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.
GeoVation Opening Doors
Today’s guest blog is from one of our finalists who took part in the recent Active Lifestyle challenge Jackie Roby.
One evening, in the depths of darkest January, I logged on to Facebook to find a message from a friend that read ‘Are you going to do it?’ with a link to the GeoVation Active Lifestyles Challenge. I’d never heard of GeoVation and with the challenge closing in less than a week I thought it was unlikely. At the same time I had an idea that had been floating around in my mind that fitted the challenge criteria well and before I knew it, it was the early hours of the morning and I’d entered the competition.
The week passed and a few days after the deadline I received and email congratulating me on becoming a GeoVation finalist. Oh. My. Goodness. This was happening!
My idea to encourage more active lifestyles was ‘Outdoor Discovery Backpacks’, rucksacks stuffed with fun games, ideas and tools to help children and their families explore nature and the great outdoors. I wanted to create a fun and exciting resource that was available from local libraries that, using OS maps, would help families to discover and enjoy their local green spaces.
The GeoVation Camp weekend at the end of February, passed in a complete blur; meeting lots of innovative people with great ideas, learning all sorts of interesting things I’d never heard of such as paper prototyping, hearing from past winners and getting to pick the brains of inspiring people such as Andy Middleton. My teammate Dave and I bounced our way around Ordnance Survey head office, becoming known for our smiles and enthusiasm. I think a bit of delirium crept in too! (more…)
Wales Coast Path GeoVation Winners
In March 2012, we launched our Wales Coast Path Challenge ‘How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coat Path?’ – GeoVation partnered with the Technology Strategy Board’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) programme, and the Welsh Government. The Challenge was supported by Ramblers Cymru and by the Inventorium programme.
Out of the 8 finalists, 5 winners were chosen and the winners received a share of £125,000 in innovation funding:
Snout Wales (from Oli – formerly Perfect Visitor Companion) – £40,000
Real Food Wales – £30,000, plus £1,000 community award
Ap ogam – £30,000
Living Paths – £17,500
Growing Routes – £7,500
We caught up with the winners and partners last year and made the video below which gives a great insight to what they got out of the GeoVation Camp and what has been happening since the Camp.
Gareth Browning, Research & Development projects Senior Adviser, Welsh Government and Gwenda Owen, Community Engagement Ramblers Cymru, explain the benefits the Challenge will (and has) brought to the Welsh Coast Path community so far.
Helen and Nicola Steer, Real Food Wales, not only praise the GeoVation process on how open it is but also explain how they have managed to launch their product and the initial response/feedback they have had. While Richard Fairhurst, Growing Routes, explains how having access to the complete OS OpenData sets gave his idea a much broader target audience to his original concept. Robin Owain, Llwybrau Bywu (living Paths), is thrilled with the new role he has. Thanks to the GeoVation Challenge panel choosing his idea, Robin is now an employee of Wikipedia as the Welsh manager – congratulations Robin!