Funding competition Learning how crowdsourcing data could change the geospatial sector

The Geospatial Commission will invest up to £1.5 million to fund projects for crowdsourcing the creation and/or maintenance of geospatial datasets.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


The Geospatial Commission will invest up to £1.5 million in innovation projects. These will use crowdsourcing to create, update and maintain information related to geographic location, to make it more useful.

Your proposal must focus on improving one of the following:

  • the delivery of public services at local authority level
  • social or environmental outcomes by working with third sector organisations
  • existing public sector open datasets

Your proposal must demonstrate how your project will have benefits, in either scope or scale, beyond the initial funding phase.

Your project must involve the owner or curator of any existing dataset you are using. We encourage innovative and ambitious partnerships.

If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, email at least 10 days before the competition closes. Include the words “crowdsourcing of geospatial data” in the email subject.

Funding type


Project size

Total eligible project costs can be between £50,000 and £750,000. Costs upto £1 million may be considered for applications of exceptional quality. Projects can last up to 10 months and must end by 31 March 2020. The earliest start date would be June 2019.

Who can apply

Lead applicant

To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK based business, of any size, a research and technology organisation (RTO) or a local authority
  • carry out at least 90% of your project work in the UK
  • exploit the results from or in the UK
  • involve the owner or curator, if there is one, of the dataset you will be working with


Projects with total eligible costs:

  • under £100,000 can be single or collaborative
  • £100,000 or more must be collaborative

To collaborate on a project you must be a UK based business, of any size, academic organisation, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO).

If the project is collaborative the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

If an RTO or local authority is the lead on an application they must have at least one business collaborator.

Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at point of award. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information please see our general guidance.

Multiple applications

Any one business, RTO or local authority can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications. If an organisation is not leading an application, they can be a collaborator in up to 3 applications.

An academic institution cannot lead on an application but can be a collaborator in any number of applications.

Partners with no funding

Projects can include partners that do not receive any funding (for example, non-UK businesses). Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs but they will not count as collaborators.

Previous applications


If Innovate UK judges that your proposal is not materially different from your previous proposal, it will be classed as a resubmission.

We will not accept resubmissions in this competition.

If we decide not to fund your proposal, you will be able to use it to apply once more.

Your re-application can:

  • take into account the feedback received from the assessors
  • be for a later round of this competition or for another competition


The Geospatial Commission has allocated up to £1.5 million for this competition. It is expecting to fund projects with total eligible costs of between £50,000 and £750,000, including:

  • up to 10 projects with total eligible project costs between £50,000 and £250,000
  • at least 3 projects with total eligible project costs between £250,000 and £750,000

We may vary these numbers depending on the quality of applications.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to find ways for users of a mapping app or website to take part in creating and/or maintaining geospatial datasets.

The Geospatial Commission’s main goal is to ensure data is useful by helping to make it more accurate, complete and available. The ideal solution would give service users the power to identify and correct any missing, out of date or wrong data.

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • which datasets you will work with and your proposed approach
  • any potential intellectual property (IP) issues
  • the main dependencies, assumptions and risks
  • what economic benefit you expect to produce
  • how much funding your partners will contribute
  • why your contributors want to be involved
  • how you will try to resolve issues around data integrity
  • how your project can scale to deliver greater benefits

By the early 2020s your project must do at least one of these things:

  • be available to help the owners or curators of datasets (or the service providers that use them) maintain their data
  • give a world-leading consumer experience
  • produce high value local jobs and UK supply chain opportunities
  • create export opportunities for UK businesses
  • improve data integrity at appropriate timescales (from hourly through to annual)
  • help make the UK a leader in developing and exploiting geospatial data

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets and technological maturities.

If your project is successful you will need to:

  • share what it learns about the benefits and challenges of using crowdsourced data with the Geospatial Commission
  • agree to this information being made openly available
  • sign non-disclosure agreements with the Geospatial Commission, other network members and the organisations contracted to manage the programme evaluation

Specific themes

Your project must focus on using crowdsourcing to support applications in one of the following 3 areas:

  1. Improving the delivery of public services at the local authority level, such as parking or disabled access.
  2. Working with third sector organisations to support improved social or environmental outcomes.
  3. Enhancing existing public sector open datasets, such as a publicly accessible green space dataset.

