Today’s blog is written by Gemma Ordnance Survey’s Social Media Manager, Gemma attended the presentations of the seven finalists of Ordnance Survey’s Developer Challenge.
Ordnance Survey teamed up with TechHub late last year to launch the Developer Challenge and were thrilled to receive 35 entries by the closing date in February. They whittled that down to seven finalists and had a fantastic morning at TechHub’s Old Street office this week watching the seven pitch their innovative geolocation ideas for a chance to win a year’s support package for their start-ups.
The finalists had just five minutes to present their innovative, profitable or cost saving ideas, all using Ordnance Survey data at the core. Following their Dragon’s Den-style pitch, the finalists then had five minutes to be questioned by the talented panel of judges.
Following deliberation, the judges unanimously chose three winning teams from the pitches meaning that Downstreams, Locappy and Tindre (teams pictured above) have all won a year’s flex membership at one of the country’s innovative TechHub centres and a full mentorship programme from Ordnance Survey and TechHub for twelve months.
The Downstreams team consists of Ant Parsons, Paula Nickson and Simon Redding. They described an innovative service to connect communities along rivers. Downstreams will help people to identify, incubate and crowd-fund flood prevention and environmental improvements on river systems. The team plan to use a range of Ordnance Survey products, including OS MasterMap Networks – Water Layer to make flooding and water quality impacts on downstream communities explicit, explaining to these communities the value of collaborative investment in their river.
Locappy’s winning idea was presented by Sebastian Lyall. His idea is to connect small, local businesses with their local customer base via effective digital marketing. Locappy is available via multiple channels as well as the Locappy app. Ordnance Survey data can help the Locappy team to effectively define and cluster neighbourhoods across London, and eventually wider, so that customer and businesses can choose the areas relevant to them to advertise in or receive information on.
London and Brighton-based Jakub Tomanik’s winning idea was Tindre – helping iBeacon’s to catch fire. Aimed at mobile app developers and iBeacon integrators/owners, it is a service that enhances situational and location awareness of mobile apps which work with Bluetooth beacons (iBeacons) and a platform for iBeacons owners to manage them and connect with developers. Tindre will use OS MasterMap dataset as a foundation for the backend solution.
The seven finalists pitched ideas from improving transport systems for hospital patients to make appointments to providing location-based news streams customised by user and Ordnance Survey were really impressed by them all. Impressed with the breadth of ideas and passion of the pitchers on the day, that Ordnance Survey offered developer support and expertise to all of the finalists.
The three winning teams have been awarded with a year’s flex membership with TechHub. The fully tailored mentorship programme uses both Ordnance Survey and TechHub, opening up a wealth of opportunities for the winners, including legal advice, sales and marketing support, product expertise and advice on future funding options. The winners will receive regular access to technical guidance, support and advice from Ordnance Survey on how to unlock the full potential of the full range of datasets.
The judging panel included lead judge, Gary Gale, geo-technologist and geographer who was looking for technology that could transform and ideas with a good business model for the future; Claudia Arney – Independent Non-Executive Director, TelecityGroup and Chair of The Public Data Group who was keen that our winners didn’t just have a commercially viable idea, but that they would also benefit from TechHub and Ordnance Survey’s expertise; Elizabeth Varley TechHub CEO and co-founder, ensuring winners would benefit from TechHub’s guidance and mentoring over their next six months; and Peter ter Haar, Ordnance Survey’s Director of Products and Innovation, looking for budding ideas that have data and location at their core.
The Developer Challenge was set up to help engage more with developers at Ordnance Survey, to support new businesses and help unlock the potential of accurate and highly-detailed geographic information. TechHub were the perfect partners to bring Ordnance Survey together with the tech start-up ecosystem as they provide technology start-ups with a place to work, meet, collaborate, network, learn and have fun.