• 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 2009-10

Innovate with GeoVation – the book!

By , 5 March, 2013 8:00 am

We’re really excited! For many months now we have been working on Click here to download booklet creating a GeoVation booklet to include information on  GeoVation Challenges and case studies on winning ideas – and now its published!

The booklet  has some interesting facts about GeoVation which has been running since October 2009.  In that time:

  • 1448 participants have registered
  • 509 ideas have been submitted
  • 57 teams have participated in GeoVation Camps and
  • 20 winners have been awarded a share of over £435, 000 in innovation funding to develop their ventures.

GeoVation Challenges are open to entrepreneurs, developers, community groups, government and individuals.  They are focussed on finding innovative and useful ways of using geographical information, including open data and tools, to build new ventures that will generate social, economic and/ or environmental value.

We’ve made the booklet available online,  so you can find out more about how you can innovate with GeoVation, the GeoVation journey,  the ideas we have funded so far and the people who make GeoVation happen.  We’ve also made the case studies available individually on line – see our case study map.

Download your copy of the GeoVation booklet and find out more!


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'»

Putting our innovation winners on the map

By , 14 November, 2012 8:00 am

In this post you can find out how many GeoVation Challenges we’ve run, how much innovation funding has been awarded, and where our GeoVation winners are on the map!

The GeoVation initiative was started by Ordnance Survey at the end of 2009 to encourage open innovation in addressing communities’ needs where geography is a key enabler.  Since then we’ve given innovation funding to 20 new ventures so they can develop their ideas.

To date we’ve run 5 GeoVation Challenges. We believe that for innovation to succeed it needs to have its foundations in a real problem worth solving and so, after our first ‘general’ GeoVation Challenge , we’ve themed our GeoVation Challenges. We’ve posed questions intended to generate social and environmental value from the ideas submitted, such as ‘How can Britain feed itself?’, ‘How can we transform our neighbourhoods?’ and ‘How can we improve transport in Britain?’ We’ve also run more location specific challenges, such as asking how we can connect communities and visitors along the new Wales Coast Path.

Over the course of these Challenges 1448 people have registered, 509 ideas have been submitted and 57 teams have attended 4 GeoVation Camps. Participants invited to the weekend GeoVation Camp benefit from being taken through a process that prepares them to be “Match fit to Pitch”  – able to describe their idea and the problem they are solving in a 2 minute ‘pecha kucha ‘style presentation

Continue reading 'Putting our innovation winners on the map'»

Our first GeoVation winner maps the way…

By , 10 May, 2012 8:00 am

THE world might be getting smaller, but according to a recent news story one in 10 children cannot find the UK on a map

Thanks to our GeoVation winner, MaxiMap pupils are being given the chance to brush up on their geographical skills with their enormous floor-sized maps which can be used as a teaching tool to expand pupils’ knowledge of the world.

Ann Jones of MaxiMap said “I was head of history at Cefn Hengoed and there was a lack of knowledge among the pupils, they didn’t know where the countries were. I spoke to teachers in other disciplines, in things like geography and English and they found the same. People would say to pupils ‘somewhere to the north of Scotland’ and they wouldn’t know where it was.”
So Ann commissioned a giant floor map of the British Isles and took it into the classroom to highlight cities where civil disturbances took place in the 19th century for her Year 10 GCSE pupils. Ann then joined forces with Llanelli printing company Heritage Screen Print and set up MaxiMap, a partnership which has seen the business go from strength to strength. In 2010, MaxiMap won the GeoVation Challenge .

Children using Maximap
Current new teaching aids include a periodic table and a political map of the world too. Around 200 of the giant floor maps have been sold to schools and companies, including 50 to CAA Publishing in Aberystwyth, who purchased them with a grant from the Welsh Government and provided them to schools across Wales. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust recently ordered nine of the maps to be used in their educational programmes, and Ramblers Wales have purchased a map for events relating to the opening of the Wales Coastal Path.

MaxiMap at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge

By , 8 December, 2010 9:35 am

MaxiMap, who were one of last year’s GeoVation award winners have been out and about with their giant floor map. Below we hear what happened at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust(WWT) at Slimbridge:

Dominic Carmichael, Learning Manager WWT National Wetland Centre says:  The World floor map was a great success with the learning team at our meeting in Slimbridge; they all wanted to buy one. The impact of seeing the map first hand was immediate and striking. In fact there was talk of buying several from central funds.

