Esri Singapore’s Senior Lead Geospatial Consultant, Sharon Gin, has been selected from among 600 nominations for the 2021 Singapore’s 100 Women in Tech (SG100WIT) list in recognition of her achievements in the geospatial industry.

Organised by the Singapore Computer Society (SCS) in partnership with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), SG100WIT recognises and celebrates inspirational women in Singapore making significant contributions to the tech industry.

The list is part of the Singapore Women in Tech (SGWIT) initiative that aims to attract, retain and develop female talent across the country’s rapidly expanding tech sector.

How do you feel about being included in this year’s SG100 Women in Tech list?

It’s an honour to be recognised among Singapore’s top 100 women in tech. It not only affirms my years of hard work and perseverance, but also my decision to choose this career path.

If you’re meeting someone for the first time who isn’t from the GIS industry, how you would describe what you do in the simplest?

I would explain how all the information and data we have has a location tied to it — where you work, live, study, shop, and so on.

My job is using this information to make life easier, faster, and more productive. For example, identifying the fastest route to your destination that will also be the most time and fuel efficient; the best locations for your new store based on foot traffic, demographics and purchasing trends; routing water pipes in a cost-effective way that ensures rapid and consistent service delivery.

These are just a few examples of how location information impacts our everyday life.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

For most people, a problem or challenge at work would normally be a source of concern and many sleepless nights.

It’s quite the opposite for me — I look forward to applying a geospatial perspective and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking to come up with new solutions for complex challenges.

COVID-19 has been quite a ‘complex challenge’. How has geospatial technology supported some of the hardest-hit sectors such as infrastructure and construction?

COVID-19 brought many projects to a halt — especially with travel and movement restrictions and social distancing requirements hindering team collaboration and forcing a shift to an alternative way of working.

We started seeing organisations use drones for reality capture to generate 3D models and visualise digital designs of the construction projects in their geographic locations allowing remote inspections and minimising the need for large teams to be on site.

Interior 3D scans have also started catching on allowing the visualisation of detailed building designs to complete virtual inspection protocols and safe management measures required for TOP.

The tech also enables organisations to keep staff safe and abiding by safe management requirements using smart wearable devices to monitor and track workers’ locations at work sites.

Beyond enabling remote project monitoring, how else has geospatial technology changed processes in the construction sector?

If anything, COVID-19 has expedited the need for digital transformation in the construction industry — and many others as well — to enable efficient work processes and information sharing.

There are several moving parts when it comes to planning and executing a project, which makes being able to share and visualise data in a single platform accessible to all departments even more critical.

Being able to view proposed construction or infrastructure projects in a geospatial context not only ensures projects are approved internally, but also that they do not negatively impact the built or natural environment around it.

For example, determining where to build a new high-rise can be evaluated based on how its design affects surrounding buildings and parks and in turn how the new building will impact residents and services in the area.

What can other industries learn from the transformation that’s underway in the construction industry?

Geospatial technology applications are not limited to the construction sector, or the framework created by COVID-19.

Cities and nations around the world are moving towards smart technologies and there’s evidence of the value uncovered by those who have started their digitalisation journey.

At Esri Singapore, we’ve seen the technology being used in several applications including site suitability analysis, emergency management, climate change, public safety and many more.

Almost any aspect of our daily lives can be impacted, changed or improved with geospatial technology.

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