• 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

GeoVation camp – designing sustainable solutions to real problems

By , 9 January, 2014 8:25 am

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.
– Einstein

If solutions to real problems are to be successfully launched and sustained, they need to be carefully designed. That means not just designing the solution but also the venture model that will sustain the solution and allow it to scale. This is why design thinking plays such an important part of our GeoVation camps. The objective of GeoVation camps is to enable finalists to be “match-fit to pitch” for GeoVation funding. Continue reading 'GeoVation camp – designing sustainable solutions to real problems'»

Innovation Challenge winner joins our judging panel

By , 14 June, 2013 8:00 am

With the GeoVation Environment Challenge camp starting one week today, we are delighted to announce that Jason Davies, winner of last year’s Transforming Neighbourhood Challenge, has agreed to join the judging panel for GeoVation Camp which runs from 21 – 23 June.

Jason and colleagues won £41 000 (including the GeoVation Community prize) for their innovation venture Community Payback Visibility. This looks to use Ordnance Survey map data in a mobile phone app for the public to use, to nominate projects for Community Payback.

Jason graduated in modern languages (French and Russian) following which he spent several years travelling and teaching English as a foreign language. On returning to London, he worked as a BBC subtitler at TV Centre, before moving back to his home town of Birmingham to set up the live subtitling unit at Pebble Mill.

Jason had an opportunity to use his love of statistics as a data and GIS analyst with the Probation Service and National Offender Management Service, a role which has expanded to include leading commercial and digital projects in the world of criminal justice.

Since Jason has agreed to join us for the whole of the camp, from the Friday evening kick-off through to judging on Sunday, participants will have an opportunity to quiz him on what it is like to go through the whole of the GeoVation camp experience and what to focus on.

Jason joins the rest of our judging panel of Alison Prendiville (London College of Communication), Ant Parsons (Environment Agency), John Carpenter (Ordnance Survey), Quentin Johns (Hub Westminster) and our panel chair Roland Harwood (100%Open).

Добро пожаловать в жюри Джейсон! (Welcome to the judging panel, Jason!)

We can hardly wait until next Friday’s kick-off!

Real Food Wales at Wales Coast Path Anniversary

By , 3 May, 2013 10:55 am

So, with judging now underway in our current challenge, Chris describes yesterday’s All Wales Coast Path first anniversary event in West Wales and progress of our previous challenge winner.

GeoVation challenge partner, Ramblers Cymru hosted a fantastic event in Kidwelly, yesterday to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of the Wales Coast Path and to launch the Big Welsh Walk, which takes place around the path this bank holiday weekend. The Wales Coast Path was, of course, the subject of our previous GeoVation challenge: “How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coast Path?” which was timed to coincide with the official opening of the path on 5 May 2012.

Throughout the day, class after class of local school children (and adults) explored Wales and its coastline with Gwenda Owen, Ramblers Community Engagement Officer, on the enormous map produced by Ordnance Survey for Ramblers Cymru, and visited stands exhibiting activities on or near the path including local beekeeping, and allotment growing groups. In the afternoon MissionExplore (previous GeoVation winners) worked with several classes to produce mini mission explore booklets with children choosing their missions.

School children exploring giant map of wales

Local school children exploring Wales with Gwenda Owen, Ramblers Community Engagement Officer

Continue reading 'Real Food Wales at Wales Coast Path Anniversary'»

Geography and Supply Chain Integrity

By , 18 February, 2013 8:00 am

With the current focus on the integrity, resilience and sustainability of complex food supply chains – the journey food takes from farm to fork – this post looks at how three GeoVation winners and two GeoVation suppliers are challenging the status quo using geography and geographical information.

GeoVation “How can Britain feed itself?” challenge winner Foodnation : The People’s Digital Co-op has a mission to have neighbourhood Foodnation hubs within bicycle-riding distance of most UK households. It provides an on-line platform to connect customers and farmers in their local area, easily enabling them to buy and sell local organic food and find fruit and veg-box delivery schemes around the UK. This is supported by the Foodnation app launched in May 2012. Working with the Transition town network to pilot the scheme, Foodnation founder Louise Campbell sees the model for the Foodnation Co-operative as being fully scalable in transition towns across UK.

Continue reading 'Geography and Supply Chain Integrity'»

How geography and innovation can help build food security

By , 6 February, 2013 9:30 am

Our GeoVation challenge “How can Britain feed itself?” explored the role  geography and innovation can play in an agroecological approach to local food and farming. The emphasis is on building food security and sovereignty through connecting people to locally and sustainably produced food and farming. Geography is about the relationships between people, place, processes (natural and man-made) and planet and is therefore intimately connected to the land and how we use it. Our GeoVation Food Mapping Workshop explored how geography and geographic information can be used in local food and farming.

The links of geography to agro-ecological approaches to food and farming were again apparent at the excellent Oxford Real Farming Conference 2013 on 3-4 January. An ambitious programme covered numerous innovative developments in agroecological approaches to food and farming, from: policy to practice; collaboration and sharing business models for accessing land and production; and crowd funding for financing new initiatives.

Farmers, the world over are very innovative, but knowing whose doing what and where and what resources are available, is important in spreading good practice, knowledge and expertise rapidly. Technology, including social media, and geography is beginning to address that particular challenge. Our GeoVation challenge winners City Farmers, illustrate that in the conference  map they produced.

