Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) should consider offering the public greater access to detailed land information such as long-term urban plans, which are not easily available now, experts have said.

At an April 15 conference between the administration and information and communication businesses, Lam Nguyen Hai Long, chairman of the HCMC Computer Association, said the southern Vietnamese city should allow non-state entities to utilise data just like state authorities.

“Data is an asset. The more they are used the more effective they are. Data that are closed off are dead data. They should be utilised by the public and businesses.”

They could be asked to pay for the data, he said.

Urban construction works should submit their “digital profile” to relevant authorities well before they are completed so that the city could update its database quickly without having to digitise it themselves, he said.

This would allow the data to be utilised promptly.

Ngo Dien Hy, deputy director-general of the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunication Group, said: “Land information systems are being kept separately, but they should be incorporated into a shared database with detailed data on land planning and prices.

“It will then become a valuable open source of information.”

Neighbouring countries such as Singapore allow the public to pay and access land data online as a public service, he said.

Department of Information and Communication director Lam Dinh Thang said the city planned to develop an easily accessible open data source.

“The city is focusing on solutions to boost data connectivity and develop shared databases.”

People’s Committee chairman Phan Van Mai said the city’s digital transformation needed to ensure drastic development for the city as well as the country.