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Supporting innovation with geospatial data

Geovation was set up in 2009 by Ordnance Survey to support new businesses providing solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges using geospatial data, with approaches that hadn’t been explored before.

Overview

Since the turn of the millennium Ordnance Survey recognised that almost all new and emerging technologies, and the products and services derived from these, require location data to function at their best. Ordnance Survey also recognised that the data our customers needed, and how and when they wanted to receive it, was changing.

Geovation was set up in 2009 by Ordnance Survey to support new businesses providing solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges using geospatial data, with approaches that hadn’t been explored before. Since 2017, it has been run in association with HM Land Registry, providing new businesses with access to additional datasets and expertise from within HMLR.

"At Geovation we understand that to succeed, start-ups need access to experience, expertise and quality data. The companies we have invested in have gone on to raise more than £77 million, and create hundreds of new jobs, proving that, in a supportive environment, startups can thrive and make an impact. The valuable insights we gain help Ordnance Survey to plan new products and services for this emerging market."
Alex Wrottesley, Head of Geovation

The challenge

Ordnance Survey needed to better understand the potential uses of our data by new customers, and how our data should be provided to maximise these opportunities. We also needed to understand what additional geospatial data could be captured that could be valuable to users today or in the future. We then needed to use this understanding to invest time and resources effectively into innovative start-up businesses across the UK that are using geospatial data to build solutions to the nation’s challenges.

The solution

In 2009 Ordnance Survey created Geovation to support the launch and growth of innovative technology start-ups that were using geospatial data to create sustainable businesses aiming to tackle environmental,social, technological, economic and political challenges.

We provide start-ups with access to geospatial and property data, along with expert advice,through accelerator programmes, workshops and a variety of open events and meet-ups. The accelerator programme offers businesses a 12-month residency at the Geovation Hub, 6 months of commercial and technical support and up to £20,000 funding.

In 2015, Ordnance Survey opened the Geovation Hub in London to provide a co-working space at which employees, partners and start-ups can share knowledge, advice and support. As of early 2020, Geovation has offices in London and Edinburgh, and has partnerships with innovation hubs in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and Manchester.

The data-driven benefits

Geovation is enabling Ordnance Survey to broaden its community and expose it to fresh thinking and ideas. It provides Ordnance Survey with a wealth of insight into the needs of start-ups, including a view on the products and services which can meet their needs and the potential barriers to the adoption of OS data. Geovation also gives Ordnance Survey a direct line to friendly start-ups to test ideas and proofs of concepts, which has provided Ordnance Survey with excellent insight into the design and usability of its offerings to the market.

Geovation has enabled Ordnance Survey to grow its partner network with partners operating in existing markets, which has ensured OS data is used more widely across new market segments and in new technology.

So far, with more than 480 new jobs created, 117 start-ups supported and £77 million invested in helping the start-ups deliver their visions,through Geovation, Ordnance Survey is having a positive effect on the British economy and has raised the value and importance of geospatial data.

 

To find out more, visit the Geovation website