Dangerous words in our office. The two of us run a small business (www.nautoguide.com) aiming to change the world of digital mapping and “great ideas” often lead us astray from the path we should be formally treading. But I just couldn’t keep quiet; I’d been reading the challenge laid out by the GeoVation team and immediately saw how we could make a compelling case.
Richard Reynolds and Dave Barter with Roland Harwood
The challenge centred around the theme of housing and asked, “How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?” I mulled this over whilst grasping a cup of coffee and asked myself who best understands the needs and issues of the community? Is it the powers that be? Is it those servicing the community? No, it’s the community themselves. They always know what needs improving and often know the best way to go about it, why not give them a tool where they can describe their needs, describe their solution and let the good ideas gather momentum? Surely this would enable people to live in better places by giving them a tool to facilitate change.
I turned to my business partner Richard and we began to develop our thinking further. We saw how a well annotated map that could be easily shared across social networks would go a long way to describe the needs and ideas a community may have. We also saw how these ideas could be seeded in a form of consultation by the powers that be, asking communities what they thought of plans and allowing interactive discussion with the map as the basis.
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.
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.’
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 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.
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'»
Today’s guest Blog is by Sam Hill, of Run An Empire, winners of the How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain? Challenge. The Hoxton based, PAN Studio were awarded £26,000 to develop their idea. Run an Empire is an exercise strategy game on a smart phone app, which uses GPS with Ordnance Survey data to record paths players take and allow people to compete to capture and maintain control of as much territory as possible, using neighbourhoods as arenas for play. The more times people run or walk around their neighbourhood the more secure they can make it against ‘invasion’.
Today’s guest blog post is from Chris McCormack and Alex Davies-Moore of Wimborne based company Mapsum, winners of our GeoVation Challenge “How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain?”. Mapsum won £26,000 to develop their idea Tagd, a service that allows anyone or any group to create, share and discover custom interactive routes that contain personalised, targeted media messages at waypoints along the routes. The system will work with existing networks, such as cycling clubs, local interest groups and geocachers to get more people involved in physical activity and to discover the outdoors.
Our ambitions were small before we started on this journey with Ordnance Survey.
We entered the GeoVation contest hoping to build an app to keep kids amused while on long walks. A family could create their own trail from a computer and set virtual geocaches for the kids to find when they were out on the walk – and these digital geocaches (or treasure) would be tailored by Mum and Dad so they chimed with the kids. So a boy who liked Batman, would get Batman themed questions, quizzes or pictures as he used a mobile to follow the trail created by his parents. Neat, simple, and targeted at families who want to stop the kids getting bored on walks.
OpenPlay is a web and mobile platform designed to connect sports facilities to the public. It takes away the hassle of finding and booking sports facilities and activities with a focus on parks, open spaces and schools. Examples include tennis courts, football pitches, multi-use games areas and sports halls.
It was born out of frustration whilst trying to source football pitches for an U15 team in South London. I found the experience to be a complete nightmare with endless fruitless phone calls and a lack of transparency over pricing and condition of facilities on offer. I met my business partner who also shared the same frustrations and we launched the original OpenPlay platform in February 2013. We lived off cereal and a startup loan for over a year until we heard about the Geovation programme.
Ramblers Scotland one of our most recent GeoVation Challenge winners has steamed ahead since receiving the £28,000 in funding from the ‘How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain‘ Challenge to developMedal Routes App.
Rob Burns and Jeannie Cranfield submitted the idea to develop a mobile app to add to the existing Medal Routes website. Medal Routes already uses Ordnance Survey data to map three short (15, 30 and 60 minute) circular walks from identified walking hubs to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds throughout Scotland to integrate walking into their daily life. Printed tear-off maps and A5 leaflets are available at each hub and also online.
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!
My 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'»