Student's cool heatmap shows real-time location of taxis in Singapore

PHOTO: Screengrab

Finding it hard to hail a cab in Singapore? Here's something that might give you a clue as to why. A first-year undergrad has created a heatmap showing where all of Singapore's taxis are in real-time.

Joseph Tang, who studies computer science at the National University of Singapore, retrieved the data from the government's open data initiative.

"I felt it was a shame to have all this open data and no one is making anything cool with it," he said.

Perhaps the biggest takeaways from the map are that there are around 7,000 to 8,000 taxis on the road at any one time during the day, and that they often concentrate in the city and airport areas. That's just over 10 per cent of the 57,000 active cab drivers in Singapore.

There currently appears to be eight APIs for real-time data listed on, including ones for weather forecasts, air pollution, and traffic camera images.

An API (application programme interface) is basically a way for programmers to manipulate data from external sources using minimal lines of code.

Joseph, who has a bunch of other side projects going on (see them here on his website), says he plans to create more data visualizations based on the APIs from soon.