A reference that will change our lives

Was the Smart Phone really the last really big innovation with the potential to change our lives? A generation of digital natives growing-up alongside the rapid evolution of services and entertainment on mobiles seems to suggest it was. I used to track the technology and all it’s convergences as our small innovation team at Ordnance Survey awaited a platform that could do justice to our suite of location based games and augmented reality demonstrations.

Can anything change our lives as much as the smart phone?

Apple emerged with the innovation. Nothing new; but just a neat bringing together of current technologies in a different way that made sense to any user.
So is it the wizardry of the solid state technology and the services that run on them that really change our lives?
I always thought so. As an occasional reader of all the Geo journals I get (Geographica, the Royal Geographic Society‘s Geographical Journal and the Bulletins from BCS and the Society of Cartographers) you get used to academic proposals that pique interest but really never get the impact to change the world (or how it’s measured or referenced).
But that changed this lunch time.
I was surprised when a pilot friend of mine phoned to asked me “have you heard about these What3Words” guys?

Ed Freyfogle and presentation box
Ed Freyfogle’s business, OpenCage, invested in SplashMaps and What3Words

Slightly taken aback as it normally takes some time (almost centuries) for a new geographical reference system to get the nod from academia, adoption by business and then enter the mainstream to pique the interest of a commercial airline pilot.
“Well yes” I replied. “Our Angel investor has a stake in it, the guy who designed the user interface for SplashMaps is employed by them and they, like SplashMaps, are a co-sponsor of our Geomob gatherings in London”.
“Oh”… he said “Do you know what this means?”
I waited and listened with increasing excitement as I realised that the talks I’d seen and the articles I’d read about this 3 year old business were now being faithfully interpreted into a clear set of benefits that anyone could buy.

Mike’s interesting: commercial pilot, ex-military and shareholder and member of Team SplashMaps

Mike’s interesting. Like all investors in SplashMaps he has an eye for potential.
As a pilot with a background in the military he’s well aware that not knowing where you are is a common route to most disasters. The W3W approach to “naming” every 3m square on the planet means the same reference can be made for his craft as it takes off, advances around the world and eventually lines up with a gantry at LHR. Accurately. The idea is brilliantly simple and infinitely extendible to all areas of life where a common meeting point is needed.
So what can I do? How about for a start;-
Like most Geo Businesses SplashMaps cannot afford to be behind the curve. Already Splashmaps is streets ahead of most with our map interface that lets you choose anywhere in the planet by name, post code and by reference to a viewer map and preview. We can add a What3Words finder to this and people can get even more specific about start, finish and meeting points. Perhaps there’s even demand for a sub-heading in the titles of our map?
Mine would say Refreshed.Butlers.Enveloped

The amazing coverage this “behind the scenes” reference concept gets in the press is testament to the team behind the project and the excellent backers they’ve been able to attract.  A reference that will change our lives? I recon so.

Buck off SplashMaps

We can all make a buck off SplashMaps!  Who said consumer mapping should always be less than £15 and we should all eat weavles on the poor remains of profits?

Not SplashMaps.  For 3 years they’ve prospered on a premium product proposition who’s main product sells at £28.99 plus P and P.

Now I’m in on the game.  I’ve become an affiliate, so that any map you get from me will give me a kick-back!  Simply follow this link to SplashMap’s site and you’re putting money in my pocket.

Really they make sense for Christmas!
Really they make sense for Christmas!

Why not do the same yourself? Follow this link and become an SplashMaps partner now!

2014 was a fantastic Year…

I’ve been bad for not keeping you all up to date on dbyhundred activities so, as we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year, here’s a potted summary of our greatest achievements this year;

SplashMaps is 4 times the size it was last year!
SplashMaps is 4 times the size it was last year!

1) I’ve been working nearly half my time on SplashMaps!  This year we made our weatherproof fabric maps go global!  Yes you can now choose a fabric map of anywhere in the world thanks to OpenStreetMap and our work with their finest. We also won awards for our cartography and kudos from the International Cartographic Association.for our popular destination and bespoke maps.  Got 2 minutes?  Here’s what we make;

Home Halo; IP all sorted... we've now gone public
Home Halo; IP all sorted… we’ve now gone public

2) Another “almost” half of the year has been spent with HomeHalo creating the worlds most simple way of managing your kids internet use.  I’ve been project manager from the start, taking the idea from concept through early prototyping now to manufacture and sales.  It’s a unique combination of hardware and cloud based services and draws on all my skills for international collaborations.

