Tag Archives: GeoVation

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’.


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.

Malvern Header

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.


Join us at the Festival of Innovation in Great Malvern

We’re really excited to be attending this years’ Malvern Festival of Innovation!

The Festival is a smorgasbord of science, technology, social enterprise and entrepreneurship; innovation by name and innovative by nature.

Today we need to innovate more than ever: the way we do business, the way we use resources; the way we live. We need new ideas to stay competitive, new technologies to improve lives, and new insights to lead the way. Join us to discover what’s coming next, to learn how others are innovating, and to showcase your own research and development.

Don’t just think out of the box, jump out of it and join in at the Festival of Innovation in Great Malvern. Possibly the UK’s premier forum for highlighting and discussing new ideas, and unlike many trade and popularist events, the exhibition and symposia are free to attend and open to business professionals, students, and members of the public alike.‘

Malvern Festival of Innovation


Medal Routes mobile app going for gold!

medal routes

The Commonwealth Games this summer proved a massive success for Glasgow, Scotland and indeed for all of Great Britain. Since it was announced back in 2007 that Glasgow would play host to the 20th Games, the Scottish Government has been working to create a lasting legacy from the Games which will encourage more people across the country both to be inspired by sport and to build more physical activity into their daily lives.

Medal Routes LogoIn 2011 Ramblers Scotland introduced their Medal Routes project inspired by this legacy programme. The project encourages local communities to identify three short walking routes in the local area that start and finish from one central location. Each route has a designated medal assigned to it: Bronze (approx. 15 mins walk), Silver (approx. 30 mins walk) and Gold (approx. 60 mins walk). The project is a stepping stone to fitness.