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December 2013 News

In this news collection...


How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain?

Our physical and mental well-being is greatly influenced by our lifestyle; from our first steps to our last! So, following the success of previous challenges, this time we are calling for innovative ideas that will encourage people to lead active lifestyles in open spaces, whatever their age.

As with previous GeoVation challenges we are looking for great ideas that address the problems using geography, technology and good design. Ordnance Survey will be offering a slice of £100 000 to help develop ventures that make best use of its data, including OS OpenData™ and OS OpenSpace®,together with other open data to solve problems.

An All-Party Commission on Physical Activity which launched recently states on its website "The human body was designed to move. But in a very short period of time, we have become dangerously inactive as a population. We are witnessing a physical inactivity epidemic".

The estimated direct cost of physical inactivity to the NHS across the UK is £1.06 billion. (Start Active, Stay Active)

Andy Middleton, founder and owner of TYF, and Chair of the judging panel commented "We’ve known for a long time of the connection between active lifestyles and a wide range of benefits from the obvious ones of life expectancy and health through to productivity, creativity and discovery. Knowing how successful the GeoVation process can be in catalysing the development of practical products and services to meet real needs, I’m very much looking forward to seeing the projects emerge and flourish in this important challenge".

We’ve used our established Problem Pow Wow methodology to uncover the problems associated with meeting the challenge and identified a list of problems which form the basis for the challenge. Amongst these, we’re asking you:

  • How can we make it easy for people to engage with the notion of regular physical activity as part of their hectic lives?
  • How do we help people navigate the huge amount of information that exists on the Internet and in the news about what exercise to do and how long to do it for?
  • How can we make activities that take place in open spaces, such as parks, more inclusive for all?
  • How can we gather better data on public spaces, what they are used for, and who is using open spaces for physical activity?
  • How do we create adequate security measures in order to reduce the risks of incidents people associate with going into open spaces?
  • How do we better provide for those who want to do some informal activity if there is no facility for them to do so?

If you have an idea that could encourage people to get active, enter the GeoVation Challenge online. The best of the ideas submitted before the closing date of 8 January 2014 will be invited to a weekend GeoVation Camp from 28 February to 2 March 2014 where you can work on building your idea into a prototype venture. You will also identify how to overcome problems in implementing your idea and learn to pitch to the independent judging panel. Following the camp, successful ideas will be selected to receive a share of £100 000 funding, subject to completing and submitting their venture plans. Winners’ funding amounts will be confirmed by 26 March 2014.

Our challenges are open to UK-based organisations and/or UK residents aged 18 or over and we encourage entrepreneurs, developers, geographers, community groups, and innovators to enter.


Masterclass success

During November, Ordnance Survey delivered a total of seven OS OpenData masterclasses across the country, from Exeter to Edinburgh. Over 200 attendees signed up to attend the free classes, which were organised and delivered by the developer outreach team.

So, what was covered, who attended, how was the material received and if this all sounds interesting to you but you missed out, how can you find out more?

Each class covered three separate modules:

1) Using OS OpenData

2) Using OS OpenSpace

3) Cartographic design materclass

We created an entirely new set of class materials for this series of masterclasses. The new materials had a ‘health and wellbeing theme’ and were designed to create interest and stimulate thinking around the current GeoVation Challenge.

OS OpenSpace – some great tutorials aimed at beginners through to intermediate web developers. We highlighted the new free tools (SDKs) that we’ve created for developing native mobile apps, all of which are available through our developer centre.

OS CartoDesign – finished each class with a fun and creative module, which taught users about the cartographic principles that have been developed by our cartographic experts at Ordnance Survey.

During each class, we also shared details about the full range of Ordnance Survey products, highlighting the fact that samples of these datasets are freely available to order from our website, under an appropriate sample data licence (innovation licences).

The classes were a great success and we will share some of the feedback that we have received during the next Innovation newsletter. If the classes sound interesting to you, but you were unable to make any of them, you may be interested to view the presentation that we delivered at each class, as there are some useful links and information contained within. We have also published both the presentation and the class materials and welcome anyone to download and use the materials.

