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5 GeoTech Startups Putting Themselves on the Map

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5 GeoTech Startups Putting Themselves on the Map

With their ‘Geovation’ programme, Ordnance Survey is focusing on giving aid to geotech startups. Since this is one of the things that is going to be talked about at our upcoming Manchester startup event, it seemed a good time to look into geotech startups putting themselves...wait for it...on the map!

Be it through entertainment, services, or education, these are some of the most innovative and promising startups in the arena of geotech.

Niantic Labs

You wouldn’t necessarily think of the developer of the massively popular Pokémon Go as a startup. But they began life not long ago within Google, as an internal startup, and only spun out of the company and ventured forth on their own in 2015. It was during this egress that Niantic announced that Google, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company were all investing a combined $20-$30m in them.

The result of this funding, and more, was of course the geolocation-based augmented reality game, Pokémon Go. Within its first month of release, the game had been downloaded 100 million times, netting the startup over $10m per day. Not bad for a startup.

Below Niantic Labs CEO John Hanke, chats about lessons learned from the Pokemon Go launch, and the plans moving forward. 

John Hanke of Niantic Labs has Pokémon Plans at Disrupt SF

John Hanke of Niantic Labs has Pokémon Plans at Disrupt SF


As the name suggests, this app has been put together to help you find the best parking in London and 11 of the UK’s largest cities. This is a very useful app for locals and visitors alike, especially if you’re on a tight schedule. There are few things worse than the search for a parking space (Disclaimer: there are a lot of things worse than this but, you know, it’s bad). Not only can the app tell you where the nearest parking is, but in some areas it is able to tell you the availability of the parking space/s. Whether you forgot to bring change for the meter, need to charge your electric car, need a disabled space, or more, the app will narrow down the options for you and provide useful information such as price and applicable parking rules.

Check out the full demo of Appy parking below

AppyParking full demo

AppyParking full demo


According to what3words’ website, 75% of the world suffers from inadequate address coverage, with 4 billion people unable to properly receive post and deliveries they need. They have solved this global issue with a grid of 57 trillion 3mx3m squares. Rather than using methods that are harder for non-technical people - and, really, who is going to remember their latitude and longitude? - what3words simply gives each grid square a 3-word address. For example, our new address is roughly ‘object fish dwell’.

The problem of inadequate addressing isn’t just a nuisance when you’re trying to order the Sherlock box set - it can be life-threatening in developing countries and remote areas where aid needs to be delivered rapidly. But if you intend to retire to a cabin in the middle of remote mountain range, you might want to look into what3words too.

We have covered what3words in more detail here




This one could have easily fitted in one of our articles about drone startups. Hivemapper is a companion for your drone exploration, designed in enhance your flying experience while making it safer. 23,000,000 buildings have been mapped out and their dimensions uploaded so that users can easily avoid flying into things even when the drone’s camera isn’t facing them. It also incorporates user feedback, allowing you to place waypoints on the maps, in 3D space, to give other users the chance to see things from a perfect vantage point that you’ve discovered and discuss it with them in shared notes.

At the moment, Hivemapper is in beta. Things like no-fly zones are only mapped for the US and it has support for a limited number of drones, but something like this will likely become widely used by drone enthusiasts, and these things will expand rapidly.

Hivemapper in action

Hivemapper in action


Mapsquito is a game built by 4 girls, aged 16 and 17, at the Disrupt SF Hackathon (built in 24 hours, too). The reason it fits into geotech is that it is built on Esri maps and each level is a different country affected by malaria. The player begins in a less affected country and progresses to those harder hit by the disease in this Tetris-style game.

With stats and information about the affected countries and the malaria problem therein, the team wants to educate people about the very real, very preventable problem of malaria. It is their hope to partner with, or get funding from, an anti-malaria charity and use players’ progression through the game, saving the in-game character’s life, to save real lives. An ambitious, worthy, and impressive team.

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Published on: 22nd September 2016

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