Awards Program Offers £21,000 (USD 34,500) for Best Geography Ideas

GeoVation, an online initiative aiming to promote innovation with geography, has launched an awards programme with a prize fund of £21,000 available to develop the best entries.

The initiative – supported by mapping agency Ordnance Survey – aims to help individuals, businesses and communities bring their map-based ideas to life. There are three themes: crime, health and the environment, although good ideas on any subject are welcomed. 

John Abbott, GeoVation Champion, comments: “This is all about investing in worthwhile, exciting and innovative uses of geography. We believe geography can play a real part in addressing some of the world’s big challenges and we want to unleash people’s creative potential.

"We are keen to engage with anyone, from technology experts to the wider community."

Awards Programme Submissions need to be made on the GeoVation site before the closing date of 4 January, and entrants are free to suggest the use of any resources, such as Google Maps or OS OpenSpace. Ordnance Survey is not claiming any ownership of the entries submitted.

The initiative comes as the Home Office releases nationwide crime maps, a powerful demonstration of how geography can be used to empower citizens and improve public service accountability. Among the ideas already submitted to GeoVation are a service that lets pedestrians map safe routes based on the location of CCTV cameras and a text alert service where 999 callers are sent the location of their nearest defibrillator. Another idea hopes to encourage people to buy more local produce by publicising nearby availability.

Abbott continues: “Essentially, this is about trying to build something from the bottom up, rather than having a single organisation or business dictate how things should be done.”

A GeoVation Ideas Forum, to be held on 2 November at the Royal Society of Arts, will enable entrants to hone their submissions before the 10 best are shortlisted and asked to pitch in a Dragons’ Den style arena at the end of January.

The cash will be awarded to four winning entries, with £10,000 to the outright winner and two prizes of £5,000 for the runners-up. A community award, as voted by the audience, will receive £1,000. All the money will go towards developing the ideas.

The closing date for entries is 4 January, and more information is available at the GeoVation website at