We hope that you find the time to have a look at the masterclass materials and if you have any suggestions for future support material for using OS OpenData, email us at: opendata@ordnancesurvey.co.uk


SDK launch

Towards the end of October, we exhibited at two leading developer events – Apps World and Droidcon. The events involved our developer outreach team spending five consecutive days promoting Ordnance Survey’s digital mapping offering to over 15 000 developers – most of whom are involved in developing applications for mobile devices.

Interestingly, most visitors to our stand recognised the Ordnance Survey brand, often associating it with the world-renowned range of paper maps that we produce and which serves the outdoor leisure market so well. In most instances, however, these same people were not aware of the full range of highly detailed and accurate digital mapping products and services that underpin our current business. Many developers were delighted to hear that these products are available to try for free, through a range of sample data licences.

Nearly all of the discussions we had at the two developer conferences often focused on the mobile SDKs (software development kits) for both iOS and Android which we recently developed, with many interested to learn how they could potentially make use of the web services, to create free and commercial mobile applications with Ordnance Survey data. The SDKs offer several benefits to developers interested in using the most accurate and detailed geographic information for Great Britain, including:

  • Fully supported by Ordnance Survey ongoing SDK upgrades, active user forum.
  • Easy integration – drop in replacement for your existing map kit or SDK.
  • Online capability fast rendering of Ordnance Survey maps.
  • Offline maps and search capability – as used in OS MapFinder.
  • Accurate and detailed mapping – includes footpaths, streets, buildings and much more.

We also attended the weekend ‘Hackathon’ at Droidcon, and with over 100 developers taking part, we were delighted to learn that the overall winning team used the OS OpenSpace SDK for Android to develop their winning prototype idea.

The team – who had named themselves 'Virtual Guiders' – also made use of the Epson® Transparent multimedia glasses – 'Epson Moverio BT-100' to create an app that utilised augmented reality technology to depict Points of Interest (PoI), such as tourist attractions, on the user’s view through the glasses. The user can then select any given point of interest, subsequently being presented with a view through the glasses of a fully interactive accurate and detailed Ordnance Survey backdrop map, which can further aid them with navigation. An interesting idea, we’re sure you’ll agree!

'Virtual Guiders' (Kepa Iturrioz, Mikolaj Kakol, David Buniatyan, Vlad Kolesnyk, Viktor Martinez) are presented with their prize by Luke Hampson (far right) – Innovation Community and Event Manager at Ordnance Survey for being overall winners at the Droidcon Hackathon.

Are you interested in learning more about the developer tools and services that were used by this winning team? Take a look through the ’Developer Centre‘ section of our website for more information.


Did you know?

Did you know you could innovate with all of our products and services? OS OpenData is a great way to get started using location data for no cost, but sometimes your applications will need a deeper level of detail, such as knowing the exact address to route to, rather than just a postcode.

You can access this level of detail at no cost to evaluate, test or demonstrate under our innovation licences.

We offer three types of licence:

Discover Data Licence

Our products covered by the Discover Data Licence terms and conditions can be used for your internal evaluation and testing purposes only. You cannot develop or demonstrate the data. It is free of charge and can be used as long as you adhere to the terms.

Evaluation Licence

You can take this data initially for a maximum of three months. Our standard supply is up to 10 per cent of Great Britain. This licence is free of charge.

Developer Licence

You may only use the data for three months or 12 months depending on the data chosen and/or its area of coverage; the licence to do this is normally free of charge.

These give you the choice to download a set sample area for an unlimited time or choose a larger area to test for up to 12 months.

Find out more.

Please note: for all sample licences we supply, the base data is for use in your map reading software or GIS.


Your opinions matter

Next month we will be contacting each of you to ask about your experience of using OS OpenData products and services. We will be sending you a link to a short survey that will take you through a series of questions, designed to help us shape the future of OS OpenData.

If you have any feedback on OS OpenData, please take this opportunity to complete the survey and let us know your thoughts.

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