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OS celebrates 5 yrs of funding new ventures that use geography, open data

The first group of GeoVation winnersUK: The national mapping agency of Great Britain, Ordnance Survey, is celebrating five years of funding new ventures that use geography and open data. Ordnance Survey opened its first GeoVation Challenge, in Oct 2009, to identify and launch new ventures that had found innovative ways of using geography and open data to solve real-world problems. Out of 166 submissions, three were selected to share £22,000 in start-up funding and to receive Ordnance Survey’s ongoing support that would see their ideas made real.

Ordnance Survey has since run six more GeoVation Challenges, and has so far created 28 new ventures, awarded £640,000 in funding, and is currently running a challenge with Land Registry to improve the way we do housing.

Chris Parker, GeoVation co-founder and head of the programme, said, “Geography underpins all we do in life – everything happens somewhere. GeoVation was created to generate meaningful social, economic and environmental value using collaboration, innovation and open data. Our methodology of: ‘Innovation = problem x solution x execution’ means a business or venture that is well grounded in a problem worth solving, with a well scoped solution and a business model that sustains the solution to that problem has most chance of success. Ideas may start out locally, but must be scalable to offer solutions UK wide or even globally.

Chris continues: “By pushing the use of open data through GeoVation Challenges, Ordnance Survey has been invited to networking opportunities it previously would have been excluded from. This has meant that our view of the horizon has been greatly improved and the challenges have also enabled us to gain valuable insights and feedback about our open data, and the other products and services we offer.

Briony Phillips, Programme Manager of the Open Data Challenge Series, Open Data Institute said, “The Open Data Institute offers warm congratulations to GeoVation as they reach this significant milestone, and continue to play an important part in the inspiration for, and ongoing support of, so many socially focused ventures.”

Source: Ordnance Survey