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.

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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10 finalists confirmed for Housing Challenge camp

By , 13 January, 2015 3:00 pm

With under two weeks until GeoVation Camp, we can announce the 10 finalists who have confirmed their attendance. The ideas were submitted last year in response to the question, ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’

Places at camp have been limited to 10 teams so that each is the time and support they require in order to develop their ideas into prototyped ventures and to work on pitches for funding.

You can find out more about the 10 final ideas below — or by following the link to the interactive map, where you can also see where the final teams hail from.

Map of the 10 Housing Challenge finalists

Map of the 10 finalists for our challenge, ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’

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GeoVation camp — designing sustainable solutions to real problems

By , 9 January, 2015 8:00 am

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’

– Einstein

Now that our Housing Challenge — ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’ — has closed, our finalists will be preparing for GeoVation Camp in January. We thought it would be useful to revisit the design that plays such an important part in our GeoVation Camps.

If solutions to real problems are to be successfully launched and sustained, they need to be carefully designed. That means not just designing the solution but also the venture model that will sustain the solution and allow it to scale. This is why design thinking plays such an important part of our GeoVation camps. The objective of GeoVationCamps is to enable finalists to be ‘match-fit to pitch’ for GeoVation funding.

During our camps, finalists develop their ideas into prototype ventures. To support finalists’ teams in this, the camp process is facilitated by service designers who employ design thinking, techniques and processes. In addition to this we are very fortunate to be able to draw on the expertise of the MDes in Service Design Innovation students from the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, led by Dr Alison Prendiville, who will be on the judging panel for the Housing Challenge.

London College of Communication

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GeoVation ideas from a service perspective

By , 7 January, 2015 8:00 am

A guest post from Alison Prendiville, who will be one of the judges on our Housing Challenge panel.

GoVAtion Challenge 8 Logo

For a third year running it is a great pleasure to be invited back to judge the Ordnance Survey GeoVation Challenge – ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’

Every year the ideas posted in response to the Challenge are impressive and this year is no exception. Linking up Ordnance Survey data with the Land Registry’s licensable data offers an interesting mix of [government] data sources to address some of the current challenges facing UK housing, neighbourhoods and communities; it also presents perhaps one of the most difficult contexts for a GeoVation Challenge.

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Confirmation on changes to latitude and longitude shown on our paper maps

By , 22 December, 2014 8:00 am

Originally posted by Gemma on the Ordnance Survey blog.

Back in September we asked you to tell us your thoughts on proposed changes to the way we show latitude and longitude on our paper maps (currently as shown below)… and the results are in!

latitude and longitude

Thank you to the 710 of you who completed the short survey (plus those of you commenting here on the blog) for taking the time to consider the question and let us know your thoughts. An overwhelming majority of respondents supported the proposed change (combining the answers saying it would improve or make no difference to their use of OS paper maps).

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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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Cartographic Design Principles: Consideration of display format

By , 18 December, 2014 8:00 am

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

This is the second installment in our set of blog posts taking a closer look at our Cartographic Design Principles. Last week we shone the light on Understanding of user requirements and this week we turn our attention to Consideration of display format.

Design your maps with the final display medium in mind

Design your maps with the final display medium in mind

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Preparing for GeoVation Camp — a video from our last camp

By , 17 December, 2014 8:00 am

Since we announced the GeoVation finalists who have been invited to GeoVation Camp, many of you have been asking for more information on camp and what you can do to prepare.

GeoVation Camp runs from Friday evening until Sunday evening and it is where the hard work and fun really begins.  It is important that you bring a team with you as there will be lots to work through. The camp is based around framework that Innovation = Problem x Solution x Execution and we’ve made a great video which explains more about this. It shows you what will happen at camp and you can hear about other people’s experience.

During the weekend you  will have the opportunity to think about questions such as what problem are you trying to solve? What would happen if you did nothing? What is the value of your solution?  How do you demonstrate success?

The weekend is a fun and collaborative process and their will be service designers, GeoVation team members and other people there to help you answer these questions and build your pitches for funding.

Find our more by watching the video from our last challenge, ‘How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain?’

At the end of the weekend you will pitch to the Judging Panel for a share of £100,000 in innovation funding and we will do everything we can to help you and your team be prepared.

Brilliant, competitive environment, team building exercise, A 2 day think tank.

Go with an idea, listen to people with experience, have an open mind and be prepared to adjust both your approach to pitching and the parameters of your idea.

Enjoy!!! a thoroughly amazing experience which I would not have got anywhere else.

– feedback on past GeoVation Camp

Affordability, availability, access and infrastructure

By , 16 December, 2014 8:00 am

Following Roland Harwood’s guest blog, we bring you a second guest blog from one of the judges on our Housing Challenge panel, Jane Davidson. Jane introduces herself and discusses affordability, availability, access and infrastructure: the main themes of the challenge.

GeoVation Housing Challenge

I’m a sucker for a good system – a system that works, is both efficient and effective and opens up access to better information to the widest group of people, preferably on something which can improve their opportunities. So when I was asked to be a judge on the latest GeoVation Challenge, calling for better ideas to enable people in Britain to live in better places, I jumped at the chance.

I have spent years of my life considering housing issues – in the 1980s, as a local councillor in a ward with hundreds of poor quality houses in multiple occupation and as parliamentary researcher on the 1988 Housing Act; in the 1990s, as Head of Housing and Social Care for the Welsh Local Government Association; and, in the 2000s, as the Minister with the overarching responsibility for Environment, Sustainability, Planning, Energy and Housing in the Welsh Government. There are a number of areas on which action can be taken to effect different housing outcomes, both now and for the future, most of which lie in the responsibility of governments – e.g. changing the planning system to produce low carbon, energy efficient buildings, changing tax systems at UK or local council level, releasing more land for building, requiring more social housing, requiring greater energy efficiency obligations, developing incentives for target groups, e.g. first time buyers. All need to be underpinned by a better evidence base  in relation to current practice and opportunity.

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