• Steps to GeoVation funding - watch the video
  • Green ventures get the green light to innovation funding
  • How can we encourage active lifestyles? See the 74 great ideas

Welcome to GeoVation - Innovation Challenges from Ordnance Survey.
GeoVation Challenges address specific community needs, which may be satisfied, in part, through the use of geography. Entrepreneurs, developers, community groups, innovators can enter our GeoVation Challenges for a chance to win innovation funding to help develop their ideas. You can read our blog posts below and find out find out more about us, our challenges and how to enter.

GeoVation Opening Doors

By , 29 July, 2014 8:10 am

Today’s guest blog is from one of our finalists who took part in the recent Active Lifestyle challenge Jackie Roby.

One evening, in the depths of darkest January, I logged on to Facebook to find a message from a friend that read ‘Are you going to do it?’ with a link to the GeoVation Active Lifestyles Challenge. I’d never heard of GeoVation and with the challenge closing in less than a week I thought it was unlikely. At the same time I had an idea that had been floating around in my mind that fitted the challenge criteria well and before I knew it, it was the early hours of the morning and I’d entered the competition.

The week passed and a few days after the deadline I received and email congratulating me on becoming a GeoVation finalist. Oh. My. Goodness. This was happening!

Go WildMy idea to encourage more active lifestyles was ‘Outdoor Discovery Backpacks’, rucksacks stuffed with fun games, ideas and tools to help children and their families explore nature and the great outdoors. I wanted to create a fun and exciting resource that was available from local libraries that, using OS maps, would help families to discover and enjoy their local green spaces.

The GeoVation Camp weekend at the end of February, passed in a complete blur; meeting lots of innovative people with great ideas, learning all sorts of interesting things I’d never heard of such as paper prototyping, hearing from past winners and getting to pick the brains of inspiring people such as Andy Middleton. My teammate Dave and I bounced our way around Ordnance Survey head office, becoming known for our smiles and enthusiasm. I think a bit of delirium crept in too! Continue reading 'GeoVation Opening Doors'»

Growing Routes for business

By , 22 July, 2014 8:15 am

‘The Wales Coast Path should be an engine for regeneration and prosperity – encouraging businesses to launch and expand along its 870 miles, bringing jobs and opportunities to local residents.’ Richard Fairhurst.

Richard’s idea, ‘Growing Routes’, a website with online heat map to help business identify areas of opportunity along the Wales Coast Path and aid economic growth, received funding in the 2012 ‘Wales Coast Path’ GeoVation Challenge.

Wales attracted 890,000 international visitors spending £333 million during 2010, but this information is either not widely understood or contextualised for local businesses to exploit. Richard wanted to help business to take advantage of opportunities created along the Wales Coast Path and identify the ‘sweet spots’ to start or grow their business.

After receiving funding, Richard set about building the website and heatmap engine and pulled in data from the back-end database, displaying it attractively. The Growing Routes website was launched in October 2013 and the core of the site is an easily accessible, draggable and zoomable heatmap of Wales. It integrates open datasets from different sources; including OS OpenData, Meridian2, and several Natural Resources Wales datasets such as Landmap.

Continue reading 'Growing Routes for business'»

Young Rewired State’s Festival of Code 2014

By , 18 July, 2014 8:00 am

For the second year running, Ordnance Survey’s Innovation team are supporting Young Rewired State’s (YRS) Festival of Code, which is a week-long hackathon event for young people aged 18 and under. YRS is the philanthropic arm of Rewired state, which is the largest independent developer network in the UK.

Young Rewired State's festival of code

We’ve teamed up with The Cathedral Innovation Centre and Totton College to bring one of the YRS centres to the Solent region for the first time. Totton college, along with over 50 other centres, will host four-day sessions for young programmers in its state-of-the-art facilities and members from Ordnance Survey’s Innovation team will be on hand to help the participants create websites, prototypes and apps, demonstrating how geospatial information and technology can enhance their ventures.

Continue reading 'Young Rewired State’s Festival of Code 2014'»

i-teams – making innovation happen in governments around the world

By , 14 July, 2014 8:00 am

i-teams researchOn Monday 30 June 2014 I attended the i-teams – launch event at Nesta. It’s a report aimed at providing inspiration and guidance on the building blocks that a new generation of ministers and mayors can use to solve problems faster and more effectively.

Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive at Nesta since June 2011, welcomed us to the event. Under his leadership Nesta moved out of the public sector to become a charity in 2012; has launched a range of new initiatives in investment, programmes and research; and has implemented a new strategy involving partnerships with other funders in the UK and internationally.

‘Government have pioneered some of the greatest innovations in modern history. Driven by entrepreneurial and visionary leadership, city and national governments are capable of amazing things’ were Geoff’s opening words.

‘Governments face intense fiscal pressures and demands from citizens who want governments not only to tackle complex problems, but also to be effective at using new technologies as the best business. Much of the world’s public sector innovation is organized haphazardly, with short-term initiatives and odd consultancy reports or conferences rather than focused efforts.’

‘All governments need institutions to catalyst innovation.’

Continue reading 'i-teams – making innovation happen in governments around the world'»

Step up to the mountain challenge

By , 11 July, 2014 8:00 am

This September GeoVation winner, guerrilla geographer and explorer Daniel Raven-Ellison is going to step up to the height of Mount Everest (29,029ft) only using stairs in London tallest buildings.

How high can you climb by using stairs in your house, school or neighbourhood? Can you step up to the height of a mountain?