Learning Managers from WWT centres in Washington (Tyne and Wear), Arundel, Llanelli and Caerlaverock (Scotland).

Learning Managers from WWT centres in Washington (Tyne and Wear), Arundel, Llanelli and Caerlaverock (Scotland).

We talked about the way we used the map during the half term activities in Llanelli and how we might use it for activities during “World Wetlands Day” 2012 – which will be on the theme of wetlands and forests. The joy of the map is to be able to talk world wide and then spin in to a local picture too without so much as the press of a button. Yes you can do it on Google earth but this is more immediate, I’d say – and because it is not IT based it has a novelty value too.

Llanelli volunteer Margaret Phillips-Jones trying to demonstrate what hard work it is for Greenland white-fronted geese to make it all the way to the UK each winter!

Llanelli volunteer Margaret Phillips-Jones trying to demonstrate what hard work it is for Greenland white-fronted geese to make it all the way to the UK each winter!

Win free promotion on Mission:Explore for the Spring 2011 relaunch

By , 1 December, 2010 8:53 am

Last year’s GeoVation Challenge Award winners, Mission:Explore, are offering mapping organisations the chance to create bespoke sponsored activities – find out more below.

We are offering 3 mapping organisations the opportunity to create bespoke sponsored activities on our Mission:Explore website and iPhone app for free. The winners will be able to locate their challenge in multiple locations across the UK.

Mission:Explore currently includes over 1,000 missions. There are location specific missions like ‘Share tee with the Queen‘ and anywhere missions like ‘Flash dance!‘ which is sponsored by National Geographic Education as part of Geography Awareness Week.

Missions can be located anywhere in the world and appear as sponsored by our parnters. Each mission usually costs £99 a year (much less on an ‘unlimited’ plan) and includes a bespoke activity, your logo, a link, some words about who you are and a waterproof sticker.


Above is an example from Ed Stafford and here is one from The Workshop in central London.

To win:conversation-cow

  1. Chose a single type of place (park, square, footpath, trig-point etc.) where your mission(s) will appear. You need to know where these places are.
  2. How many of these types of places would you like to locate the missions?
  3. Suggest between 1 and 5 missions that you would like to appear in this type of place. Keep these to 200 characters or less.

2. Email your idea to hello@missionexplore.co.uk before 10 December 2010. We will then choose up to 3 winners based on how good the missions are, where they would be located and how capable they are of locating them.

The winning organisations will have their missions on www.missionexplore.co.uk and the iPhone app for at least 1 year.

That’s it. Any mapping/G.I.S. expert or organisation can enter. We will be looking for mission ideas that fit in with how we do things, other than that you can suggest what you like and enter as many times as you like. Our decision is final and we reserve the right to do anything we want. Good luck!

Mission:Explore Travel

By , 27 October, 2010 9:40 am
We have an update from Mission:Explore whose next book looks at how we travel:

It is great to see that GeoVation has attracted such a fantastic sum to be invested in help find an answer to how transport could be improved in Britain. Travel has been on our mind for some time and so we have decided that one of our next books will focus on how we get around. Mission:Explore Travel the book is due out in April 2011 and to wet your appetite here are just four of the challenges and activities. Do let us know what you think. Many of the missions will be appearing on the GeoVation supported www.missionexplore.co.uk soon.

Travel 3
Find your journey's beat
Travel 1

If you have any ideas on   ‘How can we improve transport in Britain?’ enter the GeoVation Challenge and you could win a slice of £150 000 in funding.

Mission:Explore – Love Outdoor Play

By , 22 September, 2010 9:55 am

Daniel Raven- Ellison  tells us more about Mission:Explore – Love Outdoor Play.

Would you or your business be interested in helping to create places for children to play?

Our GeoVation is Mission:Explore, a project to write and share thousands of missions for (young) people to complete all over the world. The purpose of Mission:Explore is to help young people learn about and see the world in new ways. Geography is at the heart of the project not just in terms of children thinking about the world but also because we hope the missions will help to extended the limits in which children are allowed to play.

paper boat.1Love Outdoor Play is a sister project in which we are building an alliance of individuals, charities, businesses and associations in order to create visible communities of support for outdoor play. Here’s the manifesto:

“Having the freedom to play outdoors improves the well-being of children and their communities. Together, we are building a visible community to support reasonably safe exploration, adventure and play. Wherever you see a Love Outdoor Play sticker or symbol, you’ll find people who welcome play and are looking out for young people.”

