Here at OS, we encourage and promote the benefits of being active – in fact, it’s even one of our company values. We are often involved in projects and campaigns to inspire more active lifestyles and, with support from our Geovation team, next week’s Active Travel Hackathon in London is no different.
Over the past ten years Geovation, our open innovation initiative, has hosted a handful of themed challenges aimed to encourage more active means of travel. With our involvement in next week’s hackathon, we are delighted to be able to continue these efforts on a larger scale.
Geovation is holding a series of hands-on introductory workshops to teach attendees the principles of visualising with geographic data. As all tickets were snapped up for both our London HQ and Edinburgh sessions, we’ve decided to run four more events around GB over the next few weeks. Disclaimer – these events are FREE to attend!
The Timepix historic photo site launches today and makes a unique set of photos from OS’ history available online for the first time. Over 21,000 photos catalogue the Manchester streets between the 1940s and 1960s, giving a unique insight into the city’s past captured by OS surveyors. From children and animals photobombing the surveyors, to a background of vintage adverts, Timepix showcases a fascinating collection of photos around Greater Manchester.
Why were OS surveyors photographing Manchester?
OS surveyors took revision point (RP) photos across Britain to provide a network of surveyed locations. These known spots could then be used to ‘control’ the position of detail on a large scale map. RPs were often on corners of buildings and other immovable features, and were fixed to centimetre accuracy. Finding the RPs for future map updates was an issue, and photography quickly became the best visual reference – leading to thousands of photos of men with white arrows…
We were hugely proud of our Geovation alumni Refill last week. Refill encourages businesses to allow thirsty passers-by to fill up their water bottles for free and their scheme is being rolled-out across England. And the good news created a splash of national headlines!
We’ve all heard about the issue of single-use plastic bottles and Refill, backed by industry body Water UK expect to cut usage by tens of millions bottles a year. All 15 water companies in England support the expansion of the scheme, which originated in Bristol.
You can use Refill’s app to find water stations and public fountains, or through window signs pointing people in the direction of the nearest one. Whitbread (owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn), has already signed up and will allow you to refill your bottles with drinking water in all branches from March 2018.
Next weekend, 2-4 February, the CityVerve Open Innovation Transportation Hackathon will bring together developers, data scientists, entrepreneurs, designers, and makers to apply creative Internet of Things solutions to transport challenges. They will be making data and hardware from the CityVerve project available to use and there will be mentors on hand to help teams realise their solutions.
The challenges for the weekend will be based around two main areas of focus—cycling and bus stops. CityVerve are looking for solutions that will encourage and enable citizens to adopt cycling and buses as modes of transportation. The scope of these will include, for example:
- Using bike journey data and infrastructure data to better understand user behaviour.
- Identifying business opportunities from cycling data.
- Creating an aggregated booking platform for different bike hire schemes.
- Making bus stops innovative and interactive.
- Improving the experience of using buses for existing users and encouraging more people to use them.
There will be voice activated kit from the Talkative Bus Stops use case to hack—with the potential to see your solution trialled at bus stops across Greater Manchester as part of CityVerve.
Members from Ordnance Survey’s Geovation team will be supporting the hackathon by providing technical advice and mentorship, helping teams make the most of our range of developer tools and resources throughout the weekend.
We’re delighted to see Geovation being awarded the ‘Geospatial Hub of the Year Award’ at the Geospatial World Forum Gala Dinner this evening. The Geospatial World Leadership Awards jury recognised Geovation’s leadership role in creating a centre of excellence to nurture startups, enabling spatial innovation and entrepreneurship.
We recently held a hackathon with RNLI and Bournemouth Council and are pleased to report first hand that it was awesome! Read on for a flavour of the day, highlights of the successes and to share some of our experiences in organising a hackathon.
Every year, around 190 people drown in UK and Irish waters – half of them didn’t even intend to get wet. Drowning is a problem – and we need to solve it.
This was the premise of the event – a serious and very real problem that requires creativity and innovative ideas to help improve the situation. After months of organisation the hackathon arrived and it turned out to not only be a great day for all in attendance but also a real success with some fantastic ideas coming out of it. Ideas that show real potential and we are now excited to take the best of them forward.
There was a real buzz around the room as the team’s hacked away
Join us at the Water, Water, Everywhere hack on 30 September to develop and build your great ideas.
How can we keep people safe near the water? It’s a place to relax, a source of inspiration, somewhere to have fun with friends or get the adrenaline racing and the heart pumping. But it’s also an unpredictable force that demands respect. Every year, around 190 people drown in UK and Irish waters – half of them didn’t even intend to get wet. Drowning is a problem – and we need to solve it.
Our Geovation team has four new GeoTech start-ups with new technologies and new thinking joining them on their corporate accelerator, the Geovation Programme. Since opening their doors less than two years ago, Geovation has welcomed some of the UK’s leading geospatial start-ups onto the Programme. They’ve helped businesses as varied as app makers improving the public’s fitness and access to sports facilities, to big-data platforms revolutionising drone risk and insurance.
Guest blog by Andy Ryan, Senior Technical Product Manager
When I go somewhere new, I usually look up a map (OS of course) before I go. I’m not quite sure why I do, but it’s a habit of mine which my children tease me about. In the world of business, when location is involved then you probably do the same, often without realising it. Using a sat nav to route a delivery van, ascertaining if a house you want to buy is on a flood plain, reviewing a site for a new development, or planning some underground pipe replacement all involve ‘maps’. But what if the map was blank or only partially complete, or you had to ask lots of other different people to send you bits of information that you had to stick together and even then you were not quite sure if it was complete?
When you need to work under the ground this is how it can feel. Lots of organisations have information, but it can be hard to share the information quickly and to common standards. This creates delays, unanticipated disruptions, extra costs and danger to those working in these areas. This is a widely recognised problem and the direct costs to the UK of accidental damage to utilities alone has been estimated at £150 million, with associated indirect costs, such as traffic disruption, of ten times this*. If other potential costs or savings are factored in, for example assessing the potential of brownfield sites, identifying infrastructure at risk from subsidence or tree roots, then the benefits of a map that includes what lies below ground increases significantly. The Treasury estimate that greater cross-sector collaboration with infrastructure networks across GB could save the economy £3 billion#.