11th April 2013

Digital technology to digital economy – our involvement at Urban Prototyping Festival

Luke Hampson

up london logo

Held at Imperial College, London between 8th April and 26th June, Urban Prototyping (UP London) is an International festival that brings more than 300 developers, technologists, academics, artists, government bodies and community groups together for a series of events that focus on the role that digital technology can play in creating sustainable society.

This year we were invited to participate and contribute to the agenda, which has a specific theme concentrating on the role that digital technology can play in harnessing the creation of resilient environments, economies and communities. We were delighted to accept the invite, as the festival presents an opportunity for us to introduce our range of products and services in such a context, whilst allowing us to engage with communities that might not have previously considered the many benefits geographic information can bring to potential innovations.

On Tuesday, a series of workshops were held that explored the “Internet of Things for Future Cities” and we contributed to the session by running a 2-hour workshop. We used the time by firstly reminding and in some instances, introducing people to the geographic information that Ordnance Survey have produced and maintained for over 200 years. After setting this context, we then provided details of both our free web mapping API – OS OpenSpace  – as well as our range of OS OpenData products before inviting everyone to partake in a shortened version of our popular OS OpenData Masterclass. Many developers have used OS OpenData and OS OpenSpace to solve problems and in turn create social, economic and environmental value, so it seemed entirely relevant to offer this information to the festival goers.

Mapping graphic displaying crime data

As part of the Masterclass, we used OS OpenData to create a heat map that depicts crime statistics

Yesterday, Chris Parker, who heads up Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation programme held a panel debate that explored the role that geographic information can play in creating sustainable and resilient environments. Chris highlighted that developers and entrepreneurs alike can obtain seed funding through the GeoVation programme – allowing them to kick-start their venture. The current challenge – ‘How can we help British Business improve environmental performance?’ – is currently calling for innovative ideas, with the best ones being in with a chance of winning a slice of £100,000 in innovation funding.

Our final involvement at UP London will be to attend the Hackathon Weekend that takes place on 19 – 21 April. During the hackathon, participants will be challenged to create technology solutions that drive real-world change and quantify their impact on improving the environment, local economy or local community. Again, we’ll be encouraging the use of OS OpenSpace and OS OpenData products amongst the developers. It’s shaping up to be an exciting weekend, with over 200 attendees registered already. If you are interested in taking part, click here to register.