Geospatial solution for EV chargepoint infrastructure
A project linking geospatial data to energy data, to help businesses and planners deliver fairer and faster rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Mind Foundry Ltd
£590,751 (across two phases)
Summary: impacts and findings
Mind Foundry, an Oxford University company, aimed to create an application that would give planning authorities quicker and easier access to the information needed to make informed planning choices on EV charging infrastructure. Using the tool would also support greater social equality in terms of access to EV charging.
The project has now successfully built an online application that is market-ready. The team worked closely with a small group of local authorities across the country, including Oxfordshire County Council, which has found the application dramatically speeds up the analysis needed for planning decisions.
Project aims and approach
The application links geospatial data with energy data in a mapping tool, to allow deeper analysis of issues such as electric vehicle charging or smart metering. EV rollout planning depends heavily on analysing how suitable locations are in terms of attributes – whether physical such as car parks, dropped kerbs and cable locations, or to do with user profile – all factors that are difficult to model with conventional approaches.
The project worked on an energy-focused application that will enable the user to:
- Visualise on a map overlays of data that varies spatially and temporally
- Model trends and inferred correlations in areas where data is sparse
- Model the effects of changes on the system such as varying supply, demand or infrastructure.
The core features of the tool include the ability to:
- combine and compare different sources of data
- measure the impact of a proposed strategy against key performance indicators
- create different projects with teams and collaborate in these decisions
- use the findings to support further work such as government grant applications.
Phase 1 of the project was called Energy-focused geospatial system using multi-sectoral data to deliver net zero and included:
- use case discovery, validating the potential benefits of the application
- design: defining the specifications, product requirements and overall product vision
- building an alpha prototype and a beta version, including data integration, visualisation and modelling.
In Phase 2 of the project the application was further developed and refined, based on feedback from real-life use.
- Additional user personas were defined, to ensure the system would meet user needs, and to identify and mitigate challenges
- new data was added from multiple sources including the Open Energy initiative, and covering not only physical but social and demographic data
- new features were included for search, collaboration, annotating projects and reporting.
You can watch a detailed ‘show and tell’ presentation and demonstration of the project, recorded in June 2022.
The show and tell from Phase 1 of the project, recorded in July 2021, is also available here.
Mind Foundry Ltd
April 2021 to May 2022
Achievements and barriers
The project showed that there is a clear need for a tool that can integrate multiple data sources to help planners make the best choices for rolling out electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
The trials demonstrated significant savings in time and effort for planning authorities, potentially accelerating rollout of EV charging while catering for different socio-economic levels of the community.
The project has now successfully built a market-ready online application, in the process meeting and mitigating challenges such as access to the full range of data needed.
MindFoundry’s application has a clear roadmap for future developments and extensions, and a strong base of prospective customers.