Welcome to GeoVation - Innovation Challenges from Ordnance Survey.
GeoVation Challenges address specific community needs, which may be satisfied, in part, through the use of geography. Entrepreneurs, developers, community groups, innovators can enter our GeoVation Challenges for a chance to win innovation funding to help develop their ideas. You can read our blog posts below and find out find out more about us, our challenges and how to enter.

Cartographic Design Principles: A clear visual hierarchy

By , 25 February, 2015 8:00 am

Originally posted by the Cartographic Design Team on the Ordnance Survey blog.

We’ve been taking a closer look at each of our Cartographic Design Principles in turn and this week we are delving deeper into A clear visual hierarchy. Although we consider all eight of our principles to be of equal importance when designing a map, this one is of key concern to the successful communication of a maps message. Without a clear visual hierarchy, a map can be confusing to the user and may lead to poor decision making.

Overview map of Great Britain – the labels have a very clear visual hierarchy

Overview map of Great Britain – the labels have a very clear visual hierarchy

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More news on housing ideas selected at GeoVation Camp

By , 20 February, 2015 8:00 am

If you’ve been following the GeoVation blog you’ll be aware that we recently announced the successful finalists from our GeoVation Challenge aimed at finding ideas enable people in Britain to live in better places.

Following on from this the Judging Panel met yesterday to confirm the winners and level of funding to be awarded.

GeoVation camp

The finalists had submitted venture plans to be reviewed at the meeting and the judges had a difficult decision in deciding how to split the £101,000 awarded by Ordnance Survey and Land Registry.

They agreed to award funding to the ideas as follows:
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The Green Alchemist empowers businesses to recycle

By , 16 February, 2015 8:00 am

Element Green Recycling, one of the winners from our 2013 challenge ‘How do we help British business improve environmental performance?’, has recently released a new web application intended to make recycling more financially rewarding for businesses. The Green Alchemist app allows business to sort their recyclable waste and helps them make money from it by selling it to waste couriers.

Business rates do not cover waste and recycling services, meaning that businesses must manage their own own. Contamination causes 30% of recyclable waste to be sent to landfill each year. Sorting recyclable waste reduces contamination and increases its value.

The Green Alchemist provides details on waste couriers in the UK; pricing on recyclable materials; an auction facility for used furniture, electronic goods and recyclable waste; and products to help businesses recycle, such as the Green Pod. Businesses can use The Green Alchemist to auction quantities of recyclable waste or to request quotes for its collection; and waste couriers can use it to locate businesses with sorted recyclable waste for sale or collection. Householders can also use the app to locate recycling facilities in their area and the website to sell secondhand furniture and used goods. Continue reading 'The Green Alchemist empowers businesses to recycle'»

MakeSense: a highly active global organisation of social entrepreneurs

By , 12 February, 2015 8:00 am

To date, GeoVation has run eight challenges. Through these challenges, we have helped to develop and fund many ventures and to connect many more individuals throughout Great Britain.

Of course, innovation takes place everywhere in the world, and there are innumerable people involved in creating social enterprises. We aim to highlight networks and resources that may be of interest to the GeoVation community, and today we bring you a guest blog from MakeSense.


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GeoVation Camp – developing ideas to help house Britain better

By , 10 February, 2015 8:00 am

We recently announced the successful finalists in our GeoVation Challenge to enable people in Britain to live in better places.  We asked for innovative ideas to help people tackle the housing problems of affordability, availability, access, infrastructure and assets while using Ordnance Survey, and Land Registry data,  technology and good design.

The finalists from the GeoVation Challenge had a real spread of ideas and participated in an intense weekend of innovation at GeoVation Camp. The GeoVators focussed on the ‘no nonsense’ formula that Innovation = Problem x Solution x Execution to develop their ideas with help from service designers, business model expertise, as well as advice with using data.  They practiced their presentations so they were ‘match fit to pitch’ to the judging panel by the end of the weekend.

Watch the video below to find out more about what happened at GeoVation Camp and why the successful ideas were chosen.

