3rd January 2013

Happy Innovating in 2013

Viv Alexander

Happy new year from GeoVation. I hope you had an enjoyable festive break and start to the New Year.  I spent Christmas fairly quietly at home but after a great holiday in December visiting New York and Costa Rica, I was glad of a chance to catch up and get back out running. I’ve been taking part in my local free parkrun which  I think is a great example of an idea starting locally with a  simple solution (it started with just 13 runners in a London Park 13 years ago) 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, directions) and has been scaled up – parkruns are now held at 155 locations around the UK with an average of 134 runners at each event.

Photo taken in Cardiff - do you know where it is?

Photo taken when visiting Cardiff for the GeoVation Showcase. Do you know where it is and what it’s called?

In 2012,  GeoVation ran 2 GeoVation challenges. The first, focused on transforming neighbourhoods in Britain and second on  connecting visitors and communities to the new Wales Coast Path.  We had a great response to these challenges resulting in 9 new innovative ideas that we, together with our partners in the Wales Coast Path Challenge, were able to award funding to and which will help get these exciting ventures off the ground.

Helping to transform neighbourhoods, Community Payback Visibility is an app that will allow the local community in the Staffordshire and West Midlands to nominate sites for work to be carried out by offenders on community service and track the progress. Residents’ Green Space Mapper provides a tool for local residents to have a say in the future of open spaces in their area. Shout Crime will allow people to report hate crimes more easily and Sustaination are using social, local and mobile web technologies to make it cheaper and easier for food enterprises to connect and bring resilience to our food systems

Along the Wales Coast Path, Perfect Visitor Companion will be using geolocation and a multimedia smartphone app to guide visitors to the path and surrounding area.  Food Finder will operate online and offline to help visitors and communities to find local, sustainable delicious food. ap Ogam plan to use a bilingual smartphone app to share local stories of places and features along the path with visitors, while Living Paths will help local communities create a  Wikipedia page to post stories about their communities and make local information more accessible. Growing Routes combines data from a variety of sources to provide gap analysis to help build local economies.

Our 2012 winners are now busy with development of their ideas.  We will be posting more about these innovations throughout 2013 as they develop and launch.

So what’s happening in 2013? Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation has been running innovation challenges since 2009 and has, so far, supported 20 winning ventures with innovation funding, but we know there’s always room for improvement so we’ve been taking a look at how we can make innovating with GeoVation even better. Your feedback has contributed to helping us with this. It has meant we took some time out from running challenges in the later part of 2012 but we’ve also  been working on a new challenge which we will be announcing here in the next couple of months.

Meanwhile there’s still time to enter our prize draw, for a chance of winning an Apple® iPad 64 GB or be one of five runners up who will win a VIP day at Ordnance Survey’s head office in Southampton. We are really keen to hear if you use OS OpenData.  If you tell us which datasets you use, and which you find useful and why, we will enter you into the prize draw.  Enter here Closing date is the end of March.