Category: GeoVation Team

Happy GeoVating and Happy New Year

By , 19 December, 2014 8:00 am

As we’re nearing the end of the year (and, fortunately, the solstice!), we bring you a blog on what the team has been working on recently. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year and to thank you for all your support. We look forward to next year’s events and challenges, and to further supporting our existing winners.

Happy Christmas from GeoVation

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Celebrating 5 years of GeoVation Challenges

By , 6 November, 2014 8:00 am

In 5 years of GeoVation Challenges, 28 new ventures and counting and almost £640,000 awarded to turn innovative ideas into reality.

GeoVation winnersIn Oct 2009 Ordnance Survey launched its first GeoVation Challenge to identify and launch new ventures that found innovative ways of using geography and open data to solve real-world problems. Out of 166 submissions, three were selected to share £22,000 in start-up funding and to receive Ordnance Survey’s ongoing support that would see their ideas made real.

After 5 years, Ordnance Survey has now run 7 GeoVation Challenges, and has so far created 28 new ventures and awarded £637,000 in funding. Together with Land Registry,  we are currently running the 8th Challenge to improve the way we do housing.

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GeoVation at the RGS International Conference

By , 22 August, 2014 8:15 am

We’re pleased to announce that Chris Parker from our GeoVation team, along with past GeoVation Challenge judges, will be taking part in the Royal Geographical Society’s Annual International Conference next week.

Chris is chairing a session on Wednesday 27 August on Innovation and coastal tourism (1) The Wales Coast Path: Promoting health and economic wellbeing. Our GeoVation Challenge in early 2012 looked at how people who lived and worked along, or visited the 870 mile (1,400 km) coastal path could use innovative digital technology to  benefit from the ‘world first’ opportunity. Wales was the first country in the world to launch a complete perimeter coastal path on 5th May 2012. The Wales Coast Path has already generated an additional £32 million in revenue (BBC News, 26 November 2013).

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Team Ordnance Survey “storm” to a running challenge.

By , 30 July, 2014 8:00 am

Regular GeoVation blog readers, may remember a few weeks ago I posted about the active challenge that myself and colleagues at Ordnance Survey were undertaking to raise money for our corporate charity Southampton Women’s Aid a charity which provides help and assistance to women and children affected by domestic abuse.

Photo of Ordnance Survey team ready to run

Ordnance Survey team ready to run

We did it!  On the weekend of 26- 27 July  our team of 5,  Matt White, me, Matt Pillinger, James Clarke and James’ wife Vicki completed the Adidas Thunder Run 24 hour running challenge which started at 12 noon on Saturday and continued through the night with each of the team running 10km laps in turn for 24 hours!    Also with us was our  ‘team manager’ Den Alexander who played an invaluable role in keeping us organised and healthy in mind and body over the weekend!   Below is an update of how the weekend went.

When we arrived on Friday night nothing could have prepared us for the sheer number of tents and runners there – it was like a music festival – only for runners! Having never done an event like this before none of us knew just how long we could keep going, and we were all very nervous!

Having registered and got our numbers, timing chips and baton and attending the pre-race briefing,  12 noon on Saturday soon arrived and James was ready on the start line to get us going to a cracking start!  The course was described as technical trail which meant that it was hilly (149 metres of ascent on each lap) over grassland, tree routes and track.  It started with a hard 2km climb up through woodland and then undulated through grassland and more sections of woodland. There was one water station between 5 and 6km and then a further climb followed by the ‘technical section’ which meant a narrow trail with switchbacks and tree roots galore for about 1km. This was followed by a further climb to a ridge (with views for miles) and then down back through the Continue reading 'Team Ordnance Survey “storm” to a running challenge.'»

GeoVation Opening Doors

By , 29 July, 2014 8:10 am

Today’s guest blog is from one of our finalists who took part in the recent Active Lifestyle challenge Jackie Roby.

One evening, in the depths of darkest January, I logged on to Facebook to find a message from a friend that read ‘Are you going to do it?’ with a link to the GeoVation Active Lifestyles Challenge. I’d never heard of GeoVation and with the challenge closing in less than a week I thought it was unlikely. At the same time I had an idea that had been floating around in my mind that fitted the challenge criteria well and before I knew it, it was the early hours of the morning and I’d entered the competition.

The week passed and a few days after the deadline I received and email congratulating me on becoming a GeoVation finalist. Oh. My. Goodness. This was happening!

Go WildMy idea to encourage more active lifestyles was ‘Outdoor Discovery Backpacks’, rucksacks stuffed with fun games, ideas and tools to help children and their families explore nature and the great outdoors. I wanted to create a fun and exciting resource that was available from local libraries that, using OS maps, would help families to discover and enjoy their local green spaces.

