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New apps and tools win innovation funding to help encourage more active lifestyles in Britain

07 April 2014

Four groups of entrepreneurs from across the country have received a share of £101,000 funding to help turn their visions and ventures into a reality.

In November 2013 Ordnance Survey launched the latest GeoVation Challenge looking for great geography, technology and design-based ideas, which will encourage people to engage in active lifestyles, particularly focusing on activities which take place in open spaces.

Viv Alexander, GeoVation Community and Events Manager, said: “The quality of entries for the challenge was of an extremely high standard and it was a very difficult task for the judging panel to select the four winners.”

Andy Middleton, founder and owner of TYF, and Chair of the challenge judging panel added: “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. Alarmingly research shows that the estimated direct cost of physical inactivity to the NHS across the UK is £1.06 billion (Start Active, Stay Active). Challenges such as this have an important role in raising the profile and awareness of this serious issue and I am confident that the winning ventures will make a difference.”

Following a tough judging process, four winners were selected to win a slice of the innovation fund. The winners included:

  • Ramblers Scotland will be awarded £28,000 in funding to develop their Medal Routes App to work alongside the existing Medal Routes website. The new app identifies and maps short circular, bronze, silver and gold level walks from Medal Route walking hubs. These walking challenges encourage people throughout Scotland to integrate walking into their daily life. The app will be developed using Ordnance Survey data and will allow people, wherever they are, to access hundreds of walks. The app will also offer exciting games, challenges and incentives to encourage people to walk and map their own routes.
  • Hoxton (London) based, Pan Studio will be awarded £26,000 to develop their idea called Run an Empire. This innovative idea will develop a new exercise strategy game, via an app, which will use GPS with Ordnance Survey data to record paths and routes which players take. The concept of the competitive game will allow for people to capture and maintain control of as much territory as possible, using neighbourhoods as arenas for play. The more times people run or walk around their neighbourhood the more secure they can make it against ‘invasion’.
  • Wimborne company Mapsum will be awarded £26,000 to develop their idea Tagd, which is a new service that allows anyone, or any group, to create, share and discover custom interactive routes that contain personalised, targeted mediamessages at waypoints along the routes. The system will work with existing networks, such as cycling clubs, local interest groups and geocachers to get more people involved in physical activity and to discover the outdoors.
  • OpenPlay, based in London, will be awarded £21,000, which includes the Community Award of £1,000. The idea tackles the problem of not knowing where to go to do an activity. OpenPlay launched an online marketplace for finding and booking sports facilities in 2013. The platform brings the traditional park noticeboard online so you can find out what is going on in your local park and book pitches and organised activities. Informal groups can also look for people to join their activities. OpenPlay can be used by local authorities, community groups, private organisations and individuals. The funding awarded will allow OpenPlay to develop new mapping functionality using Ordnance Survey data and develop a mobile app version to increase public usage of these spaces.

Chris Parker, who heads Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation programme said: “Our judging panel have selected four excellent winners and I am looking forward to seeing their ideas grow over the next few months. We believe that these new apps and technologies will go a long way to helping people engage in active lifestyles.

“It is great that all of the winning ventures will be using Ordnance Survey data to underpin their ideas. Ordnance Survey has a vast range of products and services available, for free, to support developers including OS OpenData, our popular API OS OpenSpace and our new mobile SDK.”

For more information on the GeoVation Challenge visit: www.geovation.org.uk

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