City Farmers Map of Delegates at Oxford Real Farming Conference

City Farmers map delegates at Oxford Real Farming Conference

Continue reading 'How geography and innovation can help build food security'»

Merry Christmas from the GeoVation Team

By , 17 December, 2012 2:21 pm

Dear GeoVators, Geovation Logo

First, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you  a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from GeoVation and Ordnance Survey. Thank you for all your support in 2012. We look forward to running some new challenges and events in the new year, as well as supporting our existing challenge winners.

Open your e-Christmas card www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/seasonsgreetings Christmas Tree

Happy GeoVating! and Best Wishes,

Chris, Viv, Luke and Ian


The team have been out and about over the last couple of weeks and are now back at Ordnance Survey, Southampton, planning more innovative events and challenges for the new year.

I’ve been to each of our surveyors conferences, presenting on GeoVation, OS OpenData, and OS OpenSpace.  I also participated in a lively and inspiring weekend Geography Camp, in the Peak District. Luke and Ian have completed a 4th busy series of OS OpenData Masterclasses. Ian and I and others from Ordnance Survey have worked with colleagues from Environment Agency on a one-day internal hackathon,  in Bristol. Last week Ian and I  hosted a day at Ordnance Survey for GeoVation winners, SWM Probation Trust and Food Finder and their developer teams, to look at how they will be using Ordnance Survey products and services in developing their ventures. These activities will be the subjects of some subsequent blog posts.

Meanwhile, Luke has enjoyed a long weekend in the “Big Apple” and Viv is taking a well earned holiday in Costa Rica. We are looking forward to hearing the stories and seeing the photos.

Our prize draw, for a chance of winning an Apple® iPad 64 GB or be one of five runners up who will win a VIP day at Ordnance Survey’s head office in Southampton, is still open until the end of March. We are really keen to hear  if you use OS OpenData.  If you tell us which datasets you use, and which you find useful and why, we will enter you into the prize draw.  Enter here

Season’s Greetings and enjoy your break, however you spend it!

Innovation in transport event speakers announced

By , 14 September, 2012 8:00 am

link to event information

The speaker programme for “Collaboration and User Innovation in Transport” has been announced. GeoVation is running the event at the Royal Society of Arts, London on 24 September 2012. The event is also supported by Ordnance Survey, the Ideas in Transit project, Department for Transport, Technology Strategy Board, and Forum for the Future.

With rapid developments in social media technology, smartphone apps, open data, and volunteered geographic information, in a context of doing more with less and doing that sustainably, the event considers:

  • The context for collaboration and user innovation with:

Ideas in Transit - Introduction to the prospects of user innovation. Professor Glenn Lyons, Associate Dean (Research and Knowledge Exchange), Professor of Transport and Society, University of West of England

Policy context for collaboration and user innovation. Andrew Goodwin, Strategy Unit, Department for Transport.

Continue reading 'Innovation in transport event speakers announced'»

A challenging task for the judging panel

By , 29 May, 2012 10:34 am

The Wales Coast Path GeoVation Challenge judging panel met last Friday on a sunny afternoon in Cardiff, kindly hosted by Ramblers Cymru, to consider the 62 great ideas submitted to the challenge: “How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coast Path?”

After lengthy deliberations the panel is homing in on a shortlist of ideas, and their owners, to be invited to the GeoVation Camp at the Novotel, Cardiff Centre on 22 – 24 June. However, because your ideas were so good there remain a few last decisions to be made before a final shortlist can be published. So hang on for a little bit longer folks and we will make an announcement as soon as possible this week

£115,000 Award Fund for Neighbourhood Challenge

By , 13 February, 2012 8:00 am

GeoVation Challenge-3_web_minus_url

Great news!! The award fund for our new GeoVation challenge “How can we transform neighbourhoods in Britain together?” has now been increased to £115 000, for the best use of Ordnance Survey products or services in addressing the challenge problems.

We will be looking to make up to 5 awards to the successful finalists at the GeoVation Showcase on 20 June at Ordnance Survey in Southampton. Finalists will be competing for a £40 000 first prize, and 3 runners-up prizes of £25 000each. Finally there will be a community awarded prize of £1 000.

So, post up your ideas, help develop others’ ideas through your helpful comments and, if you and your idea is invited to the GeoVation Camp on 18 – 20  May we look forward to welcoming and working with you then.

Good luck!

Mapping the Future of Food and Farming

By , 5 January, 2012 8:00 am

orfcWe are delighted to be hosting the Mapping the Future workshop at the Oxford Real Farming Conference on Friday. We’ll explore the challenges mapping can be used to address, with innovative examples and contributions from local food and farming pioneers including contributions from City Farmers, Food Nation, Sustaination, GeoFutures and Ordnance Survey.

We worked with the Campaign for Real Farming and Agrarian Renaissance when we launched Geovation’s “How can Britain Feed Itself?” challenge in June 2010. As a result we were delighted to be able to seed fund two innovative ventures, Food Nation and City Farmers that are using geography to help address sustainable, local food and farming. You can read about their ventures here on the blog.

Building on interest in the role geography can play, we held a Local Food and Farming Mapping Workshop, together with Tasting the Future at Ordnance Survey in July and produced this report from the day.