Working with the motor industry to forecast trends
Working with the motor industry to forecast trends

3) More Market Research work has been completed for SBD Ltd. using my expertise and contacts in the connected vehicle sector.  I was also very pleased to work with a new dbyhundred Ltd. star researcher for the first time on making new propositions in geo-research.  Every year the connections strengthen and new sources of info are found!

A new approach to innovation supported by European money.  And I help!
A new approach to innovation supported by European money. And I help!

4) I continue to work with the expert teams in the European Commission on a range of calls around innovation and implementation of cloud infrastructures.  These are great networking opportunities for all 3 of the above as well as the work which I carry out personally and is both fascinating, rewarding and helps keeps European technology ahead of the curve.

Our Core Innovation Skills in practice for 2014

At dbyhundred Ltd. we’re enjoying a strong year of extending our core innovation skills into new areas.  In fact this years’ projects cover the diverse markets of Low Carbon Automotive, Maps, Vulnerable Road User safety, and Internet security.  As is often the case for our projects, each of these businesses are following the trends in big data and often “open” approaches to innovation and provision of data.Image

Our skills in managing innovation events have been applied to the automotive industry through our management of the Meet the Engineer event in April.

We continue to help in all aspects of start-up businesses.  Initially this year this was all about new product development for SplashMaps, but we have now taken on a brand new contract with a client launching an internet security proposition for launch next year.

Our networking and education in all aspects of the latest in “cloud” and “big data” has been boosted with 3 European Commission contracts.

2014 looks busy too with many of the current projects having significant targets toward the end of this year and the middle of next, but we are always interested to learn of new opportunities from our past, present and new clients.

Open Data is the Goose that Laid the golden Egg

Open Data really is the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg!  My favourite report on the subject so far 

A nice analogy and a good set of reasons why public sector created data should be made a available FREE for anyone.

Working on the “How” they do this on a European scale is the usual challenge, particularly with the wealth of different charging structures in each member state.  But entrepreneurs will pick up quickly in the early “free” markets.  We will show how free data improves the economy for all!

We win more funding for SplashMaps!

We’ve won more funding for start-up SplashMaps!

ImageSince it started in November 2012 the idea of SplashMaps; Washable, wearable, waterproof maps designed for the REAL outdoors; has developed and captured the imagination of hard-nosed geographers and hard-core adventurers alike.

dbyhundred has contrinbuted to a lot of this success;

  • You could say our second success was breaking even this month!
  • And our third has just come in!  The Technology Strategy Board has just approved our application for an Innovation Voucher!  This gives us the funding we need to refine our customer centred web design.  Soon users will be able to select their preferred mapping area, automatically input their own data overlays and change titles and branding to make a totally unique map to their specification.

dbyhundred is proud to have been here for the start of this exciting business and to have helped make a reality out of a compelling idea.

Busses shine through as Innovation platforms for Low Carbon Technologies

Last week I managed two innovation events designed to grow the potential for Low Carbon automotive technologies in this country.


At the Automotive Council’s “Meet the Engineer event” we lined up 18 companies  to present their technologies before an audience of the main car manufacurers and their suppliers in this country.  Each technology had significant potential for reducing carbon emissions throughout all automotive applications.  But the noticable common factor amongst most of the technologists is their preference for using busses as the proving ground for their innovations.

Why is this?

1) Busses are manufactured in Low volumes.  This means they can benefit from earlier stages of production of the Low C technology.  By contrast, production cars require the technology to be proven and then reproduced, faultlessless, many thousands of times on the production line.

2) Busses are big and therefore can adopt a technology before development has miniturised the invention.

3) Busses have larger engines and therefore the greatest potential for improvements in performance.

4)  Already busses (and particularly coaches) are recognised as the lowest carbon choice in public transport. 

So it was a privilage that we had the forthcoming hybrid Boris Bus from Wrightbus proudly parked in front of the exceptional Concept 1 venue at Millbrook last week. 


