Longitude Explorer Competition

James Hancock

James Hancock

The Longitude Explorer Prize is an innovation competition, where innovation entries are based around the use of satellite data. I entered the competition shortly after it was announced in November 2014.

Since then, I have attended an induction day for the event at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, competed in the semi-finals at Techno-pop in Bristol, and finalized after a close round of judging, held at a Teen Tech event in Stratford, London. Needless to say, it has been quite a journey, and I think my concept design that I entered into the competition reflects that. My original concept was based on e-ink technology, but this was scrapped for an improved solution involving the Raspberry Pi (a small, educational computer) and an online website.

My final idea, MapShot, consisted of the user taking sensor readings via the Raspberry Pi, and later uploading them to the website. The website could then display the readings taken by the user and compare them to readings taken by other users, ultimately enabling visitors to the website to create infographics and draw their own conclusions from the data. A topical example of a field of study where this could be used is air quality, with the data being displayed as a heat map.

Technology and innovation competitions are great opportunities to meet new friends, hone presentational skills and learn more about the vast field that encompasses technology – other entries to the Longitude Explorer Prize include a redesigned black box for aircraft and GPS tracking devices for pupils on field trips. I have to say, that if you are enthusiastic about technology in any sense, please do enter competitions – you will be surprised at how far they take you.