Think you can solve the UK's electric vehicle charging point puzzle? The Ordnance Survey wants to hear about it

Two-day hackathon to answer the ultimate question of life, the universe, and where to put them


The UK's venerable Ordnance Survey is to fling open its electronic doors in an effort to tackle infrastructure challenges faced by the UK's rollout of electric vehicles (EVs).

Blighty does not have the best of records when it comes to access to charging points for EVs and, with a 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars looming, the question is where to put the plug-in posts.

Enter the Ordnance Survey (OS) and its detailed database of Brit geography. And, as seems to be de rigueur nowadays, a "hackathon" to come up with ways of using the normally premium data to come up with solutions.

The virtual hackathon is set to run from 6 to 7 October and participants have been set challenges including how EV infrastructure planning for local government in remote communities might be "levelled up", identifying the charge points for EV fleets and where to develop them using geospatial data to nudge the internal combustion engine owner into a change of behaviour.

A more nebulous "Open innovation" challenge is also on the cards, asking participants to come up with other "sustainable concepts."

While the latter challenge might make some think of UK property shows where somebody puts grass on the roof and forgets to order the windows (yes, we're looking at you Grand Designs), using the data to identify where charge points are needed makes quite a bit of sense. The OS is providing participants access to all its premium data as well as its team of geographic information system specialists.

API Product Manager Charley Glynn said: "If Britain is to meet its carbon net zero targets in the next nine years, then difficult puzzles have to be solved in the EV and transportation market.

"For instance, how are we going to be able to manage the needs of potential EV owners who need to charge their car at home but live on the top floor of a block of flats, or planning car charging points in a terraced street where parking spaces are already in short supply?"

Registration for the event closes on 23 September, and participants will have to sign up to the OS Data Hub. Teams can have up to five members, and the OS is looking for research, working software, analysis or a proof of concept. ®


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