Image and link to Step up Mountain mapping tool

Inspired by Daniel’s urban expedition, Ordnance Survey have created this great step mountain calculator mapping tool to help you step up to the mountain challenge and calculate the buildings or  mountains you have climbed the equivalent height of: Continue reading 'Step up to the mountain challenge'»

Using open data to engage government and communities

By , 8 July, 2014 8:15 am

City Farmers is a community interest company, set up by Helen Steer and Pete Boyce in 2011 after receiving GeoVation funding in the GeoVation Challenge to help Britain feed itself. City Farmers helps local government and communities engage with sustainability issues through data, mapping and activism. They particularly focus on issues that involve food, micro enterprise and local economies.

City Farmers map image

The project began by researching existing growing provisions, communities, projects and challenges within Lambeth. The team specialises in using open data to create multi-layer maps, which have proved incredibly valuable at visualising and framing the problems, enabling conversations between individuals, communities, charities and government. It has developed a range of maps showing food growing, crime, education and various other types of ‘data topography’. City Farmers also support and create grassroots projects, run workshops and organize collaborations.

They started with a geographical focus on Lambeth, including specific areas such as Vassall Ward, one of the most deprived areas in Britain. Now more established, they have worked across South London, in Hackney, and even as far afield as Wales.

Continue reading 'Using open data to engage government and communities'»

Finding great food along the Wales Coast Path

By , 4 July, 2014 8:15 am

GeoVation winners, Helen and Nicola Steer’s idea for a mobile app to help visitors to the Wales Coast Path to find the best local, sustainable and delicious food was awarded funding in the 2012 Wales Coast Path GeoVation Challenge.  They wanted to connect them to local businesses and communities, benefiting those who live and work along the route and showcasing local food. However, the ‘solution’ came with its own problem: working around the poor mobile reception along the route, particularly in West Wales.

After receiving funding the sisters formed Mapkin, a small company based in South Wales and London, which uses mapping and technology to create and support social change. Mapkin’s team of five worked to develop the app; collecting data, coding, mapping and designing the user interface. The iPhone® app, Real Food Wales, was released as a pilot in Pembrokeshire in time for summer 2013.

Continue reading 'Finding great food along the Wales Coast Path'»

Storming to a very active challenge

By , 27 June, 2014 8:00 am

Each year everyone at Ordnance Survey has the chance to nominate, and vote for the corporate charity to support and put all of our fund-raising efforts into. For the next 12 months, we’ll be supporting Southampton Women’s Aid a charity which provides help and assistance to women, children and young people who are affected by domestic abuse.

On 26 and 27 July, a team of 5 runners from Ordnance Survey (including me, doing my bit for an active lifestyle!), are taking on a very active challenge, the Thunder Run 24hr to raise money for the corporate charity. This is a tough physical and mental challenge, because Thunder Run is a 24 hour off-road relay race over a 10km circuit against the clock. It can be completed solo or in teams of 2 to 8.  It’s  held in Catton Park in South Derbyshire. The varied terrain includes woodland, grass and track.

Image of Thunder Run team

Continue reading 'Storming to a very active challenge'»

Wales Coast Path – connecting communities and visitors

By , 24 June, 2014 8:00 am

In 2012 we ran a GeoVation Challenge asking for ideas to better connect visitors and communities along the Wales Coast Path, helping to stimulate economic growth and opportunities in the coastal areas.

One of the winners of the GeoVation Challenge was Living Paths!, an idea from Robin Owain to address the problem of lack of local information available on the Wales Coast Path. Some information is published in pamphlets but these are expensive to distribute and difficult to source. Publishing online is possible but can be difficult due to the complexities of web-authoring for most people. Communities in Wales often find it difficult to share information about their locality such as historic buildings, circular paths, geographical features and other points of interest.

Living Paths! Llwybrau Byw! is a project that aims to empower local communities along the Wales Coast Path to create Wikipedia® pages and post stories about their communities, allowing diverse local information to become accessible.

Local people know best about their locality, sights to see and facilities available and through Wikipedia, a digital encyclopaedia; they can share that information.  Better, richer information on Wikipedia benefits the users of the path as well as local people, connecting visitors with local communities through information on locations and points of interest (such as wildlife, shipwreck sites, castles, local tales etc).

Continue reading 'Wales Coast Path – connecting communities and visitors'»

Wales Coast Path GeoVation Winners

By , 20 June, 2014 8:10 am

In March 2012, we launched our Wales Coast Path Challenge ‘How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coat Path?’ – GeoVation partnered with the Technology Strategy Board’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) programme, and the Welsh Government. The Challenge was supported by  Ramblers Cymru and by the Inventorium programme.

Out of the 8 finalists, 5 winners were chosen and the winners received a share of £125,000 in innovation funding:

Snout Wales (from Oli – formerly Perfect Visitor Companion) – £40,000Wales coast path challenge logo

Real Food Wales – £30,000, plus £1,000 community award

Ap ogam – £30,000

Living Paths – £17,500

Growing Routes – £7,500

We caught up with the winners and partners last year and made the video below which gives a great insight to what they got out of the GeoVation Camp and what has been happening since the Camp.

Gareth Browning, Research & Development projects Senior Adviser, Welsh Government and Gwenda Owen, Community Engagement Ramblers Cymru, explain the benefits the Challenge will (and has) brought to the Welsh Coast Path community so far.

Helen and Nicola Steer, Real Food Wales, not only praise the GeoVation process on how open it is but also explain how they have managed to launch their product and the initial response/feedback they have had. While Richard Fairhurst, Growing Routes, explains how having access to the complete OS OpenData sets gave his idea a much broader target audience to his original concept. Robin Owain, Llwybrau Bywu (living Paths), is thrilled with the new role he has. Thanks to the GeoVation Challenge panel choosing his idea, Robin is now an employee of Wikipedia as the Welsh manager – congratulations Robin!

 

 

If you would like to find out more about GeoVation or our winner then read our booklet or visit our website.

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