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Keynote Address by Mr K C Kwong
Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting at the Signing Ceremony of the "Community Map on Internet" Project

08 April 1999

Mr Pope, ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to attend the contract signing ceremony of the "Community Map on Internet" project of the Lands Department this morning.

The Lands Department has established its computerised mapping system for several years. By utilising the state-of-the-art geographic information system technology, the Department has been producing up-to-date and versatile digital maps covering the whole territory. These digital maps are now widely used not only amongst Government departments but also by educational institutions as well as in the private sector by utility companies, engineering consultants and land developers.

The Department has been actively looking for opportunities to better serve the community using these digital maps. For example, in September last year, the Department launched the "Computerised Map Enquiry System for Tourists on Internet" project together with the Hong Kong Tourist Association to meet the needs of tourists visiting Hong Kong. Up to now more than 50,000 enquiries had been made through the system.

Encouraged by the success of that innovative project to serve the tourists, the Department has proactively pursued other ideas which would provide value-added service to the community at large. The "Community Map on Internet" project is the outcome of that process. The project will make use of the digital maps the Department has developed as the basis and show on these maps the locations of places of interest to the general public, such as public facilities, shops, restaurants, cinemas, public transport routes, and so on. In short, the project will provide an advanced and convenient system to help people to find their way around Hong Kong both for work and for leisure, and through an increasingly popular communicating medium - the Internet.

We have carefully examined the modus operandi for this project. We consider that the best option is to implement the project by teaming up with business partners from the private sector. The Department will supply updated digital mapping information, and the business partners will provide the mapping service through the Internet to the community. Also, the business partners will explore other business opportunities as add-ons to the basic service. This is a clear example of collaboration between Government and the business community to better serve the public through the use of advanced technology.

Centaline Property Agency Ltd. and Telecom Directories Ltd. - our chosen partners for this business venture - have both the necessary expertise in geographical information system and the marketing skills and networks to make this project work. And I wish them every success.

Thank you.