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Ordnance Survey launches neighbourhood innovation challenge

Budding innovators and entrepreneurs are being asked to contribute ideas that could improve neighbourhoods and communities across Britain, with a £115 000 prize fund available to help develop the best entries.

The GeoVation Challenge, run by mapping agency Ordnance Survey, is looking for great geography, technology and design based ideas, which will deliver solutions to a variety of problems experienced in neighbourhoods and communities across the country. The ideas with the best use of Ordnance Survey products and services will have a chance to win a slice of the £115 000 prize fund.

The latest challenge, titled ‘How can we transform neighbourhoods in Britain together’, is calling for innovators, entrepreneurs, community groups, residents and local authorities to submit ideas which could potentially improve the quality of life and enhance community spirit in their local areas. Some of the areas which the challenge is looking to tackle include:

  • How do we connect people who want to work with those who need their skills?
  • How do we establish a sense of community in the neighbourhoods in which we live?
  • How can we discourage people and businesses from littering and fly-tipping?
  • How can we help local independent businesses remain on our high streets?
  • How do we ensure public services and resources are accessible for all ages?
  • How can councils deliver differently with less? 

Chris Parker, one of the GeoVation organisers at Ordnance Survey, adds: “It has been over a year since our last GeoVation Challenge and we are very excited about the new neighbourhood challenge and eager to see what ideas are submitted.

“This new challenge is really open to everyone. In communities across Britain we have residents who are heavily involved in local projects while others are far less active. However, the common theme is that we all experience local problems which we would like to see improved. In the current economic climate we are all being asked to do ‘more for less’ and ‘do things differently’. The new challenge allows anyone to submit an idea which could ultimately help deliver solutions in local neighbourhoods.

To help establish some of the problems which the challenge hopes to address, the GeoVation team worked with Barking and Dagenham Council, Business in the Community, Design Council, Kent County Council, NESTA, Nonon, Social Reporter, University of the Arts and UnLtd.

Noel Hatch, Projects and Research Lead at Kent County Council, added: “There are excellent opportunities for geography to be harnessed to help us transform our neighbourhoods. Although we are asking for people to tackle local problems, the ultimate aim of the challenge must be to scale up the solutions to work across other neighbourhoods in Britain. If we can tackle a local issue in Kent, then why not implement the same solution to solve similar issues across the rest of the country.

As part of the challenge the ideas must be developed using Ordnance Survey products and services. Budding developers can build their solutions with mapping data from Ordnance Survey’s OS OpenData portal or by using the popular OS OpenSpace API.

Chris adds: “The exciting thing is that we really don’t know what people might come up with, but we’re certainly keen to hear any and all ideas, whether its refining an existing innovation or something brand new.

“There are already some great neighbourhood and community initiatives up and running, including the popular FixMyStreet website, the fantastic Your Square Mile project and the innovative Sunshine Bank project. We want this GeoVation Challenge to come up with the next innovative initiative.

The challenge runs until 28 March 2012. The best entries will then be invited to further develop their ideas at a GeoVation Camp before going on to pitch head to head for funding at a “Dragons’ Den” style showcase later in the year. 

To enter the GeoVation Challenge, visit https://challenge.geovation.org.uk/

Head of Corporate Communications – Rob Andrews
Email: rob.andrews@ordnancesurvey.co.uk
Phone: (+44) 023 8005 5563

Press Office fax: (+44) 023 8005 6156


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