SINGAPORE - Public sector engineers are expected to draw information and technologies from different agencies and sectors, and to build the enabling technological infrastructure for the nation, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Thursday (June 2).

He was speaking to 1,300 public sector engineers during the inaugural Public Service Engineering Conference held at ITE College Centre on Ang Mo Kio.

Such cross-agency work can enable comprehensive and integrated solutions, he said.

He gave an example of planners from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and various government agencies accessing and visualising different sets of data such as demographics, road networks, and people and traffic flow, to make more informed urban planning decisions, both at the national and local level.

"These include planning for infrastructure needs such as roads and drains, and also where to locate social facilities such as parks, hospitals, eldercare facilities, and childcare centres," he said.

Commending the work of the engineers, he mentioned the innovative engineering beneath the Marina Bay area which houses the world's largest underground district cooling system, which allows an unobstructed view of the bay.

The 20 giant chillers, 8 km of pipes, 25 cooling towers, and 79 heat exchanges, are "ingeniously hidden away,"he said.

He also cited an "old but still relevant example" of the Infrared Fever Scanning System used during the SARS outbreak in 2003. The system was adapted from a military thermal imager.