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Ordnance Survey launches active lifestyle innovation challenge to win £100k fund

07 November 2013

Ordnance Survey is seeking innovators and entrepreneurs to contribute ideas that could encourage more active lifestyles in Britain, with a £100,000 prize fund available to help develop four of the best entries.

The GeoVation Challenge, run by the national mapping authority, is now on its seventh challenge and is calling for great geography, technology and design-based ideas, which will help remove the barriers to people engaging in active lifestyles, particularly focusing on activities which take part in open spaces.

Ordnance Survey will be offering a slice of £100,000 in development funding for best use of its data including OS OpenData and OS OpenSpace, together with other open data.

A list of problems associated with meeting the challenge should form the basis of the ideas. Among these it is being asked:

  • How can we make it easy for people to engage with the notion of regular physical activity as part of their hectic lives?
  • How do we help people navigate the huge amount of information that exists on the Internet and in the news about what exercise to do and how long to do it for?
  • How can we make activities that take place in open spaces such as parks more inclusive for all?
  • How can we gather better data on who is using open spaces for informal sport?
  • How to create adequate security measures in order to reduce the perceived risks of incidents people associate with going into open spaces?
  • How do we better provide for those who want to do some outdoor activity if there is no facility for them to do so?

Chris Parker, one of the GeoVation organisers at Ordnance Survey said: “It has been said that the UK is in the grips of a physical inactivity epidemic, which threatens the health and wellbeing of millions and costs the NHS more than £1.2 billion a year. Our new GeoVation challenge seeks to make activity accessible to everyone and enable people to escape the sedentary lifestyle that is taking over the country.

“We are looking for anyone with a good idea, you don’t have to have geographical skills or already be an established business, we help with everything.”

The challenge is open for entries from now until 8 January 2014, with the best of the ideas submitted being invited to a weekend GeoVation Camp from 28 February to 2 March 2014, where innovators can work on building their idea into a prototype venture. At the end of the weekend camp, those selected to receive funding will be announced.

Andy Middleton, of west Wales-based innovation and inspiration company TYF and chair of the judging panel said: “We've known for a long time of the connection between active lifestyles and a wide range of benefits from the obvious ones of life expectancy and health through to productivity, creativity and discovery. Knowing how successful the GeoVation process can be in catalysing the development of practical products and services to meet real needs, I'm very much looking forward to seeing the projects emerge and flourish in this important challenge.”

Following the camp, successful ideas will be selected to receive a share of the £100,000 fund with winners having their fund contribution confirmed by 26 March 2014.

For more information on the challenge and to submit an idea, please visit: www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/geovation

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