Below is a guest post from David Roberts, one of our colleagues at Ordnance Survey, who has been working hard alongside the GeoVation team to launch and run the Wales Coast Path GeoVation Challenge.
Working for Ordnance Survey has given me a double view and insight into the importance of the completion and opening the Wales Coast Path on May 5th. The sheer size of the logistics to successfully launch an ‘e challenge’ to tackle the problems associated with the world’s first coastal path around a Country; and to bring together a nation to walk on it is immense. And yet the GeoVation Challenge has successfully brought together an extremely diverse range of people from Government through Local Authorities to professional and charity groups, businesses and individuals on and around the coastline. With their unique talents, all have expressed their thoughts, views, doubts and fears from those early meetings, but share a real desire and enthusiasm to see this work; not only for May 5th but for 365 days per year, every year.
To get as many people aware of the opening and on to the path as possible for May 5th, I have been working alongside the Welsh Ramblers who have led many of the meetings and workshops to ensure success. Through their informative website and electronic map of Wales they show a growing number of walking groups, their routes, leader contact details and even where the media helicopters will be flying for TV coverage. Ordnance Survey has created a giant “walk on map of Wales” using the Explorer 1:25,000 scale and will measure approx 15m x 12m. This map will be available on the opening day in Cardiff and will made available “Free to use” to any organisations who would like to use it in for, demonstrations, functions, education etc.
My own role has been working with the youth groups of Wales, including Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Scouts & Guides to ensure that as many groups from the youngest upwards are walking, camping or just having fun on the day and are aware that they will form part of a historical event for Wales. With around 20,000 Scouts & Guides in Wales, plus those on the Marches, there has been enthusiasm from the Heads of both organisations to organise by County or Area and get the boys and girls involved in activities son the day. All of these events will be fed back to the Welsh Ramblers to be included on their electronic map acting as an information page and historical document. A special badge for Scouts & Guides has also been created for this event and will sit above the Queens Diamond Jubilee Badge.
With three major celebrity openings around Wales in Flintshire, Aberystwyth & Cardiff on the day itself this as an important staging post for the Country and with the right coverage and media it will put us on the map a little bit more firmly and encourage others to visit.
We have the coastline; all we need now is the people to share it with.