Challenging Britain to get active in the open!

We are really excited to be launching our 7th GeoVation Challenge today on the theme of ‘How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain?’

As with previous GeoVation Challenges we are looking for great ideas which address the problems using geography, technology and good design. Ordnance Survey will be offering a slice of £100,000 to help develop ventures that make best use of our data, including OS OpenData and OS OpenSpace, together with other open data to solve problems.


Our physical and mental wellbeing is greatly influenced by our lifestyle; from our first steps to our last!  So, following the success of previous challenges, this time we are calling for innovative ideas that will encourage people to lead active lifestyles in the open; whatever their age.

An All-Party Commission on Physical Activity which launched recently states on their website “The human body was designed to move. But in a very short period of time, we have become dangerously inactive as a population. We are witnessing a physical inactivity epidemic”.

The estimated direct cost of physical inactivity to the NHS across the UK is £1.06 billion. (Start Active, Stay Active)

Andy Middleton, founder and owner of TYF, and Chair of the judging panel commented “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.”

We’ve used our established Problem Pow Wow methodology to uncover the problems associated with meeting the challenge and identified a list of problems which form the basis for the challenge.

Amongst these, we’re asking you:

  • 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 public spaces, what they are used for, and who is using open spaces for physical activity?
  • How do create adequate security measures in order to reduce the risks of incidents people associate with going into open spaces?
  • How do we better provide for those who want to do some informal activity if there is no facility for them to do so?

So, if you have an idea that could provide a solution to these problems, enter the GeoVation Challenge online from 7 November 2013 to 8 January 2014. The best of the ideas submitted during this time will be invited to a weekend GeoVation Camp from 28 February to 2 March 2014 where you can work on building your idea into a prototype venture. You will also identify how to overcome problems in implementing your idea and learn to pitch your idea ‘pecha kucha’ style to the independent judging panel. Following camp successful ideas will be selected to receive a share of £100, 000 funding, subject to completing and submitting their venture plans. Winners will be confirmed by 26 March 2014.

Our challenges are open to UK-based organisations and/or UK residents aged 18 or over and we encourage entrepreneurs, developers, geographers, community groups, and innovators to enter.

Find out more about the challenge process.

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