can be used to identify trees with low chlorophyll, as they appear yellow or brown, to alert them that they need immediate attention. The council has also attached wireless tilt sensors to trees potentially at risk of falling, providing data on how much tilt they might be.
All of these technologies have so far helped reduce the annual number of what Lee calls “tree accidents” from 3,000 in 2000 to less than 500 so far in 2022.
In order to create more connection, all of the 2 million trees online have also been listed at TreesSG online database (Opens in a new tab). Users can access the database to find trees near them, report any issues they may have spotted, and even email the trees to say thank you for the natural benefits they bring.
So it seems that when it comes to keeping you healthy, trees might be the ones to do it – and that certainly applies to Singapore.