“We are asking people to take a very simple action. Make or get a Love Outdoor Play sticker and put it up where you live or work. Research shows that in many communities we’re afraid of what other parents will think of us if we let our kids out to play or walk to school. By putting a sticker up you not only show that you support outdoor play but can start a conversation about how play can be improved for children where you live” explains Daniel Raven-Ellison, one of Love Outdoor Play’s organisers.

Transparent-design-2-10x10The Love Outdoor Play symbol is available under a creative commons non-commercial share-alike license. As long as you are not making a profit from the symbol and credit Love Outdoor Play anyone can use the symbol.

Since launching we have gained a large number of supporters including Lenore Skenazy (Free Range Kids), Tim Gill (No Fear: Growing Up in a Risk Averse Society), Sue Atkins (Raising Happy Children for Dummies), Sue Palmer (Toxic Childhood), Nicola Baird (Homemade Kids), Bethe Almeras (Grass Stain Guru) have come together with explorers Benedict Allen, Olly Steeds, Jake Meyer, Alistair Humphreys and Bonita Norris in an effort to get more children playing outdoors again. The campaign is also supported by Play Scotland, Play England, the Campaign for Adventure, Digi Mums, Play Association Tower Hamlets, Institute of Outdoor Learning, Alliance for Childhood and the Association of Play Industries. A full list of supporters can be found at www.loveoutdoorplay.net.

Love Outdoor Play dovetails naturally into our work with setting challenges for children to do, not least the location specific activities on the GeoVation supported Mission:Explore app and website. If children are to go and complete missions they need to have the support of their community to do so.

Anyone can join the Love Outdoor Play campaign. We are especially keen to find a corporate supporter that is willing to help pay for a print run of campaign stickers. If this sounds of interest please do get in contact with us at LoveOutdoorPlay@TheGeographyCollective.co.uk.




Two Firsts for MaxiMap

By , 15 September, 2010 2:49 pm

MaxiMap, winner of last year’s GeoVation Challenge, attended its first TeachMeet. Rowena Wells tells us how it went:

TeachMeet Pembrokeshire  held on 17 August was the very first TeachMeet in Wales. It was also first time MaxiMap has attended and sponsored a TeachMeet.teachmeet1

For those not in the know, TeachMeets are amazing get-togethers organised by enthusiastic teachers for other enthusiastic teachers and are happening all around the UK. A clear indication of job dedication is shown by the fact that all TeachMeet events are organised, and take place, in the teachers’ free time.

TeachMeet Pembrokeshire was expertly organised and hosted by Bev Evans, a teacher at the Pembroke Dock Community School where the event took place and teachers came from far and wide (Manchester and beyond!) There are a variety of 7 minute, 4 minute and 2 minute presentations by the attendees, selected at random by an electronic teachmeet3one-arm bandit. So, as well as goodie bags, good nosh and a chance to socialise, the teachers get to share exciting and innovative ideas with one another.

The events are steamed live – and TeachMeet Pembrokeshire got 125 unique visitors during the day, many of whom tweeted comments which were shown on-screen.

So a very big MaxiMap thanks to Bev and the staff at Pembroke Dock School and thanks to Bev for the photos.

The GeoVation challenge – ideas in action

By , 27 August, 2010 8:37 am

Andy Berry, one of the winners of last years Geovation Ideas Challenge,  updates us on the progress with his idea of using “Openstreetmap for Local Authorities Gritting Routes”.

Gritting Routes Update

Since my original idea last year, the pressure to save money in public services has increased and any suggestions that can save money suddenly get a lot of interest from senior managers. Because of this, Wrexham County Borough Council is implementing my idea to use Sat Nav’s in all its gritters this winter. Cheshire East has also done some trials to see how the idea can help them.

Will it save money?

Training of staff for new routes is a costly business. By having the routes pre programmed into low cost Sat Nav’s with salt on and salt off alerts, savings can be made by reducing these training requirements. Experienced and new drivers are prompted to salt at the correct time, reducing the possibility of missed sections.

Why use OpenStreetMap?

Changes to the network can be made locally. e.g. car park and pedestrian streets can be added. New roads added as soon as they are opened. Major road closures and diversions implemented.

My other idea to use OpenStreetMap crowd sourced data such as motorcycle parking location is now up and running at www.dragontail.co.uk . Although not a winning entry the idea can be used for many other location based data.