It is with great pleasure that we today announce the finalists of the Longitude Explorer prize.
Launched in November 2014, the Longitude Explorer is a youth-focused challenge for secondary school pupils aged 11-16, which aims to provide an opportunity for young people to expand their abilities in technical creativity and practical experimentation using satellite data.
The prize offers a first place award of £25,000 and two runner-up prizes of £5,000, all to be received by the schools which the teams attend. All finalists will be invited to attend the Longitude Explorer awards ceremony to showcase their project prototypes, with the winner being selected from those who publicly present.
The prize to date
Like its bigger sibling - which focuses on combating antimicrobial resistance - the Explorer Prize draws inspiration from the historical longitude prizes, in which the British government promised rewards to those who could help solve the problem of working out a ship’s exact position at sea.
In the spirit of the task set before the mathematicians, astronomers and instrument makers of the 18th century, the 21st century contest focuses on navigational technology, tasking groups of young people to use satellite location data to solve social challenges.
Entries to the contest opened in November 2014, and by January 2015 almost 70 ideas had been submitted by schools around the UK. March 2015 saw the shortlisted entrants come together to take part in an induction session at the Big Bang Fair.
Young people then had a couple of months to develop their ideas from concept to reality. In July 2015 teams attended a Judging Panel at Technopop to present their prototypes.The judges were impressed by the creativity, the passion and the huge amount of thoughtfulness that young people put into their work for the prize, admitting that they had to make very difficult decisions in order to select finalists.
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Longitude Explorer finalists and wish every future success for those who were not shortlisted on this occasion.
MapShot - Dalriada Robotics (Dalriada School)
MapShot enables users to take scientific readings made by satellite and upload them to a global online forum where they can be converted into infographics. These visualisations can then be shared and overlayed in order to promote discussion and collaboration between researchers in different fields.
Safety.net - Keep-Me-Safe (Sutton Grammar School)
Safety.net enables teachers to see where their students are at all times thanks to wristbands and a simple app, giving students on field trips and expeditons freedom to explore and adult guardians the ability to monitor their safety. Run using a Raspberry Pi, the absence of a screen means the battery lasts for several days without charging - ideal in a wilderness environment.
Proximity Safety Unit- Salutem Aviation (Okehampton College)
The Proximity Safety Unit is an aviation system that relays live-stream data via satellite systems directly from a plane to ground control and data collection posts, enabling investigators to immediately discover key flaws in a plane’s flight or instruments in case of incident.
Tromless Hackers Tracker App - Tromless Hackers (Rendcomb College)
Tracker App is a cloud-hosted mobile web app that will use live GPS data collected from mobile devices to allow local charities to better coordinate the logistics of supporting homeless and vulnerable people.
Land Identifier - Team Just (Spalding High School)
Land Identifier aims to help farmers and agronomists in the developing world to measure and map soil moisture in real time, enabling them to plan their planting, irrigation and harvesting to maximise the potential crop yield.
Riversearch for Schools - The Warwick Wizards (The Warwick School)
RiverSearch for Schools is a project developed to enable school groups to monitor a section of watercourse or pond. The app measures biological and chemical indicators and can determine the ecological status of a given stretch of river.
Fast Aid - Jeremy 2 (Churston Ferrers Grammar School)
Fast Aid is a data collection and navigation tool to be located within ambulances, hospitals and will also be available as a smartphone app. The system will allow ambulance crews to check live information about nearby hospitals, including details of available facilities, beds spaces and current waiting times.
Planet Fitness - GALL (Thomas Deacon Academy)
Planet Fitness is an app which uses GPS satellite information to track users during open-air exercise, customising outdoor workout programmes according to location and personal requirements.
Sun Watch - The Inventors (Spalding High School)
Sun Watch is a piece of wearable tech which uses satellite and UV index information to warn users if they are in danger of skin damage due to exposure to the sun. The app will also update users with helpful tips on protecting their skin.
SafeHaven - The white van man (Thomas Deacon Academy)
SafeHaven is a tool which uses GPS information to map safe places which can be used when children or teenagers are feeling vulnerable or threatened. Once a user activates the app, the nearest safe haven will be alerted that the user is arriving or in need of assistance.
Bee there - Bee there (Churston Ferrers Grammar School)
BeeThere is a tracking system that will use satellite information and crowdsourced reporting to locate local bee groupings, allowing scientists to study how the environment and location might affect population numbers.
ZAPP - QWERTY (Churston Ferrers Grammar School)
ZAPP is an alarm clock app which employs live open data on traffic, public transport disruption and weather to work out the best time to wake users in order to meet the demands of their schedule.