Connecting Dots Across Asia's Tech and Urban Landscape
Connecting Dots Across Asia's Tech and Urban Landscape

Google Puts Singapore Hawker Centres On The Map

For the first time, all 114 hawker centres in Singapore will be documented on Google Maps’ Street View by early 2020. Google and the organisations that are co-driving the nomination to inscribe Hawker Culture in Singapore on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, National Heritage Board (NHB), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Federation Of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore (FMAS) announced a joint initiative to document Singapore’s beloved hawker centres on Google Maps to make them discoverable to anyone curious about our hawker centres or looking for their favourite hawker stalls.

Street View Trekker at Chinatown Market

Home to many of Singaporeans’ favourite hawkers and the dishes they whip up, some of which have been recognised as the world’s first Michelin-star hawker stallshawker centres are a familiar sight in the Singapore landscape and an integral aspect of our nation’s intangible cultural heritage. They comprise multiple stalls set up within naturally ventilated premises that serve as community dining rooms, where family and friends gather at to enjoy and bond over familiar and well-loved hawker fare.

Google is working closely with the Singapore Government and relevant stakeholders to help hawkers in Singapore establish their presence online on Google Maps and Search. This will hopefully attract more customers and drive footfall to our hawker centres, and help the world learn more about Hawker Culture in Singapore. This will be done through:

  • Immersive 360-degree imagery of Singapore’s Hawker Culture using Google Maps’ Street View that visitors can browse to explore each hawker centre.
  • Useful information about individual hawker stalls within each hawker centre on Google Maps. This includes information about each stall such as its name, stall number, and photos that locals and tourists can easily access through an online search. Each hawker stall will also receive a separate pin on Google showing its exact location within the hawker centre, making it easier for visitors to find the stall of their choice.

Google will collect indoor imagery of all 114 hawker centres, starting with Chinatown Market, Geylang Serai Market, Tekka Market, Maxwell Food Centre and Golden Mile Food Centre, amongst others. As these centres are located across Singapore, from the city and recreational districts to HDB estates, operators will be travelling on foot using the new Street View Trekker, which comprises a state-of-the-art 360° camera system mounted on a wearable backpack, to capture the required imagery.

The imagery is expected to be completed and launched on Google Maps by early 2020, for the public to access. This initiative follows Singapore’s recent nomination submission in March 2019 to inscribe Hawker Culture in Singapore on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and its documentation of our hawker centres and stalls strengthens the safeguarding of our Hawker Culture for future generations.

  • Mr Amit Morya, Street View APAC Programme Manager said, “People love good food, and Singapore’s hawkers work hard to provide thousands of people affordable fare every day – this initiative helps bring this important culture into the digital age. By documenting all 114 hawker centres, we hope to help more people get a glimpse into this fascinating part of Singapore’s culture and ultimately help bolster the local hawkers’ businesses.”
  • Mr Lim Gek Meng, Vice-President of FMAS and Chairman of the Chinatown Complex Hawkers’ Association said, “Finding your way through a hawker centre can be confusing, especially for bigger centres, such as Chinatown Market. This project is beneficial to the hawker community as it will help customers to locate hawker stalls with ease. Also, with an online presence, hawkers are able to reach out to more customers, at no cost and with little effort.”
  • Mr Alvin Tan, NHB’s Deputy Chief Executive (Policy & Community) said, “Through this public-private partnership, we hope to create a comprehensive databank of all the hawker centres in Singapore so that we can better document and safeguard these hawker centres, and to make this databank searchable so that local and international fans of our Hawker Culture can find out more about each hawker centre and their offerings before making a trip down to patronise their favourite hawker stalls,
  • Mr Khoo Seow Poh, NEA’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Planning, Corporate & Technology) said, “This joint initiative will allow more than 6,000 hawkers to have an online presence on a platform that is widely used. Together with Google, NEA will involve key stakeholders, such as The Federation Of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore (FMAS), hawkers’ associations and hawker representatives of the various hawker centres, to collectively inform hawkers of this initiative and drive awareness of its benefits.”
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