Project types

We will fund feasibility studies, industrial research projects or experimental development. Please see the general guidance to help you decide which category your project fits in.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that do not use crowdsourcing of geospatial data to contribute to the project aims.

27 November 2018
Competition opens
3 December 2018
London briefing event.
30 January 2019 12:00pm
Competition closes
15 March 2019 3:50pm
Applicants notified

Before you start

Please read the general guidance for applicants. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

When you start an application you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. You will need an account to track the progress of your application.

As the lead applicant you will be responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

You will be able to invite:

  • colleagues to contribute to the application
  • other organisations to collaborate in the application

What we will ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Application details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

1. Application details

Explain your project. This section is not scored, but we will use it to decide whether the project fits with the scope of the competition. If it does not, it will be immediately rejected.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration. Is the application a resubmission?

Project summary

Describe your project briefly, and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application. List any organisations you have named as collaborators. Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail, and in a way that you are happy to see published. Please do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project. Your answer can be up to 400 words long.


Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will be immediately rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will give you feedback on why. Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

Your answers to these questions will be scored by the assessors. You will receive feedback from the assessors for each question.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers unless we have explicitly requested a link to a video.

Question 1. Need or challenge

What is the business need, citizen challenge, technological challenge or market opportunity behind your innovation?

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project is focused on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations. Our Horizons tool can help with this

Question 2. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?

Describe or explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example, report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

You can submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 10MB and up to 2 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3. Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?

Describe or explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • the details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • (if your project is collaborative) the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any gaps in the team that will need to be filled

You can submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 10MB and up to 4 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?

Describe or explain:

  • the markets (domestic, international or both) you will be targeting in the project and any other potential markets
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might to be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 5. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase your productivity into the long term as a result of the project?

Describe or explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example, why they would use or buy your product
  • your route to market
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 6. Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe, and where possible measure:

  • the economic benefits from the project to external parties, including customers, others in the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy, such as productivity increases and import substitution
  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:

  • quality of life
  • social inclusion or exclusion
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity

Question 7. Project management

How will you manage the project effectively?

Describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the relevant research category, the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms that will be used for a successful and innovative project outcome.
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You can upload a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 10MB and up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Describe or explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • how these risks will be mitigated
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, datasets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how will you manage this?

You can upload a risk register as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 10MB and up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9. Added value

What impact would an injection of public funding have on the businesses involved?

Describe or explain:

  • if this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as faster to market, more partners and reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the businesses of the partners involved
  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of private-sector funding, and what would happen if the application is unsuccessful
  • how this project would change the nature of R&D activity the partners would undertake, and the related spend

Question 10. Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

Describe or explain:

  • the total project cost and the grant being requested in terms of the project goals
  • how the partners will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project

3. Finances

The finances section asks each organisation in your project to complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academics will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

Geospatial Commission

The Geospatial Commission is an enduring, impartial entity. It sets the UK’s geospatial strategy and promotes the best use of geospatial data to drive productivity, promote economic growth and improve the delivery of public services. At the same time it safeguards considerations such as national security and intellectual property rights.

The overarching objectives of the Commission are to increase economic growth and improve social and environmental outcomes by:

  • setting cross-cutting geospatial strategy, policy and data standards
  • promoting competition within markets for geospatial data, products and services
  • improving accessibility, interoperability and quality of data
  • improving capability, skills and resources to support the growth of new and existing geospatial businesses and improve public services

Information sharing

Successful projects will need to commit to information sharing to support wider learning.

This aims to make sure all projects:

  • prepare designs using the best practices and tools available
  • understand their role in the ecosystem
  • share what they learn so it can create the greatest possible benefit for businesses, regulators, investors, consumers, researchers and policy-makers

Extra help

If you want help to find a project collaborator, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at

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