The GeoVation Camp weekend at the end of February, passed in a complete blur; meeting lots of innovative people with great ideas, learning all sorts of interesting things I’d never heard of such as paper prototyping, hearing from past winners and getting to pick the brains of inspiring people such as Andy Middleton. My teammate Dave and I bounced our way around Ordnance Survey head office, becoming known for our smiles and enthusiasm. I think a bit of delirium crept in too! Continue reading 'GeoVation Opening Doors'»

Storming to a very active challenge

By , 27 June, 2014 8:00 am

Each year everyone at Ordnance Survey has the chance to nominate, and vote for the corporate charity to support and put all of our fund-raising efforts into. For the next 12 months, we’ll be supporting Southampton Women’s Aid a charity which provides help and assistance to women, children and young people who are affected by domestic abuse.

On 26 and 27 July, a team of 5 runners from Ordnance Survey (including me, doing my bit for an active lifestyle!), are taking on a very active challenge, the Thunder Run 24hr to raise money for the corporate charity. This is a tough physical and mental challenge, because Thunder Run is a 24 hour off-road relay race over a 10km circuit against the clock. It can be completed solo or in teams of 2 to 8.  It’s  held in Catton Park in South Derbyshire. The varied terrain includes woodland, grass and track.

Image of Thunder Run team

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GeoVation Alumni – why it’s got serious heritage

By , 30 May, 2014 8:15 am

A round table on Open Innovation Challenges


GeoVation alumni Round table 1

Today’s Guest blog is from Quentin Johns. Quentin has been a Judge for Ordnance Survey’s Geovation Challenges and is the Head of Business Development  the Impact Hub Westminster. Quentin has a degree in Social Anthropology from Sussex University. Quentin chaired a round table panel discussion compiled by  Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation team and the Impact Hub Westminster, hosted after the GeoVation Alumni event.

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GeoVation Easter caption competition winner choosen!

By , 2 May, 2014 1:00 pm

An morning of highs and oh no’s!!!

Thank you for all the fantastic entries to our GeoVation Easter caption competition! We have some very talented members in our community out there.

Our morning meeting contained a lot of laughter and a few oh no’s while we went through all the entries we had received over the Easter holidays.

Equipped with our coffee, water, herbal teas, and a pile of Easter eggs, we sat down on Wednesday afternoon with a large copy of the photo from our Active Lifestyle challenge and all your entries.  After much deliberation we finally choose the winning caption.


Winning Caption



Our winner is: Michael Coupar from Lancashire.

Congratulations Michael, your prizes are in the post. Michael has won an Ordnance Survey Custom Made Map along with an Ordnance Survey golfing umbrella and a range of GeoVation goodies including pens, t-shirts and some very tasty GeoVation rock.

Keep following GeoVation for more challenges and future competitions.


It’s Easter so lets have a little fun!

By , 17 April, 2014 8:00 am

© 2014 Elenarts/


EXTENDED TILL 30 April 2014

How do we do that you say? Excellent question!

We’re having an Easter Caption Competition just for you, our GeoVation Community.

It’s very easy! Just look at the photo below, taken at our ‘How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britian’ Challenge Camp, and come up with a caption (one caption per email address) then email it to us along with your name and contact details to

The competition will close at 10am GMT on Wednesday 30 April 2014. We’ll then gather the GeoVation team together to read through your suggestions over a coffee and cake (or the left over Easter Eggs), and pick the one that the team thinks fits the photo best. The winning caption will be announced on the 25 April 2014.

We’ll give the author of our favorite caption an Ordnance Survey Custom Made Map , Umbrella and some GeoVation goodies.

Good luck!





  Continue reading 'It’s Easter so lets have a little fun!'»

Helping at GeoVation Camp is quite addictive!

By , 19 March, 2014 8:15 am

Shona QuinnToday’s blog is from Shona Quinn, a Market Analyst in our Products and Innovation department and one of our graduates from last years recruitment scheme.

Just over two weeks ago, ten teams – each with a bright idea to help encourage active lifestyles – descended on Ordnance Survey Head Office in Southampton for GeoVation Camp, where around 15 Ordnance Survey helpers were waiting to advise on Ordnance Survey data and help the teams to develop their ideas.


After a great experience helping at a previous GeoVation Camp, I knew that I definitely wanted to help out again – the buzz in the atmosphere at camp is quite addictive!  There were several of us ‘returner’ helpers, showing that GeoVation is an inspiring event to attend whether you’re a helper or a member or an ideas team. And thanks to more new helpers this year, there was more support for each team than ever before. Every team had at least one Ordnance Survey helper with them all weekend, so there was dedicated assistance available for the teams throughout the camp.


Helping medal routes develop their ideas

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