How Geovey built on their Geovation Challenge success

If you’re working in the geo industry, you may have heard about Nautoguide and their product Geovey. The former Geovation Challenge winners have expanded from mapping the Battle of Jutland to working with local government and even supplying a feedback service for our OS Open Greenspace product. Dave Barter from Nautoguide tells their story.

We’ve been working closely with OS recently as we won a public tender to supply feedback services for OS Open Greenspace, which launched in 2016. This challenging project saw us work with OS’ brand, design ethos and data requirements to build a feedback system in under two months. This is now live and operational in 19 local authorities and 5 OS field offices with new organisations added each week, and helping OS update OS Open Greenspace.

OS Open Greenspace showing Southsea

This is a huge step onwards from winning a £29,000 grant through OS’ Geovation Challenge on “Helping people to live in better places”. For this we conceived Geovey, a mapping platform designed for public engagement, crowdsourcing, consultation and richer citizen involvement. To our delight we were invited to pitch our idea to the Geovation judges and eventually won the grant, along with mentoring and support from OS.

Winning the Geovation Challenge meant we were able to expand from being a two-man start-up to a team of five. This has enabled us to grow our platform and we’re now running an incredibly diverse set of applications from it, the vast majority focused upon map-based feedback and data capture. Let’s run through a few of these:

The Battle of Jutland

In 2016 we delivered an interactive map of the Battle of Jutland to show the geospatial relationships of those involved and to crowdsource missing data and pictures from the public. This map has been a huge success with over 1,500 new sailors added to the database and an active team of volunteers maintaining the map. We expanded the technology further into historic Portsmouth, with the creation of a set of map guided walks now operational as the Sailortown service.

Working with local government

We began to expand our work into the local authority sector, building APIs to help local authorities with address location and planning/enforcement alerts. An excellent working relationship with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has seen us share technology and services, which has helped them operate their public facing mapping services.

In 2016, Geovey saw first light with a consultation portal implemented for Barnet Local Authority. Our vision for map-based crowdsourcing and consultation had been realised, as Barnet used our tech to consult with its public on changes to greenspaces and shared paths. Geovey was also put to work in the crowdsourcing of optimal locations for car charging points and cycling infrastructure.

2016 was a busy year for us, as we signed a partnership with Housemark Ltd. Through this partnership we leveraged our platform to create a Housing focused Geographic Information System (GIS) underpinned by Ordnance Survey and open data.

2017 saw further expansion and the release of our first truly open service. Following a whole year’s testing and customer feedback with the aim of distilling complex map based interactions into an intuitive easy to user interface, we launched Geovey Talking Points, which is available to the public for free. We’ll soon be ramping up activity in this area and are already gaining traction with local councillors in Swindon.

As 2017 drew to its close, we answered a call from Reigate and Banstead Council. They presented us with our biggest challenge to date, using Geovey to consult upon ward level boundary changes. This required the integration of AddressBase data with a set of web controls for editing boundary topology. This was a hugely complex task that needed to maintain the topology of wards as they were edited or merged into each other.

What’s next for Nautoguide?

We’ve learnt a huge amount since winning the Geovation Challenge, and our business is well placed to grow further and create even more jobs. Our next task is to scale up our sales and marketing, we like to think of ourselves as the UK’s best kept geospatial secret. Plans are afoot for the coming months to make sure we’re no longer sat in the shadows.

The customer-focused projects have been integral in helping us grow, but we also spend significant time on R&D. Our github repository holds a wide range of open sourced code, including QGIS plugins, client-side workflow and even some code designed to find hills within OS OpenData.

As you can see, the company has come a long way since 2015. There’s no doubt that the help and support of the Geovation team has been integral to this and we continue to enjoy our place within the Geovation Alumni with regular visits to the London hub.

Find out more about Nautoguide

Are there any English words in postcodes? https://medium.com/@dave_83410/postcodes-and-personalised-number-plates-aeccb1108326

Can we fix a town’s planning problems in a day? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sorting-out-swindon-day-dave-barter/

Can we predict planning feedback before it’s even solicited? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/predicting-planning-process-dave-barter/

And what happens when you add a digital hobo to the map? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/map-hobos-dave-barter/

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