New apps and tools aimed at transforming Britain’s neighbourhoods to be launched with funding from Ordnance Survey.
An idea for a mobile app which would help the public to nominate sites for offenders to work on, has triumphed in Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation Challenge.
The app called ‘Community Payback Visibility’, by the Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, would also allow the public to keep tabs on how work on these chosen areas is progressing. The idea was awarded £40,000 by Ordnance Survey so the app can start to be developed.
As part of the GeoVation Challenge, entrepreneurs from the across the country were tasked with coming up with ideas, using Ordnance Survey mapping information, on how to improve neighbourhoods in Britain for the better. The best ideas were whittled down to just 10 finalists who competed against each other in a Dragon’s Den style Showcase Event at Ordnance Survey’s head office on Wednesday, June 20.
Three other groups of entrepreneurs were also awarded a £25,000 slice of the total pot of £116,000. These included an app which helps people to report hate crime, a tool which helps residents to survey their area and find new community green spaces, and a tool which links up food enterprises for the benefit of all. This idea also won the £1000 Community prize voted for by the Showcase audience.
Jason Davies, from the Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, said: “It is absolutely fantastic to win first prize. This funding will now help us to develop the idea. To win against such other good ideas means a lot to us. We are now really keen to get started as quickly as we can.”
Community Payback Visibility, would allow people to take a geo-tagged photo of a area and nominate it as an area for Community Payback - unpaid work carried out by offenders on community sentences.
The probation trust team would then post updates on the nominations as well as how work is progressing on the chosen sites.
Dr Chris Parker, a GeoVation facilitator, said: “Ten excellent ideas were pitched to the judging panel at the GeoVation Showcase. We believe that these new apps and technologies will go a long way to helping to improve neighbourhoods across Britain.
“This is a really important challenge. Research shows that many people would like to get involved in contributing to their communities and neighbourhoods, but didn’t know how. We asked entrepreneurs to come up with some ideas, using our data, on how to improve neighbourhoods, addressing anything from crime to community spirit.
“The funding and support will give these entrepreneurs the chance to get their ideas off the ground and up and running. We also hope that these apps and tools will eventually be able to be scaled up, so that all of Britain can benefit from them.”
The other winning ideas which were awarded £25,000 to implement their ideas are:
- Sustaination – food enterprise mapping & communication: By Ed Dowding from Salisbury. It involves networking food enterprises to work more effectively together and promote themselves to their communities. OS OpenData platform helps citizens map food webs, highlighting opportunities for innovation and re-localisation.
- Hate Crime Reporting App: By Matthew Green from Birmingham. An idea for a smartphone app designed to help individuals report instances of hate crime. Using OS OpenData, individuals can locate hotspots on Ordnance Survey maps and submit reports of crime to local police and community organisations.
- Residents’ Green Space Mapper: By Paul Hodgson of Groundwork London. An idea to develop a new and innovative approach to mapping the green spaces within an urban environment.
The other finalists were:
- Community Animation Mapping Strengths and Assets: By Nick Gardham, of RE:Generate from Warminster. An idea to unearth the latest skills, strengths and talents of local people and map these digitally using Ordnance Survey data.
- Charting the Coldspot: By Keely Mills, from Peterborough CIC. An idea to reinvigorate empty and under utilised shops and properties, and build environmental assets within the Peterborough City Centre High Street.
- The Place Station: By Steve Clare of Locality from London. An idea to introduce land and building owners across the UK, to social entrepreneurs, with a view to improving and transforming their local area with their ideas.
- Schools in Transition: By Nicola Hilary of the Transition Network. An idea to help connect young people to their local place, by mapping the watershed or ecosystem in which the schools sits, and then overlaying those maps with networks of social and community resources. This watershed mapping Transition approach can be disseminated for use in any school.
- Where next: By Kay Steven from Newcastle Age UK. This idea is to pilot the use of community maps to facilitate person-centred planning with vulnerable, older and isolated people as a way to enable them to engage and integrate into their local community.
- Come To Your Senses: By Laura Sorvala and Emily Wilkinson from Cardiff. A collaborative mapping project to run an online prototype website, which shows how emotions generate a sense of place and well-being within a community.
See our video of the Geovation Challenge winners: