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Ordnance Survey seeks best transport ideas

UK: As part of GeoVation Challenge, budding innovators and entrepreneurs are being asked to contribute ideas that could revolutionise transportation in Britain, with a GBP 25,000 prize fund available to help develop the best entries. The challenge, run by mapping agency Ordnance Survey, is seeking ideas on how the use of geographic data could make travel environmentally more sustainable and improve public transport services.

Dr Chris Parker, one of the organisers, said, “There are huge and exciting opportunities for geography to be harnessed to help us travel in a smarter, more sustainable way. The government data releases we have seen over the past year means there is now a real opportunity for people to use that information to make a contribution towards improving public services.”

Since January, a range of datasets have been made available for free commercial reuse by public bodies. Those include a raft of central government information through Data.gov.uk, including routing and time-tabling information from the Department for Transport; mapping via Ordnance Survey’s OS OpenData portal; and a host data collected by local authorities. Most recently, Transport for London also released some data including live traffic jam information.

The Ordnance Survey challenge is being supported by the Ideas in Transit Project, Business in the Community and the National Business Travel Network (NBTN).

Ideas in Transit is a five-year project, funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the Department for Transport and EPSRC, that applies “bottom-up” innovation to the transport challenges faced by individuals and society.

Heather McInroy, Programme Director at NBTN, said, “Whilst travel and transport are key to businesses and central to our way of life, there are clearly significant environmental impacts. This is a great opportunity for people to put forward their innovative ideas of using geographical data to help reduce those impacts whilst improving the overall experience.”

To enter the GeoVation Challenge, one can visit www.geovation.org.uk. The GeoVation Challenge is open from 28 September–26 November, 2010.

Source: Ordnance Survey