• 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

Category: Challenge 2012-13

Element Green Recycling – The Journey so far

By , 9 April, 2014 8:10 am

Today’s guest blog is from Ayo Isinkaye, CEO of Element Green Recycling, one of our winners of the  ‘How can we help British Business improve environmental performance?’ Challenge supported by the Environment Agency. Element Green Recycling won funding of £22,000 to develop their idea – ‘How to reduce costs and make money by separating your waste ’(Green Alchemist).



Waiting to hear if my proposal was one of the four winners for the GeoVation competition was the most nail-biting moment of my life. Element Green Recycling’s Green Alchemist project was the fourth name to be announced! I was cool on the outside when I stood up to collect our prize and smile at the camera, but I was doing cartwheels on the inside. Two days of working hard at the camp, refining and redeveloping my business idea had paid off. Continue reading 'Element Green Recycling – The Journey so far'»

Minecraft in the classroom

By , 26 March, 2014 8:00 am

Today’s guest blog is from Zoe Ross of Happy Education.  Zoe was awarded funding of £28,000 to develop her idea, GeoCraft, in our GeoVation Challenge, How can we help British businesses improve environmental performance, supported by the Environment Agency.

GeoCraft enables schools and local businesses to work together to encourage learning about sustainability through Minecraft,  a hugely popular video game set in virtual 3D worlds made up of cubes of different materials. Using Ordnance Survey data, it would stimulate children to think about environmental challenges and ideas to solve these, and could be fed back to the local business to implement. Zoe tells us what’s been happened since winning funding form GeoVation.

‘That was the best lesson ever!’

This is music to the ears of any teacher and something that I’ve been lucky enough to hear on many occasions in the last few months as I have been trialing our GeoCraft project with the Year 6 pupils at Yorston Lodge School.

Pupils’ delight in and enthusiasm for the club has been palpable and their feedback and suggestions for improving the project has been invaluable.

MineCraft building tatton park mansion

Building the Tatton Park mansion as part of our work on Knutsford

Continue reading 'Minecraft in the classroom'»

Wow! Winning the GeoVation Challenge

By , 6 January, 2014 8:00 am

As the closing date for the  current GeoVation Challenge to encourage active lifestyles approaches, I thought you’d enjoy this guest post from Gary Downie of  Streetkleen Bio, winners of our Business Environment Challenge.   In his post Gary explains some of the benefits of entering the challenge and what it can lead to.

“It’s  been 6 months  since Streetkleen Bio were announced as a winner of the GeoVation Environmental Challenge.”

“Wow” is the general consensus in the office when I make others aware of this fact….

….But what a 6 months it has been!

Let’s start by looking back….

1. understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed.

As Founder and Managing Director of Streetkleen Bio Ltd I can honestly say that entering the GeoVation Challenge was one of, if not the single best decision I/we have made as an organisation.

Photo of Gary Downie at Smarta Awards Ceremony

Dr John Walsh and Gary Downie attending the Smarta Awards ceremony at Cafe De Paris in London.

Six months ago we had been developing our ideas from a small garage in North Wales. Our idea of generating renewable energy from municipally collected dog waste was seen by many as a novelty, almost comical to some. However, we had Continue reading 'Wow! Winning the GeoVation Challenge'»

Creating a Minecraft map of Britain

By , 2 October, 2013 8:00 am

During the summer, Ordnance Survey welcomed a number of interns and one of them, Joseph Braybook, spent his time with our Innovation Labs team. An avid fan of the Minecraft video game, he suggested building a Minecraft world using OS OpenData products. In just two weeks Joe created a Minecraft world representing over 224,000 square kilometers of Great Britain  and now Ordnance Survey have made it available so you can download and explore!

Minecraft is a game set in virtual 3D worlds made up of cubes of different materials. Players build shelters, make things from raw materials and fend off a variety of monsters. Minecraft worlds are often computer generated, though dedicated players have also created meticulous recreations of real and imagined environments such as Hogwarts castle.

Image of Snowdonia in Minecraft

Snowdonia in Minecraft

To build the world two of Ordnance Survey’s digital map products that are freely available as OS OpenData for anyone to use, have been used to build:

  • OS Terrain 50: A three-dimensional model of the bare earth surface known as a Digital Terrain Model (DTM). The product is delivered as a grid with a resolution of 50 metres. We used this product to generate the Minecraft GB terrain.
  • OS VectorMap District: A mid-scale contextual or backdrop map product. We used the raster version, extracting surface features – for example water, woodland and roads – based on pixel colours and densities. We used this information to modify the material of individual blocks.

Continue reading 'Creating a Minecraft map of Britain'»

Infographic – How can we make GeoVation even better?

