To promote the development of Hong Kong into a smart city, the Development Bureau (DEVB) and the Lands Department (LandsD) have earlier launched the Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) portal (portal.csdi.gov.hk) and the first 3D Visualisation Map dataset for free public use in a bid to facilitate the development of all kinds of applications by the public, thereby promoting the digital economy and improving living standards. This time, I have invited colleagues from the Spatial Data Office (SDO) under the DEVB and the LandsD to tell us more about the portal and the dataset. Some of the users who have developed applications by making use of data on the portal will also share with us their experiences.
What is spatial data?
Being one of the key initiatives under the Hong Kong Smart City Blueprint, the CSDI has been developed to provide a map-based digital infrastructure as a one-stop platform to link and consolidate spatial data from various government departments. Head of SDO, Mr CHAN Yue-chun, says that spatial data is closely related to our lives. In short, spatial data refers to geographical location information such as data on maps, transportation and school locations. Similar to products in a supermarket, spatial data is sorted into categories on the CSDI so as to make it easy for members of the public to look for suitable data for application development.
CSDI and its portal
Land surveyor of the LandsD, Ms HUNG Ching, Charlie, says that the DEVB and the LandsD commenced the development of the CSDI in 2021. More than 500 spatial datasets from various government departments can now be made available through the CSDI portal, covering aspects such as planning, lands, buildings, works, population and transport. Framework Spatial Data Themes, such as “Building”, “Land Parcel” and “Address”, are also available on the portal to provide location references for other datasets. Members of the public can search, browse and download different spatial data from the CSDI portal.
Kowloon East as pilot project area for generating 3D Digital Map
Meanwhile, the first 3D Visualisation Map dataset is made available for public use through the CSDI portal. The 3D Visualisation Map, the 3D Pedestrian Network and 3D Indoor Map are all 3D digital map products developed by the LandsD.
The use of the first 3D Visualisation Map dataset for generating a 3D digital map with Kowloon East being the pilot project area has great significance for demonstrating how spatial data can be used to promote the development of a smart city in Hong Kong. The dataset covers about 6 500 buildings and some 420 infrastructures (including flyovers and subways) in Kowloon East. Finer and more realistic models are produced for 10 landmark buildings in the region, including the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, CIC-Zero Carbon Park, Kowloon East Government Offices, large shopping malls and MTR stations. The dataset is available for download in a variety of open and computer-readable formats.
Collection of LiDAR Point Cloud Data during surveying
To ensure data accuracy and reliability, the LandsD makes use of helicopters to capture a large number of oblique aerial photos, and adopts various advanced mapping technologies, such as the vehicle-based mobile mapping system and portable mobile mapping systems, in addition to traditional surveying. The collected 3D information of the city will be converted into LiDAR Point Cloud Data and 3D images for display on computers, and the data will then be integrated to generate various 3D digital map products.
Audio navigation for the visually impaired
In January this year, we collaborated with the developer of indoor navigation technology to launch “Walking Assistant”, a new function in “My Kowloon East (MyKE)” mobile application, providing indoor and outdoor seamless audio navigation for the visually impaired or those in need. Currently, the function covers MTR stations and iconic shopping malls in Kowloon East. The representative of the developer, Mr Ivan CHEUNG, says that they have created the function effectively by making use of the 3D Pedestrian Network, “Topographic Map API” and “Location Search API” on the CSDI portal.
Hong Kong street car-racing games
Separately, many companies, young people and students have already availed themselves of the information and data on the CSDI portal to develop different applications. For example, Mr Pluto MOK, person in charge of the Hong Kong street car-racing games, says that, by obtaining LiDAR Point Cloud Data on maps, topography, roads, public facilities, buildings, etc. via the CSDI portal, they are able to create a number of 3D models on 1:1 scale with the help of certain drawing software, thereby making the game scenes look more realistic. In the future, they will continue to make use of data on the CSDI portal to create different runways.
Flight simulators for professional training
Likewise, Mr Mattis TSANG, person in charge of an innovation and technology company in aviation, says that, by making use of 3D spatial data including digital 3D models of buildings, infrastructure and topography on the CSDI portal, they are able to create a vivid simulated flight environment with the help of motion screen recording software, when designing and making flight simulators. As their flight simulators are designed for professional training, the provision of an accurate flight environment is of vital importance. Being more sophisticated and precise, spatial data made available on the CSDI portal not only enriches the flight training experience, but also helps improve flight safety.
To promote spatial data and its application, the Geospatial Lab established by the DEVB organises various types of activities, such as workshops, feature talks, competitions and experience days, for public participation. The CSDI roving exhibition held last month featured various interactive games and exhibits, enabling participants to better understand spatial data and its practical application. In April, the exhibition will be moved to the City Gallery in Central, and those who are interested should not miss it.
The launch of the CSDI portal and the release of the first 3D Visualisation Map usher in a new era of map production from 2D digital maps. To cater for the needs of the community, we will continue our efforts to open up more spatial data while encouraging wider public use of the data, thereby promoting the development of Hong Kong into a smart city in a joint endeavor.
5 March, 2023Back