Ordnance Survey is to launch the second GeoVation Challenge of the year focusing on the Wales Coast Path.
As the first ever ‘total’ coastal path nears completion and gets ready for the official opening in May, the GeoVation Challenge has crossed the Severn Bridge to encourage the public, businesses, charities, groups, schools and universities to submit innovative ideas of how Wales can make the most of it.
GeoVation is an exciting innovation network from Ordnance Survey supporting new geography and mapping based business ventures that have an economic, social or environmental benefit for the country. GeoVation does this by running themed challenges which address real world problems and opportunities. The latest challenge, which has a £125 000 development prize fund, is looking at how geography and innovation can better connect communities along the new Wales Coast Path.
The 870 mile (1,400 km) all-Wales Coast Path stretches from the Dee estuary in north-east Wales, west to Anglesey, Gwynedd, and down the west and south-west Wales coast, going east to Cardiff and Newport with views over the Bristol Channel. Once completed, the new coastal path will improve public access to Welsh countryside jewels, such as, the Gower Peninsula and Ceredigion coast, in turn offering huge financial and logistical benefits to Welsh tourism, as well as businesses and local communities along the path, who will become better connected as a result.
Ahead of the official path opening the GeoVation Challenge, in partnership with Ramblers Cymru, the Welsh Governments Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science Team and the government Technology Strategy Board (TSB), aims to look at how people who live and work on the path can benefit from this ‘world first’ opportunity. The challenge aims to launch new ventures, products and applications which will ultimately improve the experience for people visiting any area along the 870 mile coastal path.
The latest challenge, ‘How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coast Path’, aims to better connect communities, businesses and visitors through the application of geography, mapping, innovation and expertise. The challenge, is calling for creative thinkers, developers and entrepreneurs everywhere to submit their ideas for a chance to win a share of a £125,000 funding prize. Some of the areas which the challenge is looking to tackle include:
- How can we stimulate local business growth off the back of genuine problems that need solving?
- How can more be done for local communities to support and use the path?
- How can we engage and empower children and young people to use, take more interest in, and become proud of the Wales Coast Path?
- How do we provide accessible information to help people to plan their walks based on their needs, abilities and expectations? How can we provide a joined-up public transport system across the Wales Coast Path?
Those with ideas on how geography, mapping and innovation can address any of these areas are encouraged to share them at www.geovation.org.uk. Through the website users can rate, comment and collaborate on each other’s contributions. The best ideas, selected by a panel of judges, are invited to attend a series of workshops to develop prototypes and have a chance to win a share of the £125 000 prize to make the prototypes a reality.
Chris Parker, one of the GeoVation organisers at Ordnance Survey, comments: “Today geographic information (GI) has become an important ingredient in the developers’ toolkit. Thousands of innovative products, services and applications are underpinned by mapping data, we have also seen first hand the important role that geography and mapping can play in addressing and helping solve real world issues.
“Through this latest GeoVation Challenge there are excellent opportunities for geography to be harnessed to help us connect communities, businesses and visitors along the new Wales Coast Path.”
People looking to develop their ideas with mapping are free to use any data from any source. To support the creation of ideas, developers can access for free a range of mapping and geographic datasets through OS OpenData. Through the online portal people can access various mapping scales as well as boundary and postcode data.
Chris adds: “This new challenge is really open to everyone. We are particularly appealing for people who have links to the path to submit ideas. The GeoVation Challenge aims to address real issues and create new innovative measures, which will connect communities and ultimately improve the experience for anyone visiting the coastal path.
“Whether it’s an idea on how we can stimulate local business growth along the path, support local communities, improve transport networks or engage and empower local children to become proud of the Wales Coastal Path, I am confident that geography, mapping and innovation can play a vital role in the successful development of the new coastal path.”
Gwenda Owen, Ramblers Cymru Community Engagement Officer, said: “The Wales Coast Path is already a tremendous achievement which will help economic development and bring the benefits of walking, such as health, wellbeing and enjoyment, to people across Wales and beyond.
“This latest GeoVation challenge will provide an exciting opportunity to think of creative ways we can use the coastal path to bring even more people together, for the benefit of local communities, businesses and visitors alike.”
Business Minister Edwina Hart added: "The Coastal Path is an outstanding world class resource and unique. The Welsh Government is committed to ensuring that its potential is fully realised and that local communities as well as the wider Welsh economy benefits from this fantastic coastal walkway.
"The Welsh Government is supporting the GeoVation Challenge because it will help generate ideas for innovative digital technologies to encourage tourism along the Coastal Path. It will also address specific needs within Welsh communities and offers Wales based businesses and entrepreneurs an opportunity to compete for funding to turn their innovative ideas into commercial propositions."
The challenge runs until 2 May 2012. To enter the GeoVation Challenge, visit www.geovation.org.uk.