10th July 2013

Innovation to solve business problems with environmental data

Luke Hampson

As many of our blog followers will be aware, the recent GeoVation challenge resulted in four successful finalists being awarded a share of innovation funding to develop their ideas that addressed: “How can we help British business improve environmental performance?”

Whilst our challenge has now drawn to a close, you may be interested to learn that other funding initiatives do exist – such as the forthcoming ‘Solving business problems with environmental data’ competition, which is being launched by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), in collaboration with the Environmental Sustainability KTN.

exhibition space at event

We understand that this competition, which officially opens on 30th September 2013, aims to address many of the problems, themes and insights identified during the Environment GeoVation Pow Wow, so there are many parallels and similarities between the two initiatives. The TSB/NERC competition has allocated up to £3million to invest in a number of business led, collaborative feasibility studies which will establish the proof of market for environmental data-led solutions and should address a specific business issue from one of the following areas:

So; when recently asked to support the TSB/NERC competition we were delighted to accept. Our support started last Friday, when we joined several other partners and data providers for the first in a series of road shows that have been designed to enable potential applicants to understand the nature and spirit of the competition, its intentions to make data accessible, and its timescales.

The event took place at the Crystal, London’s newest landmark building and the world’s first centre dedicated to improving our knowledge of urban sustainability. Businesses, community groups, academics, researchers and local authorities attended – as well as a number of partners and data providers, such as Ordnance Survey.

The Crystal building London

The day consisted of a mixture of exhibition time and hands-on workshops. During the exhibition, delegates were encouraged to network and explore the various data providers and partners. The workshop sessions involved delegates running through exercises that encouraged them to define and focus on a number of environmental issues; exploring why the issues are important and what impact any potential innovations could have if the issue was resolved.

Throughout the day, we promoted our full range of products and services to the delegates, including OS OpenData products and OS OpenSpace – which is our web map API.

Luke in front of OpenData poster


I received lots of interest and fielded many questions relating to our premium datasets too, which customers are able to trial for free, under our range of innovation licences. I was also asked about our general involvement in the forthcoming competition, click here for a listen.

For more information about the “Solving business problems with environmental data competition” including details about the remaining three road shows, click here.