Geovation 2012: we ‘Advisr’ you get involved!
Neil Taylor from Integrated Transport Planning Ltd was one of last year’s GeoVation winners with the idea, Access Advsr. In this guest post he tells of their experience with GeoVation and why you should enter the ‘How can we transform neighbourhoods in Britain together?’ GeoVation Challenge.
It was great to hear about the launch of the 2012 Geovation Challenge. This is another excellent opportunity for people with innovative ideas about how open data can be used to transform neighbourhoods in a collaborative and inclusive way.
The idea we submitted for Access Advisr was one of 6 lucky recipients of Geovation funding from the 2011 challenge, which focused on ‘How can we improve transport in Britain’. As well as tapping into funding which has enabled us to work on overcoming the technical challenges associated with making our web-application a reality, we gained access to fantastic mentoring support from the judging panel and University partners participating in the Ideas in Transit project.
Consequently we have been able to develop a highly interactive website that enables people to rate the accessibility of transport stops, stations and destinations; as well as sharing their experiences of travelling around by blogging and uploading photos and videos to the site. We are on the cusp of starting our first round of user-testing with people from our hometown of Nottingham, and look forward to receiving their feedback so that we can continue to refine and improve the site.
Not only is it true to say that we would not be in this position were it not for the Geovation competition, but it also worth noting that we made some fantastic contacts through the process of the Geovation Camp and Dragon’s Den showcase. As a result we now find ourselves working on transport crowd sourcing demonstration projects in the Philippines (on behalf of the World Bank) with several of the participants we met at the 2011 Geovation challenge.
Our experience of the 2011 Geovation Challenge continues to be hugely rewarding and we really recommend that you get stuck in and, if your idea gets shortlisted, be prepared to meet lots of interesting, and highly skilled people on the journey. Good Luck!
AccessAdvisr – seeking to improve information on accessible travel
Wondering what our ‘How can we improve transport in Britain? GeoVation Challenge winners have been up to since May? Neil Taylor from Integrated Transport Planning tells us more about what has been happening with AccessAdvisr over the last month:
Since learning that AccessAdvisr had received funding through the GeoVation competition we have been putting the foundations in place to enable our delivery of a proof of concept product in Nottingham over the next 6 months. This chiefly involved pulling together a tightly focused expenditure and deliverable plan so that both we, and our sponsors, have a common understanding of what we are delivering in return for the funding.
We have spent a lot of time talking to interesting contacts at Nottingham City Council, Loughborough and Nottingham Universities, the RNIB and local mobility impairment groups. The result is a fantastic series of offers of help and support for the proof of concept product we will be developing. Our recent chat with RNIB’s innovation team has given us the confidence that we can make AccessAdvisr as visually accessible as possible for people with sight and reading impairments – clearly an important feature for a website and smartphone app that intends to improve the quality and richness of information about accessible transport networks. Our growing network of contacts here in Nottingham (and elsewhere in the UK) means we are already looking forward to engaging with potential service users through a live trial of AccessAdvisr later in the autumn.
We have also spent a good portion of time in month 1 re-analysing some of our own previous user-needs research. Blowing the dust off focus group and depth-interview reports produced over the last 10 years has given us the opportunity to revisit what people have previously told us about barriers that prevent them from getting around. We will be combining this information with practical research undertaken through major research projects such as AuntSue to define the types of information that would make independent travel easier, and exploring how AccessAdvisr can address some of these issues.
Over the course of the next month we will be developing the technical and functional specification for AccessAdvisr. We will also be appointing an app developer (we are in the process of finding out where they hang out, what they eat/drink, etc!) to work as part of our team to help us bring the proof of concept version of AccessAdvisr to life. We’ll keep you posted on how things go through the GeoVation Blog.
In the meantime if you want to learn more about AccessAdvisr, then please contact Neil Taylor at ITP on 0115 9886903, or email: firstname.lastname@example.orgNeil Taylor, Integrated Transport Planning Ltd.