I’m facilitating the Automotive Council’s “Meet the Engineer” event

Next week is a big week for dbyhundred.  In our contract with Productiv we are facilitating events that will boost the Innovation capability of the UK in Low Carbon automotive technologies.

Just one of the Great British Manufacturers at "Meet the Engineer"
Just one of the Great British Manufacturers at “Meet the Engineer”

We’ve put together a great programme specifically designed to get the network of large and small businesses properly interconnected.

On Tuesday 23rd it’s “Meet the Engineer” (MtE); a large industry event for which I’ve planned Pecha Kuchas and Speed dating to break down the barriers (see the Press Release Below).  Who’s taking part?  Jaguar, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Williams, Lotus, Morgan plus more than 50 other auto manufacturers and key suppliers… and some highly innovative technologists!

Then on Wednesday 24th the select members of Productiv’s Radar Club will  convene to build on the MtE stimulus and new Sensor and Big Data technologies.  We’ll be working out what all this means in our industry and help our members  make the right investments in Low Carbon technologies.  Guests include IBM, Plessey and McLaren (of F1 fame) and a host of sensor tech companies.


APRIL 2013



Millbrook Proving Ground are hosting the third annual ‘Meet the Engineer’ on 23 April on behalf of the joint Government and industry body, the Automotive Council UK. Developing a stronger and more competitive supply chain is one of the Automotive Council’s key priorities.

Following the success of last year’s event, which saw over 30 technology development companies represented and more than 100 requests for follow ups made by vehicle manufacturers and other large companies in the automotive supply chain.


The ‘Meet the Engineer’ day will see technology developers present opportunities for development, investment and involvement in the latest low carbon automotive technologies, and hopes to encourage interaction and collaboration between engineers of large companies and small UK-based technology development companies.


Presentations will be grouped under the Automotive Council’s strategic technologies, which include ‘Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Efficiency’, ‘Energy Storage & Management’, ‘Electric Machines & Power Electronics’ and ‘Lightweight Materials & Structures’.


The feedback from last year’s event was very positive and the event led to a number of collaborations and advancements. Engineers from several UK automotive companies will be  among the 60 OEMs, engineers and influencers attending ‘Meet the Engineer’. Technology developers will have the perfect opportunity to promote their innovative technologies to the automotive engineering industry.


Productiv, a business dedicated to industrialising Low Carbon technologies, is facilitating this innovative event to optimise networking opportunities between technologists and the established automotive manufacturers and suppliers.


Peter Stoker, group head of vehicle engineering at Millbrook Proving Ground explains: “As the UK’s leading location for the testing and development of low carbon vehicles, working with many vehicle manufacturers across a variety of markets, from motorcycles and passenger cars to buses and trucks, Millbrook is the ideal location to hold this year’s ‘Meet the Engineer’ event.”


“We are looking forward to welcoming engineers and technology companies on site at Millbrook for another successful event organised and held by the Automotive Council.”


For further information or to register your interest in this event email

Pecha Kucha as a Radar and for Networking

With Productiv I am helping to facilitate a number of Pecha Kucha’s over the next two weeks at 2 significant Industry events.

1) The “Meet the Engineer” event at the Millbrook proving ground is sponsored by the Automotive Council and will bring together technologists and the main producers of autos in this country.  With facilitated networking throughout the day and 20 Pecha Kucha presentaitons, this event is specifically designed to create opportunities in Low Carbon technologies.

2) The more intimate Productiv Radar club.  Our members will see a number of Pecha Kuchas and guest presentations as inspiration for considering future investments and collaboration.

Naturally our presenters will want some guidance on the best Pecha Kucha presentations.  Of course we are sending them our chosen formula… but here is additional inspiration.

1) Pecha Kucha used to communicate design at Nissan

2) A nice clear Pecha Kucha on Pecha Kucha!  Remember ours is 15 slides… 5 minutes.

3) An amusing Pecha Kucha on established versus new systems suppliers

I hope these are of use and please add to the list to help me and our presenters!

Good luck!


Our Geographical Names Service gets published!

I project managed the implementation of EuroGeoNames, Europes first pan-European geographical names infrastructure that adopted the Web Feature Service Standard and met all requirements of the INSPIRE legislation.


So good to see our Geographical Names Service get published, this time on the Proceedings of the International Cartographic Conference