It seems that One Maps come in threes: Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia each have one.

So why have these governments – independently – created centralised maps that all departments can use? What do they do? GovInsider has mapped out their purpose below.

Indonesia

Indonesia One Map

Indonesia’s OneMap project has been created to solve a specific problem. The country needs a single, standardised map to prevent the annual haze crisis caused by illegal forest fires.

Without a common reference, agencies have used their own maps for planning – leading to overlapping land permits and ambiguous boundaries. This confusion allows illegal logging to flourish.

Indonesia launched the project in December 2014. While most central government agencies have shared their data on OneMap, few local governments have been forthcoming.

Apart from fire and haze tracking, the map would also be useful for planning disaster relief and attracting investments to remote parts of the country.

President Joko Widodo reinforced the importance of this project at the climate change conference in Paris on 30 November. “In the field of land and forest management, we have conducted a One Map policy,” he said, adding that the country will review how it issues permits to use forested land.

Malaysia

1Malaysia Map

1Malaysia Map is more experimental. The government created it to encourage people to trial using mapping software for new tools. Agencies and citizens have free access to it. Malaysia now wants to see how citizens will use the map to find information and create new services.

The map shows locations of services like dining, shopping, education, tourism, accommodation, banking, recreation, petrol stations and emergency. It also allows citizens to add their own landmarks, and is a very accurate map for route-finding software or navigation.

Singapore

OneMap Singapore

Singapore Government’s OneMap is used by agencies to create apps. Instead of rebuilding a map from scratch for every app, agencies are able to use OneMap for their new location-based services. The recently launched myResponder app was built with this map.

The map was launched in March 2010 and is used by 83 government agencies. It can be used to search for location-specific data on demographics, transport, property and schools. The website also has themed maps with locations of services for recreation, culture, education, sanitation, health and emergencies.

The government is now developing a central 3D map called Virtual Singapore. “It will be a platform to bring the government, citizens, industry and research institutions together to solve problems, for example to simulate wireless coverage or effects of heavy rain,” said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when launching the Smart Nation initiative last year.

Reading the ley lines

Each country has taken a different approach with its One Map project. Singapore is currently using it in the most concerted way: the project has Prime Ministerial backing and is being adapted to include 3D imagery.

Indonesia’s OneMap also has high-level backing. It was started in the President’s Delivery Unit under former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. However, it has not yet shown strong results or support. In years to come, it will become an important tool for the government to coordinate against pollution, however.

Malaysia’s project is rather neglected, but it could be useful for business owners and app developers to create new services. The government’s use of maps to track crime hotspots shows that it does use GIS tools to improve services.

OneMaps come in threes. But, in their own way, they are all unique.