Green innovation ventures for sustainability
This Friday is World Environment Day.
World Environment Day was established in 1973 and takes place annually on 5 June. The event is organised by the United Nations Environment Programme, each year around a different theme. The theme this year is sustainable consumption and production.
As a part of its community focus, GeoVation takes an interest in events and projects that support the environment. Our 2013 Environment Challenge, ‘How can we help British business improve environmental performance?’, was very successful and led to funding for four ideas, all of which encourage sustainable living practices.
Cycling innovators and the chance to win a fat bike
Bike Week — the biggest nationwide cycling event in the UK — is coming up on 13-21 June.
The first Bike Week took place in the UK in 1923 — some 40 years after the potentially lethal penny-farthing had been replaced by the safety bicycle — and was started by the Cyclists’ Touring Club. It has since been replicated in Ireland, Canada and the US. In the UK, it takes place annually on the third week of June. It encourages ‘everyday cycling for everyone’ and aims to promote the benefits of cycling to the environment, society, and individuals’ health. The 2015 event has a particular focus on cycling to work.
In 2014, almost half a million cyclists took part in over 1000 events nationwide. This year’s event is in June, but there are hundreds of events taking place throughout the rest of the year. You can find out what events are happening in your area at www.bikeweek.org.uk, along with your nearest bike shops!
In the Geovation team we take a keen interest in events and innovations that promote active lifestyles. Following our 2013 Active Lifestyles Challenge, four GeoVation winners are developing ventures to enable people to be more active, whether through walking, running, or other sports and activities.
In our 2010 Transport Challenge we encouraged ideas which considered more sustainable forms of transport (including cycling). Two of the winning ideas from the latter challenge, Cyclescape and the London Cycle Map Campaign, focused on improving cycling.
OS Innovation newsletter — May 2015
If you’re subscribed to our mailing list, our latest OS Innovation newsletter should now be with you. This edition contains information on the launch of the new Geovation Hub, OS OpenMap – Local, and updates to Points of Interest.
If you are interested in receiving all the latest OS Innovation news, you can subscribe here.
Streetkleen: Helping make Britain a better place to live
By Gary Downie, MD of Streetkleen Bio
Streetkleen Bio was the winner of the ‘How do we improve the environmental performance of British business?’ GeoVation Challenge.
They say inspiration can strike in the most unusual places. For me my eureka moment came three years ago while trying to maneuver my son’s buggy around the piles of dog poo littering the streets near my home.
Everyone deserves to live in a nice environment and as studies have shown, dog fouling can really bring neighbourhoods down, deterring both investment and visitors.
I was incensed that some irresponsible dog owners refused to clear up after their pets but I was also struck by the waste. In nature nothing is wasted, but we humans have an annoying habit of just burying things in the ground instead of doing something useful with them. What a waste of natural assets!
Dog poo, just like sewage and farm manure is an excellent feedstock for anaerobic digestion – a biological process that produces bio gas for heating and creating electricity. It’s a technology that’s been around for decades, but as energy prices soar and the impact on our climate of burning fossil fuels becomes apparent, government and industry alike are looking to anaerobic digestion as an important part of the renewable energy strategy. (more…)
Wales Coast Path – connecting communities and visitors
In 2012 we ran a GeoVation Challenge asking for ideas to better connect visitors and communities along the Wales Coast Path, helping to stimulate economic growth and opportunities in the coastal areas.
One of the winners of the GeoVation Challenge was Living Paths!, an idea from Robin Owain to address the problem of lack of local information available on the Wales Coast Path. Some information is published in pamphlets but these are expensive to distribute and difficult to source. Publishing online is possible but can be difficult due to the complexities of web-authoring for most people. Communities in Wales often find it difficult to share information about their locality such as historic buildings, circular paths, geographical features and other points of interest.
Living Paths! Llwybrau Byw! is a project that aims to empower local communities along the Wales Coast Path to create Wikipedia® pages and post stories about their communities, allowing diverse local information to become accessible.
Local people know best about their locality, sights to see and facilities available and through Wikipedia, a digital encyclopaedia; they can share that information. Better, richer information on Wikipedia benefits the users of the path as well as local people, connecting visitors with local communities through information on locations and points of interest (such as wildlife, shipwreck sites, castles, local tales etc).
It’s Easter so lets have a little fun!
EXTENDED TILL 30 April 2014
How do we do that you say? Excellent question!
We’re having an Easter Caption Competition just for you, our GeoVation Community.
