Reflections of a new GeoVation judge
To have been a judge for the first time on this year’s GeoVation Challenge, calling for ideas to enable people in Britain to live in better places, has been a privilege. The challenge, as always, is about how to better use Ordnance Survey data innovatively to enhance the public’s understanding and experience. If the future is data driven, how can that data be used most innovatively and accessibly? For the last few years, Ordnance Survey has worked with a number of other organisations to find imaginative and sustainable solutions to a whole range of different challenges. They have inspired ideas and actions that would never have seen the light of day without the GeoVation nudge – or perhaps that should be the GeoVation kick!
The challenge, as far as I am aware, is unique. Not only does it ask respondents to resolve each year’s challenge problem, but it forces collaborative working, skills exchanges, peer mentoring and demands the creation of new and exciting solutions and ventures using geography. Those who become finalists have to bring a team to the GeoVation Camp to work on building the selected idea into a prototype enterprise or venture and pitch it to the independent judging panel for the chance to win a share of funding to implement – subject to completion of a satisfactory venture plan. The process is equally gruelling and exhilarating, for both judges and contestants!
GeoVation ideas from a service perspective
A guest post from Alison Prendiville, who will be one of the judges on our Housing Challenge panel.
For a third year running it is a great pleasure to be invited back to judge the Ordnance Survey GeoVation Challenge – ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’
Every year the ideas posted in response to the Challenge are impressive and this year is no exception. Linking up Ordnance Survey data with the Land Registry’s licensable data offers an interesting mix of [government] data sources to address some of the current challenges facing UK housing, neighbourhoods and communities; it also presents perhaps one of the most difficult contexts for a GeoVation Challenge.
Affordability, availability, access and infrastructure
Following Roland Harwood’s guest blog, we bring you a second guest blog from one of the judges on our Housing Challenge panel, Jane Davidson. Jane introduces herself and discusses affordability, availability, access and infrastructure: the main themes of the challenge.
I’m a sucker for a good system – a system that works, is both efficient and effective and opens up access to better information to the widest group of people, preferably on something which can improve their opportunities. So when I was asked to be a judge on the latest GeoVation Challenge, calling for better ideas to enable people in Britain to live in better places, I jumped at the chance.
I have spent years of my life considering housing issues – in the 1980s, as a local councillor in a ward with hundreds of poor quality houses in multiple occupation and as parliamentary researcher on the 1988 Housing Act; in the 1990s, as Head of Housing and Social Care for the Welsh Local Government Association; and, in the 2000s, as the Minister with the overarching responsibility for Environment, Sustainability, Planning, Energy and Housing in the Welsh Government. There are a number of areas on which action can be taken to effect different housing outcomes, both now and for the future, most of which lie in the responsibility of governments – e.g. changing the planning system to produce low carbon, energy efficient buildings, changing tax systems at UK or local council level, releasing more land for building, requiring more social housing, requiring greater energy efficiency obligations, developing incentives for target groups, e.g. first time buyers. All need to be underpinned by a better evidence base in relation to current practice and opportunity.
Final few hours to enter the housing challenge
As we enter the final few hours of the £101,000 GeoVation Challenge to find ways to tackle some of the long standing housing issues such as affordability, availability, access and infrastructure and best use of assets.
When we launched the GeoVation Challenge we explored some of these problems and why they are important. For instance, affordability and what this means can vary considerably by geography, community, household or individual. In the 1950’s the average house cost just over 4 times the average salary, but had risen to over 8 times by 2008.
How do we ensure there are enough suitable properties available for first time buyers to get on the property ladder? Why? Because only 18% of more than 325,000 properties with at least two bedrooms for sale in England were within financial reach of a household with children in an average local wage. (more…)
OS OpenData Masterclasses Begin in Collaboration with Land Registry
Our Guest blog today is from the Land Registry team who are working with us on our current GeoVation Challenge “How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?”. Land Registry were extremely excited to be working along side us on this years masterclasses giving them a hands on opportunity to show case their data sets in action.
This year’s first GeoVation open data masterclass took place on Thursday 16 October in Tech Hub Swansea. We partnered with Ordnance Survey to host the event, with support from IT specialists Software Alliance Wales. (more…)
Malvern Festival of Innovation returned for its third successive year
The Nationally acclaimed Malvern Festival of Innovation returned for its third successive year last week, and Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation were proud to be Silver sponsors of this year’s festival.
The event, was launched on Wednesday (October 1), and has continued to grow. This year’s event spanned four days at Malvern Theatres including some parallel events around the town with a range of excellent guest speakers.
Organised by Malvern-based Key IQ in association with Malvern Hills District Council and supported by numerous sponsors such as Lockheed Martin, Santandar, UK Trade & Investment and of course GeoVation,, the festival is a free event. This year’s festival focused on engineering and manufacturing, cyber security, and the Business of Innovating explored, with keynote speakers descending on Malvern from around the UK.