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GeoVation Challenge successful finalists Democratising Development

By , 6 February, 2015 8:00 am

We recently announced our successful finalists for the housing challenge that we’d worked on with Land Registry. Four fantastic ideas, all using data from us and LR, aiming to help Britons live in better places, were awarded funding to develop their ideas further. For the first time last year, we ran a series of our opendata masterclasses to support people in building their ideas for the challenge using our data. Andy Reeve (pictured on the left below), on the successful team for Democratising Development, shares his GeoVation experience from joining in a masterclass to having their idea selected by the judging panel.

Andy Reeve (left) and Joyjit Sarkar (right) of Democratising Development

Joy and I are both part of the team founding Impact Hub Birmingham, a space to inspire collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurial activity. I have had a varied career but have always been interested in how to use creativity to solve problems. Joy is a Medical Engineer and is constantly solving problems through a design led process for patients with limited mobility.

It was through one of the other cofounders of Impact Hub Birmingham that we heard about the GeoVation challenge initially. I have a keen interest in using open data to solve problems and it seemed like a great opportunity to use data for a good purpose and deliver value from data analysis. The chance to experience data from OS and LR and see where you could go with it was also attractive, as well as the offer for a free lunch.

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Find out about the ideas selected to help Britain do housing better

By , 28 January, 2015 8:00 am

Last week we announced the  ideas that have been chosen in our GeoVation Challenge to enable people to live in better places.

Below we have a video filmed at the end of the weekend in which Roland Harwood, Chair of the GeoVation judging panel, explains why these 4 ideas were selected and the successful finalists describe their reaction on getting the news! Words used to describe the weekend and how they felt include: really interesting process, awesome, incredible,  privileged (to being given the opportunity to make the idea real).

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GeoVation Camp as an OS helper

By , 27 January, 2015 10:26 am

About a week back, in mid January, GeoVation held its eighth challenge at the Ordnance Survey Head Office, when nine teams arrived to develop and pitch their ideas.

As I’m a pretty recent addition to the GeoVation team, having started in November, all of my work focus has been on preparing for this event. It was great to see everything come together — with no real problems apart from the weather, which prevented one of the teams from making it to camp — and the atmosphere was very positive, energetic and idealistic, which is one of my favourite kinds of working environment. If there was any blood/sweat/tears involved in the run-up to camp (which I would never admit to) the weekend made up for all of it.

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Ideas chosen to help you live in better places

By , 20 January, 2015 11:36 am

Well done to all the finalists who took part in the GeoVation Camp held at Ordnance Survey head office in Southampton over the weekend. The finalists were chosen from the 43 ideas entered to our GeoVation Challenge to help people live in better places.

balcony crop'd

It was a truly amazing and inspiring weekend, and we offered support to help the 10 invited teams develop a prototype venture and become ‘match fit to pitch’  over the weekend. Helpers included service designers, Ordnance Survey and Land Registry colleagues, help with Business Models from Richard Browndson and former GeoVation winner Peter Boyce of City Farmers.

At the end of an exciting and energetic weekend, the teams were visited by the GeoVation judging panel to discuss how their ideas were progressing; they then  pitched to the judges and audience for a slice £100,000 in innovation funding.

The audience also voted for their favourite idea to win the Community Award of £1,000.

The judges selected four Successful Finalists to be awarded funding to develop their ideas further.

  • MyHome Energy Planner:  A team from Carbon Co-op, National Energy Foundation and Urbed, with their idea for an online tool that will empower householders to understand current energy usage and take control of future energy demand. Using Ordnance Survey and Land Registry data, the team will plan a pilot first and work with local authorities and draw on their existing network of organisations.  The tool will householders’ current whole house usage and prescribe a set of costed retrofit measures to reduce energy usage.

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In the midst of the GeoVation Housing Challenge Camp

By , 18 January, 2015 10:35 am

On Friday evening, the finalist teams for our challenge, ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’ arrived for the Camp opening. This afternoon, they will be presenting their ideas to our judging panel. Here are a few photographs of the weekend so far and the work they have been doing.

GeoVation Camp opening. Photo by Rose Burns (www.ebenezer.co).

GeoVation Camp opening on Friday evening

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