It’s very easy! Just look at the photo below, taken at our ‘How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britian’ Challenge Camp, and come up with a caption (one caption per email address) then email it to us along with your name and contact details to Champions@geovation.org.uk
The competition will close at 10am GMT on Wednesday 30 April 2014. We’ll then gather the GeoVation team together to read through your suggestions over a coffee and cake (or the left over Easter Eggs), and pick the one that the team thinks fits the photo best. The winning caption will be announced on the 25 April 2014.
We’ll give the author of our favorite caption an Ordnance Survey Custom Made Map , Umbrella and some GeoVation goodies.
Building prototypes at Glasgow’s Future Cities Hackathon
With more and more of Britain’s population now living in urban environments, is it possible to harness the power of technology more effectively, to make cities a better place to live in? This is a question the UK’s innovation agency – Technology Strategy Board – posed to 50 cities back in 2012, inviting them to bid for a £24m funding award that would enable the winning bidder to become a ‘Future Cities Demonstrator’ – an initiative that, through the use of technology, aims to improve the integration of services and the urban communities that rely upon them. After taking part in the open competition, Glasgow City Council was awarded with the funding.
GeoVation Challenge winners’ reactions to winning at camp
Last weekend saw our GeoVation Camp finalists make their final pitches How to encourage active lifestyles in Britain. We had three successful finalists from the GeoVation Challenge, winning a share of £100,000 in innovation funding to develop their ideas. A £1,000 community prize fund, voted by the camp participants was also awarded. They are:
Building healthy communities with Southampton Hub
Last Thursday Ordnance Survey hosted Business in the Community’s (BITC) Southampton Hub network. The Southampton Hub, launched at Ordnance Survey in October 2012, encourages local businesses to support local communities through partnerships and collaboration.
The event included a tour around Ordnance Survey’s new headquarters and a review of the work and initiatives undertaken by the Hub since its launch just one year ago. The session was introduced by Mike Brophy, Development Director, London, South and South East and Mike Toy, Community Impact Manager, for BITC, respectively, and chaired by Jayne Carrington Managing Director, Right Management Workplace Wellness and BITC Southampton Hub Chair.
Elaine Owen, Schools Sector Manager, introduced the work of Ordnance Survey and Danny Hyam introduced the myriad ways in which Ordnance Survey products and services can be used to mitigate place related problems. The afternoon and evening programme included some inspiring presentations on partnerships between businesses and local schools through BITC’s Business Class programme. This included Wates’ work with Woodland Community College and Cobham’s work with St Aldhelm. Rosy Jones, Enterprise and Employability Manager at Southampton Solent University gave a brief background to the University’s vision for social justice and how engaging students with business can enhance their employability prospects.
Data sources to help get Britain active
The latest GeoVation Challenge calling for ideas to encourage active lifestyles in Britain is now well underway and we have started to see some great ideas submitted already.
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.
Some of the ideas submitted so far include FitSift, an exercise search engine designed to encourage users into exercise and then maintain their interest. It will provide motivation by using location data to provide a set of exercise options that are available right now or when the user is ready.
Win Innovation Funding – New Challenge Launched in 8 Days
We are in the process of putting the finishing touches to our next exciting Innovation Challenge. We have been working hard over the last few months holding ‘Problem Pow Wows’ with key members of the community, public and commercial bodies to develop new GeoVation Challenges to address specific community needs.
All our challenges are aimed at encouraging and supporting the development of innovative applications, products and services that use geographical information to create social, educational, economic and environmental benefit. It aims to provide seed financial funding to a number of ideas, which show the most potential to be developed into sustainable ventures. (more…)
GeoVation winner launches app to help get Community Payback
GeoVation winner, Staffordshire and West Midlands (SWM) Probation Trust, have launched a new app to help the public choose what Community Payback work offenders do.
The new app called ‘Get Community Payback’ was one of four winners in the 2012 GeoVation Challenge to transform Britain’s neighbourhoods and was awarded £41,000 from Ordnance Survey to develop the idea.
Probation Trusts across England and Wales run the successful and popular Community Payback scheme. Across Staffordshire and the West Midlands, over 612,000 hours of Community Payback were completed last year by over 4,500 offenders on a community sentence. This equates to over three and a half million pounds’ worth of free labour provided to local communities as offenders payback for the crimes they have committed.
The free app works on all Android phones and allows users to take a photo of a “grotspot” in their local area for offenders to work on. The image, which is automatically geo-tagged giving it an exact geographic reference, is then sent directly to their local Probation Trust to accurately pinpoint the location.
Community Payback projects include litter picking, clearing dense undergrowth, repairing and redecorating community centres and removing graffiti. If the work is suitable for offenders to do*, Probation will arrange for them to go out and do it.