Tag Archives: GeoVation

GeoTech Masterclasses: GeoData Visualisation

Learn how to design your own map at a Geovation Masterclass

Geovation is holding a series of hands-on introductory workshops to teach you the principles of visualising with geographic data. As all tickets were snapped up for both our London HQ and Edinburgh sessions, we’ve decided to run four more events around the country over the next few weeks, completely FREE. 


Firstly, let’s quickly recap on Geovation. In partnership with HMLR, Geovation is Ordnance Survey’s award-winning open innovation initiative. The scheme is well-established (almost a decade and counting!) and actively champions innovation in both the GeoTech and PropTech fields, resulting in location and property data start-ups receiving funding, business support and strategic backing.

Joining Geovation as a member unlocks a host of community benefits such as free desk space, access to an active online community forum and the potential to learn and apply for funding through the Geovation Programme. The Geovation Programme welcomes two cohorts of start-ups every year and offers a unique and attractive blend of the aforementioned support. Each start-up receives £20k in funding along with a range of resources and services to help nurture and develop their businesses. The initiative is mainly, though not exclusively, geared for those entering the geolocation market-place for the first time.


The Masterclasses

Each lasting two hours, these hands-on sessions will provide both a theoretical and practical introduction to the art of visualising with geo data. As well as providing an overview of our GeoDataViz team and the important role they play within OS, you will be introduced to the GeoDataViz toolkit. This is a set of assets and resources that can help with communicating data effectively through the design of compelling and informative visuals. It’ll then move on to the practical side of the workshop where different thematic mapping techniques will be explored.

From beginner to more technically advanced, our sessions cater for all levels. The workshop materials are all openly available online and, as open source software is used, delegates will be able to work on the materials in their own time after the event too. A member of the Geovation team will also be available to answer any questions you may have about the funding and support opportunities open to you through Geovation.

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Geovation Tech Blog

This blog is an unruly space where our team of software engineers can share code, educate us with their location-based projects and for all things tech related.

Check out some of our latest posts: geovation.github.io

Starting the Sustainable Catchments project

Well done to all the finalists who took part in the Water Challenge Geovation Camp held at Ordnance Survey over the weekend 4-6 March. The finalists had been selected as the best ideas entered to our Geovation Challenge to tackle problems associated with improving water use in Britain sustainably. Dr Steve Buss is an environmental scientist, based in Shrewsbury. A hydrogeologist by training, his professional interests also include spatial modelling and Python programming. In the Sustainable Catchments team Steve works alongside Mark Fermor, Chairman of the Geosmart Information Group.

His Story 

I had been following the Geovation Programme for some time on Twitter and previous challenges excited me but weren’t in my field. As the Water Challenge was launched, in Winter 2015/16, northern England and Scotland were experiencing devastating floods. Many commentators and organisations, including Defra and the Environment Agency, started to come around to the idea that flooding could be mitigated by changing the way that we use land in the catchments upstream of vulnerable communities.

 Floods can cause large quantities of water to flow over green land, destroying wildlife habitats and natural landscapes

Floods can cause large quantities of water to flow over green land, destroying wildlife habitats and natural landscapes

Our initial idea was to develop a national map of the areas where there is an opportunity to change the way the land is managed so that rain water can be held up and released slowly. Planting trees, blocking drains, putting meanders back in to rivers all act to spread the flood peak so that the risk to downstream homeowners and businesses is reduced. Given that the Geovation Challenge is run by the Ordnance Survey it was clear that inputs from the country’s mapping agency would be invaluable in making the project happen. As Mark and I worked through the proposal at Geovation Camp we realised that we should look at all the other benefits that the flood mitigation measures might provide to the environment: better water quality, improved water resource, cleaner bathing waters, better habitats for wildlife… So the idea has moved on from creating a tool that simply proposes natural flood mitigation measures to a more holistic mapping platform which takes into account all the benefits that changing catchment land use might provide.

We are now working with the Geovation Hub to develop a web app that can be used to map opportunity areas for land use change. We are using a spatial model to process national maps from the Ordnance Survey, Environment Agency and other agencies into the raw data that the system will work with. The web app will be online for limited trials with community flood groups, and government agencies, in July 2016 and opened up to the public in November 2016. Our strategy for data licensing is to use primarily Open Data as inputs to the model so that we can release some of the model outputs as Open Data. With free access for everybody we hope to stimulate communities to work with land managers in their catchments to reduce the impacts of flooding, and to improve their local environment for all.

Watch out for more blog posts from our Geovation Water Challenge winners in the future. Don’t miss out! See the reactions from all three Challenge winners on YouTube. Twitter: @srbuss / @geosmartinfo  

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.

OS Innovation newsletter May 2015

If you are interested in receiving all the latest OS Innovation news, you can subscribe here.

Final few hours to enter the housing challenge

As we enter the final few hours of the £101,000 GeoVation Challenge to find GoVAtion Challenge 8 Logoways 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.
Affordabilty smallHow 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…)

From attending OS OpenData Masterclass, to winning GeoVation

masterclas promo graphic

Today’s blog was written by Land Registry and is reproduced here with their kind permission.

When Jason Davies registered for a GeoVation opendata Masterclass in 2012, he had no idea that it would become the springboard for winning GeoVation Challenge funding.

Jason who worked for Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust registered for the class because he wanted to learn more about Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping data. His organisation who work with offenders serving community sentences, were already considering how they could get members of the public to nominate suitable Community Payback projects.


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.


geovation open data masterclass graphic


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…)

Today the neighbourhood tomorrow the world! – Run An Empire

Run An Empire Home page

Today’s guest Blog is by Sam Hill, of Run An Empire, winners of the How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain? Challenge. The Hoxton based, PAN Studio were awarded £26,000 to develop their idea. Run an Empire is an exercise strategy game on a smart phone app, which uses GPS with Ordnance Survey data to record paths players take and allow people to compete to capture and maintain control of as much territory as possible, using neighbourhoods as arenas for play. The more times people run or walk around their neighbourhood the more secure they can make it against ‘invasion’.