Tag Archives: sustaination

Open data, big data, big changes

Today we have a great guest blog from GeoVation winner, Ed Dowding who tells us what Sustaination is aiming to achieve and how they will be doing this using gathering and using open data:

Imagine if there were a shop in which you knew that everything had been sustainably and fairly sourced.

If you picked up an apple, it would be from the nearest, most viable orchard; if you choose burgers, they would be locally produced from locally grazed cattle; and if it was February the tomatoes would be preserved ones – you’ll savour the anticipation of fresh ones when they’re back in season. In the meantime there’s winter stews to enjoy.

Wouldn’t it be great to shop there? I’d love to know that the money I spend isn’t creating hardship for a farmer – it’s generating livelihoods; it isn’t polluting the planet – it’s actually purifying water; it isn’t hindering future generations – it’s actively enriching the soil; and, in short, that we’re doing the very best we know that we can do.

That’s the vision we’re working towards, and that’s the vision GeoVation is helping us achieve.

So how do we do it?

We’re working on two complementary projects:

1) Foodtrade —  a business-to-business food trade network. It’s  really simple: if you’re a food business (of any size or type, from farm-to-fork) you tell us where you are and what you buy or sell. We’ll try match-make you with others near you. We also do a lot of other clever stuff, and we’ll be launching that soon.

2) I Want Better Food — a new type of campaign site where we help consumers and businesses work together to create a better food system.Image of the Website I want better food

The timing really couldn’t be better (unfortunately). The recent horse meat scandal has brought to mind, again, that we need to take more responsibility for our food.


How geography and innovation can help build food security

Our GeoVation challenge “How can Britain feed itself?” explored the role  geography and innovation can play in an agroecological approach to local food and farming. The emphasis is on building food security and sovereignty through connecting people to locally and sustainably produced food and farming. Geography is about the relationships between people, place, processes (natural and man-made) and planet and is therefore intimately connected to the land and how we use it. Our GeoVation Food Mapping Workshop explored how geography and geographic information can be used in local food and farming.

The links of geography to agro-ecological approaches to food and farming were again apparent at the excellent Oxford Real Farming Conference 2013 on 3-4 January. An ambitious programme covered numerous innovative developments in agroecological approaches to food and farming, from: policy to practice; collaboration and sharing business models for accessing land and production; and crowd funding for financing new initiatives.

Farmers, the world over are very innovative, but knowing whose doing what and where and what resources are available, is important in spreading good practice, knowledge and expertise rapidly. Technology, including social media, and geography is beginning to address that particular challenge. Our GeoVation challenge winners City Farmers, illustrate that in the conference  map they produced.

City Farmers Map of Delegates at Oxford Real Farming Conference

City Farmers map delegates at Oxford Real Farming Conference


Snow time to stop innovating

While much of the country has been dealing with snow in the last few weeks, there’s been no rest for Luke and Ian, who manage Ordnance Survey’s Developer Engagement programme. They ran their first GeoSurgery of 2013 on 17 January at the Google Campus in London and the event was a major success, with some extremely interesting conversations being had with over a dozen developers. The idea to run a quarterly GeoSurgery, an event that provides us with a physical presence in London’s Tech City, came about from the sheer level of interest received in Ordnance Survey’s product and service offering that we have gauged amongst the developer community. Ian – also known as Ordnance Survey’s resident “GeoDoctor” – was on hand to speak to a number of developers that had technical questions relating to the use of location-based data in their respective business offerings. We introduced developers to our portfolio of OS OpenData products, which include the frequently downloaded: OS Streetview; CodePoint Open and Boundary Line – to name just a few.

We’re now in the midst of organising our next OS Developer event, which takes place on 26 February, again in London. This time we’re at the HUB in Westminster, London to hold an evening dedicated to showing existing and potential developers through OS OpenSpace, which is Ordnance Survey’s web mapping service. Specifically, we’ll be showcasing the recent enhancements that we have made to the API, so if you would like to register an interest in coming along, please drop us a line and we’ll add you to the register.

City Farmers Map of Delegates at Oxford Real Farming Conference

City Farmers map delegates at Oxford Real Farming Conference

In early January Chris participated in the Oxford Real Farming Conference where GeoVation food challenge innovators, City Farmers displayed some great maps using OS OpenData showing who is doing what and where.  Some excellent presentations on how collaboration is building resilience in food chains through local food and farming.


Neighbourhood innovation winner passes it on

Last week  Global Entrepreneurship Week was based on a theme of ‘Pass it On’.  One of the entrepreneurs they featured was innovation winner, Ed Dowding, founder of  Sustaination who was awarded £25,000 in development funding from Ordnance Survey  in our ‘How can we transform neighbourhoods in Britain?’ GeoVation Challenge.

Ed is featured in a video, which you can watch below, passing on his ‘making the leap’ tips and talking about Sustaination, a food trade network that provides real time business information and uses web technologies to make it easier for food enterprises to connect up and trade from farm to fork.

Ed advises ‘Get going [with your idea] straight away, humanity has never faced a bigger series of challenges…  the opportunity, the ability to execute on an idea has never been greater… it’s too important to waste time’.

Sustaination was awarded funding at our GeoVation Showcase in June to develop a website and app that will use Ordnance Survey data products in the implementation of the idea, something we look forward to telling you more about on the blog as this takes shape.

GeoVators collaborate in transport innovation

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link to event information

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On Monday we held our Collaboration and User Innovation in Transport event at the RSA in London.  The event,  which was supported by Ordnance Survey, the Ideas in Transit project, Department for Transport, Technology Strategy Board and SBRI, was a great success with over 70 people attending from government, universities, and organisations involved with sustainable travel and technology.

The event, which was introduced by Peter ter Haar of Ordnance Survey,  had a great line up of speakers throughout the day from Forum for the Future, Technology Strategy Board, Ito World, Arup , University of the West of England, Loughborough University and the Department for Transport and GeoVation.


Four winners for GeoVation Neighbourhood Challenge

Well done to everyone who took part in the Transforming Neighbourhoods GeoVation Showcase yesterday at Ordnance Survey’s head office.Transforming Neighbourhoods image

After an exciting day of pitching and presentations from 10 excellent ideas teams, the judging panel selected 4 winners from the ‘How can we transform neighbourhoods in Britain together?’ GeoVation Challenge to be awarded a share of £115,000 in seed funding and the audience voted for their favourite idea to win the  £1,000 community prize.

Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust were awarded the top prize of £40,000 in development funding to take forward their idea Community Payback Visibility. They also won the Community Award of £1 000.

Community Payback is unpaid work carried out by offenders on community service and the idea is for the public to nominate sites to Community Payback and track progress on a website.

Three others winners were awarded £25,000 to take their ideas forward. They are:

Residents’ Green Space Mapper  from Groundwork.  A tool for for local residents to survey open spaces in their area in collaboration with their housing association and have a say in improving its use.

Shout Crime from Ideal for All – a hate crime reporting smartphone App and social plugins – making it easier for people to report these crimes.

Sustaination  which will use social, local and mobile web technologies to make it cheaper and easier for food enterprises to connect, bringing resilience to our food systems and prosperity to our high streets.

See the video of our winners below

We will be posting some photos from the Showcase soon too!

Next stop for GeoVation is the Wales Coast Path GeoVation Camp this weekend in Cardiff.  You can find out more about the shortlisted ideas coming to Camp here.