When Jason Davies registered for a GeoVation data Masterclass in 2012, he had no idea that it would become the springboard for winning GeoVation Challenge funding.

Jason who worked for Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust registered for the class because he wanted to learn more about Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping data. His organisation, who work with offenders serving community sentences, were already considering how they could get members of the public to nominate suitable Community Payback projects.

During the class Jason had a light-bulb moment, he says:

“I came to the class wanting to learn how Ordnance Survey data and technology could be used for probation data analysis, and left with a strategy for developing a map-based mobile app that would enable anyone to suggest a Community Payback project.”

When Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust entered the How we can transform neighbourhoods in Britain challenge they were concerned their entry might be rejected because they were a Trust. Instead their idea that uses ‘OS MasterMap Topography Layer’ to obtain a comprehensive map of Great Britain has been developed into an app using GeoVation funding.

Members of the public can now send a geotagged photograph to the Trust of a site they’d like tidied. Typically this could involve litter removal, dealing with fly-tipping or graffiti and undergrowth clearance. The Trust then builds a picture of potential sites using Ordnance Survey data and offender’s locations. Individuals can track the progress of their project through a unique URL on the app.

The GeoVation Challenge is a government-sponsored initiative designed to address specific community needs through the use of geographic data. GeoVation funding removes financial barriers that can restrict some individuals and organisations from developing good, sustainable data-related solutions that make a difference to communities.

Anyone who has a good idea about enabling people in Britain to live in better places can enter the current challenge that closes on 19 November 2014. Who knows, you may become a GeoVation winner.

Jackie Lynch
By Jackie Lynch,
Senior Communications Officer at HM Land Registry