11th July 2012

A week to go to the Wales Coast Path GeoVation Showcase


Over the last week or so, we’ve been giving you more information on the ideas that will be pitching for a share of £125,000 in funding in the   ‘How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coast Path?’ GeoVation Showcase.  

On  Monday we  told you about  Perfect Visitor Companion and View Wales 360 Today, you can find out more about Growing Routes and Food Finder.

If you’d like to see the teams present their ideas in Cardiff on 18 July- sign up for your free ticket.

Growing Routes

On the Pembrokeshire Coast Path just outside Newport, there’s a sign saying: “Remote section. No facilities for 15 miles.” It’s meant as a warning for the walker, but it could just as well be advice for a local entrepreneur: set up a B&B or café here, and you’ll have no competition.

Furlong sign complete

Based on a photo by Peter Curbishley, CC-BY

Growing Routes aims to identify these opportunities. By analysing geographical data, it will find the most promising locations for businesses along the Wales Coast Path. This might be a simple case of ‘gap analysis’: if there’s no B&B for 20 miles, then there’s an opportunity there. But by analysing more datasets, we can get a better picture of what business might succeed. For example, an area with several nature reserves nearby, good public transport links, and several existing B&Bs would be a good fit for a specialist bird-watching holiday provider. An urban, densely populated area offers opportunities for cafés and cycle hire… and so on.

The information will be presented in simple, appealing visualisations such as heat maps – highlighting the most promising areas for each business type. These will be accompanied by practical advice and useful contacts, helping to move the ideas from prospects to reality. By encouraging new businesses, Growing Routes will help Wales to recoup its £10m investment in the Coast Path.

With Government organisations publishing more and more ‘open data’ that can be analysed, the time is ripe for this idea. But it needn’t be limited to the Wales Coast Path. The same approach can identify business opportunities along any long-distance path, cycle route, river or canal, in Wales or beyond – helping to make the routes more sustainable, and providing a better experience for the visitor.

Food Finder

We are Helen and Nicola Steer, sisters who grew up in South Wales. We love food: growing it, cooking it, eating it and thinking about the political and environmental issues that surround it.

Our idea is Food Finder (working title) an offline map and an online app that help locals and visitors find food that is local, sustainable and delicious.

Our project helps you find amazing delicatessens and markets to “buy your

Food Finder idea

Food Finder idea

own”, the best local restaurants and gastro pubs to “feed you” and unique foodie “stuff to do” like brewery tours, foraging courses or visiting pick-your-own farms.

Food Finder helps visitors discover hidden local, sustainable and delicious gems en route, and supplies them with relevant information. It will drive custom to local food suppliers by increasing visibility and allowing trips to be planned around foodie destinations and activities. Our map and app provide a service with high quality, regularly maintained data and a simple user interface

We will pilot this plan and develop the initial infrastructure and datasets needed in Section F of the Welsh Coastal Path before completing the whole path using a network of ‘food evangelists’ and secret shoppers. We will partner with key data holders like Big Barn, Sustaination, the Welsh government (including the True Taste of Wales) and CAMRA. We also will work with others to produce physical tourist maps of certain key areas, for example the Mumbles coast line.

With Wales already bringing in £400 million a year in tourist food sales per annum, the market is ripe for food finder to help existing visitors, find new visitors and encourage locals to discover the real tastes of Wales.

To find out more, visit https://tinyurl.com/findfood