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SpatialNews.com Press Release

Prize fund of £25,000 Announced for Best Geography Ideas
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GeoVation, the geography innovation awards programme now in its second year, has announced a prize fund of £25,000 to support the development of winning ideas.

This year the Ordnance Survey-backed initiative is asking entrepreneurs, developers and community groups to focus their efforts on using geography to address three distinct challenges.

The first is around the question “How can Britain feed itself?” where geography could play a vital role in helping connect people to farming and locally produced and sustainable sources of food. Among the ideas already submitted are the building of urban rooftop allotments and the creation of the “real” Farmville, where people could share and buy real produce.

Chris Parker, one of the programme organisers, comments: “GeoVation this year is all about investing in areas where we think geography can play a positive role in enabling change.

“We believe that geography can help producers and consumers work together in ways that have not been possible before and we’re offering seed funding to help make that happen.”

Sam Henderson of Agrarian Renaissance, an organisation seeking to reconnect local farmers to their communities, supports the challenge: “The global food crisis of 2007 and 2008 prompted the Government to seriously think about food and food policy in the UK for the first time in decades. That crisis, coupled with the ongoing battle against climate change, means there is increasing pressure to source food in a sustainable way.”

The GeoVation organisers believe the manipulation of geographic data could transform what is possible for food production in the UK.

Entrants have until 3 September to submit their ideas, before a shortlist will be invited to pitch at a Dragons’ Den style event in the new year for a slice of the prize fund.

Since the launch of the first GeoVation programme in October 2009, Ordnance Survey has released a wide range of mapping, boundary and postcode data for free through the OS OpenData portal.

It hopes that this will act as a catalyst for increased innovation through this year’s competition, and there will be funding set aside to help develop the best  OS OpenData ideas.

“People are free to use any data from any source, but with the release of OS OpenData in April, I believe Ordnance Survey now has many of the necessary ingredients to enable genuine, open and mass innovation,” adds Parker.

The winner’s of last year’s awards, who scooped a £21,000 prize fund between them, have all now developed real applications, websites or products thanks to GeoVation. The giant 20 square metre MaxiMap is being used in schools across the country and the heritage plaque finder website, www.plaqueguide.com, is now live. The third winner, Mission:Explore, has an iPhone app ready to launch at the end of July.

Parker adds: “With what has been achieved by last year’s winners, I hope people will recognise that GeoVation really works and we’re proud to have helped bring these ideas to life.”

The GeoVation 2010 challenge of ‘Can Britain feed itself’ is just the first in a series of three, with the second and third to be announced later this year.

Anyone interested in being a part of GeoVation should visit: www.geovation.org.uk/challenge/

There is also more information on the Ordnance Survey and GeoVation blogs.

GeoVation is initiated and funded by Ordnance Survey with support from Ideas in Transit

This year the Ordnance Survey-backed initiative is asking entrepreneurs, developers and community groups to focus their efforts on using geography to address three distinct challenges.

The first is around the question “How can Britain feed itself?” where geography could play a vital role in helping connect people to farming and locally produced and sustainable sources of food. Among the ideas already submitted are the building of urban rooftop allotments and the creation of the “real” Farmville, where people could share and buy real produce.

Chris Parker, one of the programme organisers, comments: “GeoVation this year is all about investing in areas where we think geography can play a positive role in enabling change.

“We believe that geography can help producers and consumers work together in ways that have not been possible before and we’re offering seed funding to help make that happen.”

Sam Henderson of Agrarian Renaissance, an organisation seeking to reconnect local farmers to their communities, supports the challenge: “The global food crisis of 2007 and 2008 prompted the Government to seriously think about food and food policy in the UK for the first time in decades. That crisis, coupled with the ongoing battle against climate change, means there is increasing pressure to source food in a sustainable way.”

The GeoVation organisers believe the manipulation of geographic data could transform what is possible for food production in the UK.

Entrants have until 3 September to submit their ideas, before a shortlist will be invited to pitch at a Dragons’ Den style event in the new year for a slice of the prize fund.

Since the launch of the first GeoVation programme in October 2009, Ordnance Survey has released a wide range of mapping, boundary and postcode data for free through the OS OpenData portal.

It hopes that this will act as a catalyst for increased innovation through this year’s competition, and there will be funding set aside to help develop the best  OS OpenData ideas.

“People are free to use any data from any source, but with the release of OS OpenData in April, I believe Ordnance Survey now has many of the necessary ingredients to enable genuine, open and mass innovation,” adds Parker.

The winner’s of last year’s awards, who scooped a £21,000 prize fund between them, have all now developed real applications, websites or products thanks to GeoVation. The giant 20 square metre MaxiMap is being used in schools across the country and the heritage plaque finder website, www.plaqueguide.com, is now live. The third winner, Mission:Explore, has an iPhone app ready to launch at the end of July.

Parker adds: “With what has been achieved by last year’s winners, I hope people will recognise that GeoVation really works and we’re proud to have helped bring these ideas to life.”

The GeoVation 2010 challenge of ‘Can Britain feed itself’ is just the first in a series of three, with the second and third to be announced later this year.

Anyone interested in being a part of GeoVation should visit: www.geovation.org.uk/challenge/

There is also more information on the Ordnance Survey and GeoVation blogs.

GeoVation is initiated and funded by Ordnance Survey with support from Ideas in Transit




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