We blogged recently about a new app from former Geovation winners Run An Empire. Find out more about them in their guest blog by Sam Hill.
It was back in 2014 when I first walked into the shiny atrium of the Ordnance Survey head office. My team and I had caught several trains from East London to Southampton, we had dropped our things off at the nearby Holiday Inn, and we were eagerly gearing up for the weekend-long hackathon.
We had in the last week learned that we’d been shortlisted from 74 entries to be one of the dozen finalists for Geovation’s latest innovation challenge – “How Can We Encourage Active Lifestyles in Britain?”
Run An Empire were winners of the ‘How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain?’ Geovation Challenge. The Hoxton-based, PAN Studio were awarded £26,000 to develop their idea, an exercise strategy game on a smart phone app. Run An Empire uses GPS with OS data to record the paths players take and allows people to compete 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’.
Keeping everyone entertained over the summer holiday period can be a challenge, particularly if the British weather hits a damp spell. We’ve got five great activities, both indoor and outdoor, that will appeal to budding geographers and explorers.
1. Download the Minecraft map of Great Britain
Minecraft, the Swedish computer game in which you make things out of virtual blocks, remains hugely popular with users of all ages. With over 100 million copies sold, and more than 40 million unique Minecraft players each month, it’s grown into the Education sector and beyond. If you or your family are Minecraft devotees, why not try our geographically-accurate Minecraft map of Britain?
First released in 2013, following work by OS intern Joseph Braybrook, the map had 22 billion blocks representing the 224,000 square kilometres of our country. It even won us a Guinness World Record as the largest real-world place represented in Minecraft! We released an update in 2014 taking Britain’s Minecraft map to a staggering 83 billion blocks, perfect for a spot of gaming with geography combined. Download the GB Minecraft world and let us know how you get on.
2. Download our mappy colouring in sheets
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.
OS Partner Away Team Software have been on our blog previously, talking about their location tracking app, Trkd. Now they’re back with an out of this world adaptation…
Just before Christmas 2015, the UK was gripped by space fever as British ESA astronaut Tim Peake embarked on his six month Principia mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with live coverage from launch to docking. After witnessing the cheering crowds of children at London’s Science Museum, veteran cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first man to walk in space, said it rekindled his memories of the original human spaceflight programme from half a century ago.
By taking advantage of the intervening advances in technology, Tim has been able to engage his audience directly from space throughout his mission using digital photography, video and social media to inspire this generation and the next.
In the spirit of Principia, we decided to commemorate two of his iconic achievements in a fun and educational way by expanding our Trkd™ (pron. tracked) location tracking suite into space, which raised an important question: how do you track an astronaut?
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.
It’s not every day that we hear from one of our Licensed Partners that they’re about to appear on Dragon’s Den, pitching their map product to the panel. But David Overton of SplashMaps did just that, and we caught up with him last week, ahead of the broadcast. David couldn’t tell us the outcome at the time, but if you watched last night you’ll know that he put in a strong pitch, but sadly didn’t receive any funding. Find out more about SplashMaps and our Partner programme from David…
If you haven’t come across us before, SplashMaps makes wearable, washable, all-weather printed maps that can be customised for any part of Britain, and beyond. We set up in December 2012 with a Kickstarter campaign to fund the idea and used OS OpenData to print the first wearable maps of Britain’s National Parks.
Our Geovation Programme is aimed at developers, entrepreneurs and innovators to take their ideas and build them into real businesses. The Geovation team work closely with the teams and invest funding, resources and developer time to help them build their businesses ready for market. The Hub itself provides a range of resources geared towards helping them develop their businesses. This includes desk space, coaching and mentorship, access to OS and partner data, developer support, access to software, legal and professional support and other services that can be hard to secure when you’re first starting out.
The Geovation Programme is divided into four phases: Phases one to three are over a period of six months, where Programme members receive a total of £10,000 in funding. If a prototype is successfully delivered at the end of this phase four kicks in, which is a further six months on the Programme with an additional £10,000 in funding. For those who are successful in getting to phase four, the Geovation team help to secure further funding and the provide go-to-market support to launch the product and make it a commercial success.