Have you ever had an idea so perfect that you know it could improve the lives of many people, only to be left feeling frustrated by not knowing the right person to tell?
If this is you, then you may be interested in a unique opportunity to help shape the smart city of the future.
CityVerve is the UK’s Internet of Things demonstrator, a project set in Manchester that is investigating how to create a connected city using technology to meet the complex needs of people. The aim is for CityVerve to be a blueprint for smart cities worldwide.
By Layla Gordon
Back in February OS took a trip off of this planet to produce a paper map of Mars.
This inspired the Tech Labs team, who had been already involved in Augmented Reality (AR) work, to produce a Mars AR experience using this map.
As all good work with augmentation, the first step was to create some 3D content for augmenting the map. Using a set of height data for the planet captured by NASA, and with the advice of Peter Grindrod from UK Space Agency, I produced a height map in Grey Scale. Then using Blender I created a 3D terrain model of the Schiaparelli crater and its surroundings.
At our recent GeoTech Meetup at the Geovation Hub the hot topic of conversation was augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), and how mashing these with geospatial data unlocks the potential for some pretty exciting innovations in the near future.
OS Labs engineer, Layla Gordon, led the event at the Hub, and here she explains some of her adventures with AR…
Our first foray into the virtual spaces goes back to May 2015 where OS was the platinum sponsor of an event called Digital Shoreditch in London. The venue is a Victorian basement with lots of corridors and rooms and in previous years visitors had trouble navigating within the building and finding the exhibitions they wanted to see.
The Geovation Hub has been open now for one year. In that time it has:
- 550 members’ regular attending the hub and using its space and resources.
- 40 SMEs basing themselves at the Hub.
- 4 start-ups on the Geovation Programme.
- 30 lead partners.
- Delivered £300,000 of revenue through partnerships and sponsorships that was unbudgeted.
- GeoSpock – one of the first members of Geovation, using the hub to build their business and validate what they are doing. We took an active role in helping them secure £3.5m in investment.
- FATMAP who came to us in the summer of 2015 with 3 people needing somewhere to establish themselves and take their 3D ski maps to market. They went live with their product in December and went out to a web summit in Ireland. We worked closely with them on their pitch and presentation, and they ended up raising £1m of bridge finance.
- FATMAP grew from 3 to 8 employees when they were with us.
- 3 Crowd Cube successes – Stay Safe raised £400,000. OpenPlay raised £150,000. Store Mates is closing in on raising £150,000.
- Around 20 companies this year that have grown by at least a couple of people since they have been at the Hub.
I caught up with Geovation Hub manager, Alex Wrottesley about Geovation, the Hub and the past year.
What is Geovation and what is the Geovation Hub?
Geovation is Ordnance Survey’s (OS) commitment to open innovation and the Geovation Hub, Clerkenwell, is how OS creates new models to work with other companies and organisations outside the business.
In our first year there are already a wide range of businesses using the hub. This includes large corporations, to SMEs to individuals starting out. Basically it is anyone with an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship within geospatial data.
Guest blog by Simon Navin, Ordnance Survey Project Lead, Smart Practice.
July saw the official launch of CityVerve, the UK’s demonstrator project in Manchester for large scale deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. OS are part of a consortium of over 20 public and private sector organisations, ranging from SMEs to large global corporates, who over the next two years will design and deliver a series of citizen-focused solutions around the themes of Transport, Energy, Health and Culture, using IoT sensor and collaborative platform technology. After six months of governance negotiations, the project is now live and everyone is raring to go.
Our role is to provide the geospatial framework and location expertise upon which solutions may be based. The project will be a challenge to our existing content and working methods, as well as providing us with essential insight into what the content of the future may look like and how it may need to be delivered and shared. We’ll learn a lot from working with experts in data presentation, platform development, hardware deployment and key sector expertise.
What expectations do you have for VR in the near future?
2016 is going to see two big consumer releases on desktop in the Rift and the HTC Vive. Google have announced a new generation of Cardboard, and Samsung will likely release an updated GearVR later in the year to take full advantage of the upgraded hardware in their new S7 range phones (due to be released later this month).
Following on from the release of our Mars map last week, we got to thinking about the sounds we’d like to hear if we went for a ramble around mars…For some it’s just the natural outdoor sounds. For others, tranquillity when outside is found through ear-shredding beats piped through their headphones for them and them alone to enjoy.
So, with this in mind, we have plotted a playlist to go with our Mars map. A soundtrack for the first intrepid explorers of the Martian landscape.
Obvious, we know, but surely the first thing a person should hear when they first set foot on Mars is Life on Mars by the recently departed David Bowie. It’s the perfect opening track to begin a ramble round the red planet. In truth, we probably could have just chosen Bowie tunes for this…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v–IqqusnNQ
Guest blog by Alex Wrottesley, Geovation Hub Manager
So you’ve had the 1am light bulb moment. You have an idea. You’ve written it down, thought about it from every angle, looked around to see if anyone else is doing anything similar, tried to prove yourself wrong – and you still believe you’ve spotted an opportunity that others have missed.
You close your eyes. A voice inside says; “If I don’t pursue this someone else will and I’ll regret this for ever”.
Congratulations – you’re about to become an entrepreneur.
Your own journey will depend on a multitude of variables (network, skills, resources for a start) but there are some common factors that are worth taking into account.
It’s all about you
Guest blog by Ray Hooke, Senior Intelligence Hub Analyst at Peterborough City Council
According to “The 2015 World Smart City Awards” recently held in Barcelona, Peterborough is just that.
If you were to ask 100 people, “What is a smart city?” you would be likely to get 100 different answers, demonstrating that it means many different things to many different people. It kind of makes sense that when shaping, or attempting to shape a smart city, that these same people are involved in deciding what “Smart” means for their city.
Last week we released a virtual Ben Nevis to explore on Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. Our development team created versions in Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. David Haynes was one of the two developers in our OS Labs team who worked on the virtual reality Ben Nevis. We caught up with him to find out more about virtual reality and where it could be taking us…
David – where do you think VR is heading short, medium and long term?
Short – gaming, architectural visualisation, immersive experiences (cinema, tours, etc).
Medium – shared collaboration environments. Possible remote work for dangerous/high risk environments.