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.
Local school children exploring Wales with Gwenda Owen, Ramblers Community Engagement Officer
We’re really excited! For many months now we have been working on 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.
While much of the country has been dealing with snow in the last few weeks, there’s been no rest for Luke and Ian, who manage Ordnance Survey’s Developer Engagement programme. They ran their first GeoSurgery of 2013 on 17 January at the Google Campus in London and the event was a major success, with some extremely interesting conversations being had with over a dozen developers. The idea to run a quarterly GeoSurgery, an event that provides us with a physical presence in London’s Tech City, came about from the sheer level of interest received in Ordnance Survey’s product and service offering that we have gauged amongst the developer community. Ian – also known as Ordnance Survey’s resident “GeoDoctor” – was on hand to speak to a number of developers that had technical questions relating to the use of location-based data in their respective business offerings. We introduced developers to our portfolio of OS OpenData products, which include the frequently downloaded: OS Streetview; CodePoint Open and Boundary Line – to name just a few.
We’re now in the midst of organising our next OS Developer event, which takes place on 26 February, again in London. This time we’re at the HUB in Westminster, London to hold an evening dedicated to showing existing and potential developers through OS OpenSpace, which is Ordnance Survey’s web mapping service. Specifically, we’ll be showcasing the recent enhancements that we have made to the API, so if you would like to register an interest in coming along, please drop us a line and we’ll add you to the register.
City Farmers map delegates at Oxford Real Farming Conference
In early January Chris participated in the Oxford Real Farming Conference where GeoVation food challenge innovators, City Farmers displayed some great maps using OS OpenData showing who is doing what and where. Some excellent presentations on how collaboration is building resilience in food chains through local food and farming.
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.
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!
As usual, it’s been pretty hectic in Ordnance Survey’s Innovation team over recent weeks so we thought we’d give you an update what we’ve been up to.
Luke and Ian have been busy touring around Britain (trying to avoid the almost constant rain of late) on a series of OS OpenData masterclasses. Last week they were in Scotland to kick off the series, before heading south to London. This week they are visiting Cardiff and Nottingham.
Luke says: “We announced our fourth series of masterclasses at the beginning of November and within a matter of days each date was fully booked up, so they’ve been immensely popular. Each class catered for 40 people so approximately 200 have attended in total over the past couple of weeks. The classes provide attendees with an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of open data and the tools and techniques needed to use such information. However this series has been a little different to the last three, as this time participants had an opportunity to use OS OpenSpace, Ordnance Survey’s free web mapping service that allows users to display up-to-date Ordnance Survey mapping in a web page or online environment.”
The latest edition of OS Innovation news has just been been published and has a distinctively developer flavour. In the Autumn developer update you can find out about the developer events we’ve been attending, our plans to make GeoVation even better, and if you’ve been using OS OpenData and you tell us how- you can enter our competition to win an iPad! Click the image below to open the newsletter.
It’s now over two years since the release of OS OpenData, which gave more access to free, unrestricted Ordnance Survey mapping than ever before. It’s is helping businesses and developers to start to use Geographic Information (GI) without any royalty payments and restrictions on reuse. Even if you haven’t used mapping data before, you can unlock the benefits immediately, making it even easier to achieve efficiency savings across the board.
Last month Ordnance Survey ran a webinar, giving people the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of open data, and the tools and techniques to use OS OpenData.
If you didn’t get the chance to take part in the webinar, here’s a video of it. You can learn how to get up and running with OS OpenData and about the datasets that are available to use free of charge and their benefits.
The 40 minute session covers:
How to get Ordnance Survey free data
How to use OS OpenData
And how we can learn from an existing user of OS OpenData with Simon Fitzgerald from CIFAS
I have recently become a citizen of Nowhereisland. It was really easy, no tests, no restrictions – I visited the website, filled in a quick online form and quickly joined the growing number of citizens. A few days later my certificate arrived in the post which says I am an official Nowhereisland citizen. Nowhereisland currently has 3948 citizens – more than the Vatican City or the Falkland Islands and closing fast on St Helena.
So where is Nowhereisland and what’s it all about?
Nowhereisland is a public art project conceived by artist Alex Hartley. It is one of 12 arts projects across the UK, funded by the Arts Council of England, which will form part of the Cultural Olympiad in summer 2012. Next summer, Nowhereisland will journey from Weymouth to Bristol over six weeks stopping at 7 ports and harbours en route.