By , 22 August, 2013 8:00 am
In July we asked for your feedback on GeoVation and on our latest GeoVation Challenge which was focussed on environmental performance in business.
Environment GeoVation Challenge survey image
We asked how easy you find innovating with GeoVation,  how you found out about us, what you thought of the blog and how well you understood the process. We  also asked for your feedback on the various elements of GeoVation Camp.
To those of you that responded, thank you for taking the time to give  feedback to us, it really helps us to make GeoVation even better.  Congratulations also to Sian Goss, one of helpers at GeoVation Camp from University of Southampton Geography Department who won a £10 Amazon voucher in the GeoVation survey prize draw.  We’ve  summarised your feedback and put this in a great infographic – find out more…

Innovation from problem to pitch

By , 20 August, 2013 8:00 am

Ever wondered  what happens before we launch a GeoVation Challenge?  Who decides how we focus the challenge? What really happens at GeoVation Camp and how are the winners decided?

We’ve uploaded a presentation which details the journey of the GeoVation Environment Challenge -  from discovering the problems to idea generation and pitching and selection of winners at GeoVation Camp;  ‘ Innovation from problem to pitch’  which you can see  below.

To start off we ran a  Problem PowWow in Bristol with people who have perspectives on the barriers that hinder businesses from improving their environmental performance.to ‘unpack’ the problems associated with the challenge.

Continue reading 'Innovation from problem to pitch'»

Funding announced for green innovation ventures

By , 19 July, 2013 8:00 am

If you’ve been following the GeoVation blog you’ll be aware that we recently announced the four successful finalists from our GeoVation Challenge to improve the environmentHow can we help British Business improve environmental performance? Geovation Image

Following on from this the Judging Panel met on Wednesday to  confirm the amount of innovation funding the green innovation ventures will receive.   The £101,000 awarded by Ordnance Survey will be split as follows:

Carbon Prophet  will be awarded £29,000. They will use the funding to create a soil carbon map of the UK  using Ordnance Survey data, and a trading portal for carbon offsetting schemes.   Soil testing and the use of Ordnance Survey data will enable farmers to see the carbon levels in their soil and encourage them  to release the value of this, mitigating the effects of greenhouse gases by increasing the levels of carbon in their soils. Carbon Prophet also won the Community Award of £1,000.

GeoCraft  will be awarded £28,000 to develop their idea which will enable schools and local businesses to work together to encourage learning about sustainability through Minecraft. Using Ordnance Survey data, it will stimulate children to think about environmental challenges and ideas to solve these, which can be fed back to the local business to implement.

Continue reading 'Funding announced for green innovation ventures'»

How to win innovation funding for your idea

By , 16 July, 2013 8:00 am

We recently has a great response to our GeoVation Challenge calling for ideas that help British business to improve their environmental performance  and following the GeoVation Camp 4 ideas have been selected to receive funding to develop and launch their ideas using Ordnance Survey products and services.

If you missed our latest GeoVation Challenge you may be interested to find out more about GeoVation which is Ordnance Survey’s innovation initiative that helps communities address specific problems where geography and technology form part of the solution.

As a result of feedback we’ve recently refined the GeoVation process,  removing the Showcase element and providing more time at camp to help participants to be ‘match fit to pitch’ to the judging panel for a chance to win innovation funding at the end of the weekend.

In our video below, we explain the GeoVation process and the steps to win innovation funding from GeoVation.

Find out about what happens at a Powwow and how we launch the GeoVation Challenge.

Hear from camp participants about collaboration and what they gain from attending a GeoVation Camp.

Find out about the ‘Innovation = Problem x Solution x Execution’ formula.

Innovation without the smoke and mirrors

By , 9 July, 2013 8:00 am

Our recent GeoVation Challenge asked innovators to find ways to use mapping to help British business to be more environmental efficient and effective using Ordnance Survey products and services in the solution.  The finalists from the challenge participated in a weekend of no nonsense innovation at GeoVation Camp to work on developing their ideas.

Simon Redding of Environment Agency said:  ‘Participants here [the weekend camp] have shown simple ways of improving their business assisted by digital tools, clever business processes and working together.’

During the weekend innovators focussed on the formula that Innovation = Problem x Solution x Execution to help them to develop their ideas and be ‘match fit to pitch’ to the judging panel at the end of the weekend. Participants were impressed by the support offered which included help with design, technology and geography and by how their ideas progressed over the weekend.  At the end of the weekend 4 winners were selected to receive innovation funding to develop their ideas further.

Watch the Environment Camp video below to find out more:

Go to video on YouTube

Green ventures get the green light thanks to GeoVation

By , 4 July, 2013 8:00 am

Last week we announced the four successful finalists from our GeoVation Challenge to improve the environment that were chosen to be awarded a share of £100,000 in innovation funding to develop their ideas. They are:

In the video below you can see the reactions from the green ventures on being selected to receive funding and what they thought of the GeoVation Camp weekend.

Ant Parsons, Environment Agency Business Innovation Manager,  and a member of the the the judging panel said: “helping to judge this GeoVation Challenge has been really exciting. No one knew what sort of interest we would get to help business improve the environment but the entries offer solutions to a range of important and difficult challenges. What a great way to bring together environmental challenges that are important to people with entrepreneurs, designers, technology, geography and then see new businesses form as a result – brilliant!”

See more in our news release