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.

Ordnance Survey to open new Innovation Hub

By , 3 April, 2015 8:00 am

OS is opening a new Geospatial Innovation Hub in London, intended to be a centre of collaboration and inspiration in the UK geospatial industry.

Through the challenges held here at GeoVation, OS has awarded almost £650,000 to 28 new ventures, and the Innovation Hub will build on this work.

‘One of the biggest challenges facing the geospatial industry and all those operating in it is: Innovating. As a major industry body there is a responsibility, and an opportunity, for Ordnance Survey to support the geospatial industry and take it forward with this Innovation Hub.

To increase the relevance of our industry we need to expose ourselves to new thinking, to undertake thought leadership and share this in a way that as an industry we lift our gaze. The Hub will enable OS and its partners to work collaboratively with fringe industries, new media, digital and emerging technologies. Our industry is changing. How data is accessed is changing. How data is captured is changing. The industry must respond to these developments and organisations must evolve. It is a competitive environment and organisations that remain static risk stagnating and the danger of being displaced by the new and those evolving.’ — Cathrine Armour, Innovation Hub Programme Manager

The website will launch on 11 May 2015. In the meantime, you can sign up to stay updated.

The Ordnance Survey Innovation Hub will be located on the fringes of London’s knowledge quarter in Clerkenwell, at 1 Sekforde Street, London, EC1R 0BE.

GeoVation winners visit Ordnance Survey

By , 2 April, 2015 8:00 am

Last week we invited in the winners of the GeoVation Housing Challenge to find out more about what we would be offering in terms of support from OS and Land Registry and answer any questions.  In the morning the winners introduced themselves to colleagues around the business and Land Registry who could offer support and advice as they develop their websites and apps.

geovey crop
Dave Barter, from Nautoguide, who were awarded £29,000 introduced Geovey as ‘A map-based solution sketchpad for crowdsourcing community improvement ideas’ and gave us an update of where they were with development. They have already started work on research, design and planning the project. ‘Maps are for much more than directions, maps allow people to visualise their surroundings in new ways and spot opportunities for improvement.’

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We can make London a National Park City

By , 30 March, 2015 8:00 am

On Tuesday 24 February 600 people came together at Southbank to Reimagine London and ask “What if we made London a National Park?”. In this extended article the award-winning writer Lucy Anna Scott shares her day at this important event.

Photo of London and Thames by Simon de Glanville

Photo by Simon de Glanville

“I hope you’re all in an imaginative mood,” enthused Daniel Raven-Ellison, founder of the Greater London National Park campaign, as he opened the Reimagine London event at Southbank Centre this week.

But picturing Greater London as the world’s first National Park City doesn’t require a huge leap of imagination these days.

What started out as the brainchild of geographer and explorer Raven-Ellison just less than a year ago is now rapidly maturing into a campaign that has a life all of its own. And the 600 participants – who attended a packed programme of talks, debates and activities to explore the concept of London as a National Park – were proof of the momentum behind a campaign that’s swept the likes of Zac Goldsmith, Chris Packham and Robert Macfarlane along with it.

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New OS OpenData products now live

By , 25 March, 2015 8:00 am

Originally posted by Gemma on the Ordnance Survey blog.

Great news this morning, our latest OS OpenData products are now available for download. Announced last month, the four new products in our open data portfolio are OS Open Map – Local, OS Open Names, OS Open Rivers and OS Open Roads. Bringing our OS OpenData offering up to sixteen products, the latest offer you increased detail and accuracy and the opportunity for analytics. They are fully customisable and can work together or be imported and integrated with your own software and database.

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OS OpenData award at the British Cartographic Society

By , 24 March, 2015 8:00 am

Ordnance Survey sponsors and judges one of the British Cartographic Society (BCS) awards and once again this year we will be rewarding cartographic excellence and the innovative use of OS OpenData. The awards are made annually at the society’s symposium which this year promises to be a fantastic event as it is being jointly hosted with the Society of Cartographers (SoC).

OS OpenData award

Your entry can take any form, the only stipulation being that it must contain some OS OpenData. Previous winners have included digital web maps, folded paper maps and we have also commended a beautiful hand-drawn map that was used as a film prop! We expect and encourage a real range of entries and we will be judging them using our cartographic design principles and also the innovative use of the data.