In 2004, Alex discovered an island which had been revealed by the melting ice of a retreating glacier in the High Arctic region of Svalbard. He was the first human to stand on the island which was subsequently named Nyskjaeret and is now officially recognised and included on all maps and charts .
In September 2011, Alex returned to the Arctic to retrieve the island territory. With the permission of the Governor of Svalbard, a quantity of island territory was removed and sailed into international waters north of Svalbard. Once in international waters, Alex declared Nowhereisland a new nation on 20th September 2011, before the island material was shipped back to the UK to be formed into the floating island sculpture.
Nowhereisland is a place that seeks to redefine what a nation can be and will ask questions and inspire activities around geography, migration, nationhood, citizenship, land grab and climate change. Which fits really well with GeoVation – a place where communities, innovative thinkers, geographic data, skills and expertise can get together for the benefit of communities and their needs.
And … for Mission:Explorers – when you sign up you receive a code to unlock bonus points for a Nowhereisland badge.
On 22 May, I did it, my first ever marathon and in a time of 4 hours and 46 minutes – I was really pleased!
After months of training and worrying about injuries, the day dawned. We’d travelled up a couple of days before and I was not sure that sightseeing around Edinburgh was the best race preparation – along with the the weather forecast which didn’t look too grand with rain and 45 mph winds. At least it was fairly sunny as we set off at 8.30am to walk to the start, though that didn’t last very long – it started raining while waiting for the toilet.
Bin bag on and over to the start pen, armed with my gels, jelly babies and sports drink – I was fuelled up and ready to go! I was in the purple pen which was the last wave to go off so after shivering for 20 minutes or so we were slowly moved forward to the start line – and finally we were off! We had a bit of sunshine and the showers at this stage just helped to keep us cool as we made our way through Holyrood Park and out to Leith Links and Portobello Promenade. At halfway I was feeling good and was on for my goal of under 5 hours. Between 17 to 18 miles the course turns back and it was then that I realised just how strong that wind was, especially when the rain came with it! From 18 miles on running straight into a headwind was pretty exhausting – at times it felt as if I was running in slow motion! It didn’t matter if I ran or walked it all hurt – just different muscles! It seemed as if everyone was suffering and about 70% of people were walking at various stages from about 20 miles on.
From about 25 miles when I knew the end was near and I had loads of support I managed to pick it up and (sort of) sprint for the finish. I was so happy to get to the end and collect my medal!
Overall, it was lovely and scenic along the coast and though not flat was pleasantly undulating. There was plenty of support along the way, but on the coast there were sections where it was just the runners which was nice. I’ve also managed to raise valuable funds for British Heart Foundation, the charity I was supporting.
Would I do it again? Yes, as long as my body lets me – I can’t wait!
Aimed at anyone with a working knowledge of web browsing and Microsoft Excel and interested in obtaining and using public information on a whole range of topics, the master classes were fully booked with 30 to 40 participants at each. The classes used computer facilities to combine theory and practical sessions with guest lectures by prominent people in the field of open data from government, academia and business!
Hot on the heels of the “How can Britain Feed Itself?” GeoVation Camp in London, Chris Parker and Ian Holt of the GeoVation team boarded an evening train ride to kick off the GeoVation tour supporting the Open Data Master Class (ODMC) on a wet and windy Monday in Newcastle on 8 November.
Next stop on the tour was the Open Data Master Class at University College London with Ian speaking to a full house and eager participants. Ian chaired the next date at the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Geospatial Science in the impressive Innovation Park, part of Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus. Again, another full house with some great suggestions from the participants on how to develop the programme further.
After a flight to Aberdeen Chris chaired the Aberdeen University ODMC session and Ian ran the practical session. The master class was attended by a team from Scottish TV amongst others, wanting to understand how best to use open data.
Ian ready to board the tour train!
In order to make the next day’s tour stop at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Chris and Ian took the sleeper train from Aberdeen to London Euston. The event was kicked off with a welcome from RGS’ Head of Research and Education, Dr Catherine Souch and supported by RGS Director, Dr Rita Gardner. There were some lively questions but the overwhelming response was positive to the master classes, and to Ordnance Survey’s OS OpenData, OS OpenSpace and GeoVation.
The final venue on the tour is the University of Southampton on 3 December.