Then & Now

Celebrations for Singapore's Golden Jubilee (SG50) have highlighted the rich history of our nation - let us take a trip down memory lane through our GIS app and reminisce about the changes Singapore has seen since 1954.

GIS Unit - Department of Geography
National University of Singapore

Find Out More


In August 2014, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) released a set of scanned images from published Street Directory maps for public usage through their OneMap web application, via the Historical Maps Gallery.

The 1st edition of Street Directory had approximately 70 map pieces, and evolved to include over a hundred map pieces in the later editions. As part of this initiative, these historical map pieces were scanned and uploaded for the public to access.

In this technological age of interactive maps, we wanted to make it easier for users to view and compare maps – to that end, we began work stitching map pieces together, and aligned them with a modern map of Singapore.

SLA also embarked upon a similar initiative to compile these map pieces, and encouraged the public to interactively tag old photos on the map, thus forming a nation-wide collage of memories. This culminated in the One Historical Map web application, launched by SLA on 4th December 2015, which showcased 5 of the historical Street Directory editions.

As of 29 Jan 2016, staff and student researchers from the GIS Unit have processed 18 editions of these historical Street Directory maps. We have now made these interactive maps available below for academic purposes.

View the maps of yesteryear!

Street Directory Maps of Yesteryear

Move the slider below to browse through the 18 editions of SLA Street Directory maps of Singapore
and compare it with today's OneMap from SLA

  1. 1954
  2. 1955
  3. 1956
  4. 1957
  5. 1958
  6. 1961
  7. 1963
  8. 1966
  9. 1969
  10. 1972
  11. 1975
  12. 1978
  13. 1981
  14. 1984
  15. 1988
  16. 1991
  17. 1993
  18. 1995
  19. 2016

Our Process

The map stitching and alignment efforts were supported by a group of part-time undergraduate student researchers.
Here is the general work-flow required to piece together each edition of these historical maps:

1. Consolidate

The thousands of map images from all available editions were either gathered from SLA or downloaded from OneMap.

2. Organise

Images belonging to a single edition were grouped together into their respective editions and labelled according to a naming convention.

3. Georeference

Each image was either manually or automatically aligned to a grid that referenced a vector map of modern Singapore.

4. Publish

Each edition of these maps of yesteryear was then published as an individual Map Service through a GIS server and ready to be used in a GIS app!

Road Map - What's coming up next?

While we quickly put together all available editions of Street Directory maps from SLA, we continuously strive to make the maps more usable to the research community. Here are the plans that we have pencilled in for the upcoming months:

Road Map

About Us

A university-level Strategic Initiative was awarded to the Department of Geography in 2013 with Professor David TAYLOR as the Principal Investigator (PI) leading the initiative, with the help of both Associate Professor WANG Yi-Chen and Associate Professor FENG Chen-Chieh as Co-PIs supervising the tasks relevant to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) component.

FENG Chen-Chieh


Associate Professor
FENG Chen-Chieh

David Mark TAYLOR

Principal Investigator

David Mark TAYLOR

WANG Yi-Chen


Associate Professor
WANG Yi-Chen

Get In Touch

This web app is currently in beta testing phase, and we would love to hear from you any feedback that may lead to better usability of these maps to support your academic research and/or module teaching.

The feedback gathered during this phase will play a key role in helping us shape the direction of our efforts and prioritise any new functionalities to be added in the near future.

If you are interested in using these historical Street Directory maps in your preferred software for research or module teaching, do drop us an email with details and we will get back to you with instructions as soon as we can.


Back to the Street Directory maps!

This web app is supported by the Geographic Information System (GIS) Strategic Initiative fund from the
Office of the Deputy President (Research & Technology) - National University of Singapore.

Last updated: 14 Sep 2016
GIS Unit | Department of Geography