The award comprises a crystal trophy and a framed certificate both to be retained by the winner. We will also be offering a prize to the winner (yet to be confirmed) so make sure you get your entries in before the submission deadline, 30th April 2015.

Reflections of a new GeoVation judge

By , 20 March, 2015 9:58 am

Our second guest blog from Jane Davidson, who was a member of the judging panel for our recent housing challenge.

GeoVation Housing Challenge logo

To have been a judge for the first time on this year’s GeoVation Challenge, calling for ideas to enable people in Britain to live in better places, has been a privilege. The challenge, as always, is about how to better use Ordnance Survey data innovatively to enhance the public’s understanding and experience. If the future is data driven, how can that data be used most innovatively and accessibly? For the last few years, Ordnance Survey has worked with a number of other organisations to find imaginative and sustainable solutions to a whole range of different challenges. They have inspired ideas and actions that would never have seen the light of day without the GeoVation nudge – or perhaps that should be the GeoVation kick!

The challenge, as far as I am aware, is unique. Not only does it ask respondents to resolve each year’s challenge problem, but it forces collaborative working, skills exchanges, peer mentoring and demands the creation of new and exciting solutions and ventures using geography. Those who become finalists have to bring a team to the GeoVation Camp to work on building the selected idea into a prototype enterprise or venture and pitch it to the independent judging panel for the chance to win a share of funding to implement – subject to completion of a satisfactory venture plan. The process is equally gruelling and exhilarating, for both judges and contestants!

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OS Innovation Newsletter — Spring 2015

By , 19 March, 2015 2:18 pm

The spring edition of the OS Innovation newsletter should be arriving in your inbox now, with our news on recent events, current projects, new products, and a cartography competition.

Newsletter Spring 2015

If you would like to be added to the Innovation mailing list, you can sign up here.

Winners of the GeoVation Housing Challenge

By , 12 March, 2015 9:32 am

GeoVation camp 2015

In September we launched our latest GeoVation challenge — ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’ — which was run in partnership with Land Registry.

In total, 43 ideas were submitted to the challenge. Out of nine finalists selected to pitch their ideas to our judging panel, three winners were awarded funding to develop their innovation:

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Our involvement in the UK’s first ever Open Data Camp

By , 11 March, 2015 8:00 am

We were recently involved in the UK’s first ever Open Data Camp, a weekend event that was held in Winchester on the 21st & 22nd February and which was devoted entirely to open data. Whilst a couple of weeks may have passed since then, we thought we’d share our experiences from the event with you here on the blog.

The Camp was run as an ‘unconference’; meaning the agenda for the two days was not pre-determined and it was up to the 150 delegates to propose the sessions that would run over the course of the weekend. The organisers had promised however that there would be plenty of opportunities to learn, share and participate in a number of presentations, open discussions and story-telling sessions – as well as plenty of coffee and cake throughout the weekend!

OD Camp Banner

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myPTP’s development and the results so far

By , 10 March, 2015 8:00 am

A guest blog from Liftshare on the development of myPTP, one of the winning ideas from our challenge, ‘How can we improve transport in Britain?’. Read more about myPTP as showcased on the OS website.

“easy to use and provided travel plans which were well laid out and simple to understand.“

“results were extremely well received, often producing journey opportunities such as cycling, public transport or car-sharing that staff had not considered.”

“not only is it a fantastic tool, very easy to use, but we are really seeing the benefits to the end user.”

This is just a small sample of the feedback myPTP has received so far and it’s only going to get better!

Enabled by Geovation funding, myPTP was developed by Liftshare, as the first ever planning tool to integrate data for all modes of transport; including walking, cycling, public transport, car-sharing and single occupancy car journeys. And myPTP is the only travel planning tool in the market that can integrate Park and Ride schemes into searches.

It delivers a detailed and interactive personalised travel plan in less than a minute, which can be emailed directly to an individual or viewed online through an interactive page of results.

Details within a myPTP include all viable travel options, journey length times, number of changes, mode of public transport (if applicable), petrol costs, CO2 emitted and calories burnt for journeys displayed.

These are all quickly produced once an individual’s name, email address, start and end postcodes, desired arrival departure times and current mode of travel are collected.

To-date myPTP has been used by organisations such as Centrica, National Grid, Everything Everywhere, University of Oxford, Peterborough City Council and many more to help encourage sustainable travel and create behaviour change.

Below follows a snapshot of some of the projects myPTP has assisted and the results so far:

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