2nd January 2014

Happy Active New Year!

Viv Alexander

Happy active new year from GeoVation!

I hope you had an enjoyable festive break and start to the New Year.   Many people see the start of a new year as an opportunity to set some resolutions to lose weight, or take up a new activity to help them to be fitter. I was glad of a chance to get out running over the holiday period.   I love taking part in my local free parkrun which  I think is a great example of an idea that encourages active lifestyles.  It started locally with a  simple solution (it started with just 13 runners doing a weekly time trial in a London Park) that embraces the use of digital technology (website registration, bar codes, electronic timing, email and text results), includes the use of mapping data (the course, location, directions) and has been scaled up – parkruns are now held in 344 locations.

So if you’ve been thinking about ways to be more active while getting some fresh air in the new year, then this is an ideal time to revisit our GeoVation Challenge to encourage active lifestyles.  As with previous GeoVation Challenges we are looking for great ideas which address the problems using geography, technology and good design. Ordnance Survey will be offering a slice of £100,000 to help develop ventures that make best use of our data, including OS OpenData and OS OpenSpace, together with other open data to solve problems.

I’m always looking for information that can help entrants to the GeoVation Challenge and I came across  some great resources and tools that can you help to see the impacts of physical inactivity on different levels:

The Health Impact of Physical Inactivity (HIPI) was released last summer  by Public Health England, it allows you to see the percentage of adults who are physical active in each local authority in England and how many cases of certain diseases could be prevented by engaging in physical activity.

The World Health Organisation(WHO) have  published 10 facts on physical activity such as  ‘physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality’ and ‘supportive environments and communities may help people to be more physically active’ – it’s worth taking a look at.

Another tool is the WHO/Europe Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) designed to help users to see the health benefits of walking or cycling intervention. HEAT attaches a value to the estimated level of cycling or walking.

So if this helps to get you thinking about the how some of the problems we identified  can be addressed enter the GeoVation Challenge online. The  challenge closes on 15 January 2014 (12 noon) so get your thinking caps on!