Today’s GeoVation Housing Challenge workshop
If you missed our GeoVation Housing Challenge launch event yesterday, today there is the opportunity to join us in our free Housing Challenge workshop at the Building Center, London.
The free workshop starts at 2 pm – 5 pm. You will get to hear from expert speakers about the problems that fall into our Challenge themes, we will be looking for innovative ideas that address these problems using Ordnance Survey and Land Registry data, products or services, technology and good design.
Chris Parker, Head of GeoVation, Ordnance Survey will give a brief introduction to GeoVation and the theme of our Challenge this year ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’ he will then introduce our three speakers for the Workshop:
David Waterhouse – Head of Strategy for Cabe at the Design Council
Alastair Parvin – Co Founder of the WikiHouse
Jim Vine – Director of Innovation HACT
Each of our speakers will give a 15-minute presentation with a brief Q&A session after.
GeoVation Housing Challenge Launch Event
Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation challenges encourage the use of open data, other data and existing products and services in the development of new ventures that generate social, economic and environmental value.
Ordnance Survey and Land Registry are pleased to announce the launch of the latest GeoVation Challenge ‘How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?’ in which we’re offering a slice of £101,000 in funding to develop the best ideas submitted.
The GeoVation Housing Challenge is being officially launched within the WikiHouse at The Building Centre during the London Design Festival. The WikiHouse is a low-energy house that anyone can download, adapt, ‘print’ and assemble in a few days, with no construction skills, for less than £50,000. The Building Centre is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to advancing innovation in the built environment.
On Monday 15 September 2014 we will be holding our launch event (register). Chris Parker will give a short introduction about GeoVation and then introduce our guest speakers:
Finn Williams – Founder of Common Office
Andrew Van Doorn – Deputy Chief Executive, HACT
John Carpenter – Director of Planning and Strategy, Ordnance Survey
Lynne Nicholson – Senior Product Manager, Land Registry (more…)
Mapsum: walking a path from recreation to retail
Today’s guest blog post is from Chris McCormack and Alex Davies-Moore of Wimborne based company Mapsum, winners of our GeoVation Challenge “How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain?”. Mapsum won £26,000 to develop their idea Tagd, a service that allows anyone or any group to create, share and discover custom interactive routes that contain personalised, targeted media messages at waypoints along the routes. The system will work with existing networks, such as cycling clubs, local interest groups and geocachers to get more people involved in physical activity and to discover the outdoors.
Our ambitions were small before we started on this journey with Ordnance Survey.
We entered the GeoVation contest hoping to build an app to keep kids amused while on long walks. A family could create their own trail from a computer and set virtual geocaches for the kids to find when they were out on the walk – and these digital geocaches (or treasure) would be tailored by Mum and Dad so they chimed with the kids. So a boy who liked Batman, would get Batman themed questions, quizzes or pictures as he used a mobile to follow the trail created by his parents. Neat, simple, and targeted at families who want to stop the kids getting bored on walks.
But when we worked with the GeoVation team, it was made clear that our app, while interesting, wouldn’t make a dent on the huge problem of inactivity and obesity in Britain…and the Ordnance Survey wanted us to make a dent. (more…)
GeoVation winners OpenPlay launch new site
OpenPlay is a web and mobile platform designed to connect sports facilities to the public. It takes away the hassle of finding and booking sports facilities and activities with a focus on parks, open spaces and schools. Examples include tennis courts, football pitches, multi-use games areas and sports halls.
It was born out of frustration whilst trying to source football pitches for an U15 team in South London. I found the experience to be a complete nightmare with endless fruitless phone calls and a lack of transparency over pricing and condition of facilities on offer. I met my business partner who also shared the same frustrations and we launched the original OpenPlay platform in February 2013. We lived off cereal and a startup loan for over a year until we heard about the Geovation programme.
From running OpenPlay, we began to realise that we could also use the platform to help tackle the physical inactivity crisis which is sweeping the nation. Parks and schools are massive areas for physical activities, yet little is (more…)
OS Innovation Newsletter – Summer edition
By now you should have received our summer edition of OS innovation newsletter, with of exciting news for the GeoVation and developer community – including news of our new GeoVation Challenge, a call for your Minecraft maps, an up date on our developer challenge winners and find out how you can step up to the challenge with Daniel Raven-Ellison.
GeoVation winner Medal Routes launches app
Ramblers Scotland one of our most recent GeoVation Challenge winners has steamed ahead since receiving the £28,000 in funding from the ‘How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain‘ Challenge to develop Medal Routes App.
Rob Burns and Jeannie Cranfield submitted the idea to develop a mobile app to add to the existing Medal Routes website. Medal Routes already uses Ordnance Survey data to map three short (15, 30 and 60 minute) circular walks from identified walking hubs to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds throughout Scotland to integrate walking into their daily life. Printed tear-off maps and A5 leaflets are available at each hub and also online.