Time is running out to submit your ideas to our latest GeoVation Challenge. We’re offering a slice of £100,000 in funding for the best ideas which use geographic data to help business improve their environmental performance and I’ve been finding examples to help to get you thinking.
When Ordnance Survey moved offices in January 2011, we down-sized from a building designed to accommodate more than 3,500 people to our new location which was built for around 1,000. This meant we had a lot of excess furniture which we wanted to ensure was disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. The excess furniture included racking and shelves, desk screens, filing cabinets, cupboards, desks, desk chairs, meeting chairs, plan chests, pedestals, soft seating, plants and much more.
We used a company called GoGreen to help us manage disposal of the furniture. GoGreen provides an end-to-end sustainable proposition with a zero-to-landfill guarantee which, for unwanted surplus items, includes donation to UK charitable and other third sector beneficiaries. They processed some 17 895 items amounting to 484.6 tonnes – and nothing went to landfill.
Development funding from GeoVation enables innovative ideas to get started. We’ve published case studies in which GeoVation winners, like liftshare, explain what happened after they won funding and how they developed their innovative idea.
A personal travel plan in itself is not a new idea. However, being able to create a plan with all an individual’s options in one document, with a search time of under 30 seconds, is the innovative idea that was put forward by liftshare. liftshare is a social enterprise, which describes itself as mission-driven rather than profit-driven’ and whose aim is to encourage sustainable transport options and cut carbon emissions by car-sharing. It wants to get people to think about their travel options, but understand that this isn’t always easy, especially for those new to an area or working parents. myPTP’s are individual personal travel plans produced in a single document, which allow individuals to evaluate their transport options while considering CO2, financial and other implications such as calories burnt. This can be used to improve the commute to work and create a modal shift towards more sustainable travel options.
So what happens if you win funding from GeoVation to develop your idea? We’ve just published case studies in which several of our GeoVation winners explain how they went about developing an idea. One of these, AccessAdvisr, is a platform that enables members of the public to improve the quality of information relating to the accessibility of transport stops and stations, as well as public places. It aims to make difficult journeys easier for people with limited mobility. The idea came from Neil Taylor, of Integrated Transport Planning Ltd (ITP), and was awarded funding in our ‘How can we improve transport in Britain?’ GeoVation Challenge.
Insight from previous user-needs research conducted by ITP revealed that accessible transport networks and destinations remain ‘hidden’ from clear view. People with limited mobility must often piece together information about the location, quality and reliability of accessible transport networks and destinations from journey planners, online maps, discussion forums and destination websites. AccessAdvisr aims to be relevant to anyone who needs information about the accessibility of transport and places before and during their journey. It puts people who experience mobility impairments in charge of managing and maintaining accessibility information, so that it reflects ‘real-world’ user perspectives.
On Wednesday night, we delivered an OS OpenData Masterclass to over 30 developers at the HUB, which is a venue located in Westminster, central London. The HUB’s mission is to provide a place where entrepreneurs, new business start-ups and aspiring ‘change-makers’ can start, grow and scale their business ventures. Hence, it provided us with an ideal spot to run the masterclass – which is an event that aims increase the awareness and use of OS OpenData, to create innovative products and services.
The event kicked-off at 6pm with Ian Holt, Developer Programme manager at Ordnance Survey, welcoming everyone and delivering an introductory presentation around open data.
Ian covered the history behind the global “open” movement, before providing details around the number and types of UK government datasets that are available, through websites such as data.gov.uk.
We were delighted at the scope and quality of ideas that were entered into the Wales Coast Path Challenge. A shortlist of 11 ideas have been chosen by the GeoVation judging panel and teams have been invited to develop their ideas at the GeoVation Camp, 22-24 June which is being held at the Novotel Central City, Cardiff.
Growing Routes A web based app designed to engineer business opportunities along the 870 mile long route. It will seek to encourage businesses to expand thereby bringing jobs and opportunities and to local residents.
The Perfect Visitor Companion An idea to engage with visitors to the Wales Coast Path through a smartphone app. The platform will connect with visitors by creating new, exciting cultural and historical themed visitor experiences. These experiences will enrich the local community and businesses.
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
Thanks to everyone who entered the Wales Coast Path GeoVation Challenge. While your waiting to find out whether you’ve been shortlisted you might be interested in this guest post in which Steve Webb explains why he is planning to walk the entire new Wales Coast Path this summer and will be taking the baton from Arry Beresford-Webb (aka Dragonrun1027) when she returns to Cardiff on 5 May
This summer I’ve decided to walk all 870 miles of the new Wales Coast Path from Chepstow in the south to Chester in the north. The decision was made after I walked a big chunk of the 365-mile South West Coast Path last year and in the knowledge that the coast path was due to open in 2012. It seemed like a logical objective.
While I’m walking the path I will raise money for my School’s Parent Teachers Association (PTA) to help build a new Eco classroom for the Outdoor Education department which would be energy efficient and ecologically sound, and to provide a more simulating classroom to help teach our pupils.
The coastal path isn’t just about walking 870 miles, is about everything that the Welsh Coast has to offer, this was highlighted in one of the GeoVation problem statements: Not just a path. How does the path enable other activities for different demographics such as photography, writing, water sports and bird watching? Walking will not always be the main interest of potential users, so leading with other activities to particular demographic groups could increase visitors.
The exciting challenge has seen a steady flow of ideas being submitted all aiming to better connect communities, businesses and visitors through the application of geography, mapping, innovation and expertise.
For instance, one popular idea is for a Walkers alert companion – a smart phone App and website to provide information on the nearest located medical support centre or offering first aid support from a volunteer network of first aiders.