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Ordnance Survey and GeoVation map the future with mashup competition

Ordnance Survey is backing GeoVation, a competition to win cash for ideas that make the map of the future

Mapmeisters Ordnance Survey have teamed up with GeoVation to award £21,000 to anyone who can think of exciting new mapping mashups.

The cartographic competition is designed to encourage innovation in geography with a real-world use. Suggested themes include crime, health and the environment, although good ideas on any subject are welcomed. Entrants are free to suggest the use of any resources, such as Google Maps or OS OpenSpace, and Ordnance Survey will have no claim to any of the entries.

Ideas so far include a map-based calendar, a map of film locations, and a very topical mash-up of school catchment areas with house sales and rentals. Our suggestion is for someone to make an app that folds maps up for you. You can have that one.

The closing date for entries is 4 January 2010. A shortlist of ten will then pitch their ideas to a Dragon's Den-style arena on 26 January. Four entries will split the cash to develop their idea, with the winner finding their way to £10,000 and runners-up taking away £5,000. The audience will vote for a community award-winner to trouser £1,000 for their idea.

Ordnance Survey has been the definitive name in British cartography for more than 200 years, but the famous pink paper maps are threatened by the rise of sat-nav and the likes of Google Maps and the open-source OpenStreetMap project. By encouraging innovation of this sort, OS is hoping to guarantee a plot on the digital landscape.

Maps and sat-nav are in the news at the moment with the arrival of turn-by-turn Google Maps Navigation bringing sat-nav to Android phones. Meanwhile, Ordnance Survey maps are used by new app Locatorz to track your friends.