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.

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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Reimagine London

By , 2 March, 2015 8:00 am

London isn’t just a city but a diverse region.

Murad Quereshi, London Assembly Member for the Labour Party and deputy Chair of the Environment Committee and Chair of London Waterways Commission

Reimagine London — sponsored by Ordnance Survey, Thames Tideway Tunnel and Queen Mary University of London — took place on Tuesday in Southbank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The event was part of a larger project, Greater London National Park, which began in September 2014 and which invites Londoners to reevaluate their understanding of their city, of National Parks, and of the relationships between urban and rural; and to imagine how the city could be improved. It was initiated by Daniel Raven-Ellison, a winner of our Transport Challenge with Mission:Explore.

OS floormap

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New OS partner Land Technologies

By , 26 February, 2015 8:00 am

Today we bring you a guest blog from Land Technologies, participants in our Developer Challenge who have gone on to become an Ordnance Survey partner.

Our original submission to the developer challenge was about creating a web application that makes it easy to quickly assess land to judge its potential for development. Many housing projects don’t get started because the initial piece of work of finding a good site at the right price is very difficult. We want to change that.

Preview of Land Insight

Preview screenshot of Land Insight

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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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