Research reveals sustainability projects driving opportunities for software developers


Research commissioned by Ordnance Survey has revealed why sustainability projects are an increasing area of focus for software developers, with job satisfaction, higher pay, and unique problem-solving opportunities cited as key drivers.

The research, which canvassed the opinions of 500 developers who have worked on UK-focused sustainability projects, reveals that developers are highly motivated by the opportunity to do something positive for the world and enjoy the technical challenges these projects present. It also reveals that sustainability projects offer the potential for higher remuneration.

The same research also highlights how UK efforts to reduce transport emissions – including a deadline of 2030, by which all new vehicles must be electric or hybrid models – has driven up the demand for developers who can support the rollout of EV infrastructure, the supporting energy infrastructure, and the digital solutions that will accelerate EV adoption.

“Developing solutions that will help to tackle the climate crisis and ensure a more sustainable future must be a focus for organisations and governments across the globe,” Rollo Home, head of product at Ordnance Survey, said. “Those with technical skills and data expertise will be crucial when it comes to innovating in this area, as will access to high-quality data. Our research and conversations with developers have revealed that use cases for the environment and national infrastructure require trusted geospatial data, which is where Ordnance Survey’s data offerings and expertise stand out above other data providers. Through the OS Data Hub, developers can quickly access the data they need through APIs to build applications and embed richer contextual features in existing offerings.”

When looking for a geospatial data source, developers are less swayed by cost and more by what works: only ten per cent said that a source being free was the reason for their preference, while 40 per cent said that they were looking for the best tool for the job. OS was ranked highest when developers were asked which geospatial data provider offered tools that were the ‘easiest to use for development’.

Across all respondents, there is a clear prevalence of developer projects focusing on expanding and building public EV charging infrastructure. A key focus for developers is to plan the siting of charging stations, keeping in mind the traffic routes, land usage and existing power grids. Another equally important effort goes into creating a modern, user-friendly information and communication platform for EV adopters, such as apps informing drivers of charging point status, location, connectivity, and local amenities.

“Historically, turning geospatial data into usable information required niche skills and expertise,” Rhoswen Hoath, product manager, Ordnance Survey said. “From challenging file formats to geographical nomenclature, geospatial datasets were among the most difficult to use. As part of Ordnance Survey’s digital transformation, and the wider evolution of the technology landscape, organisations are increasingly able to access and share data in more user-friendly formats, such as through APIs. Today, developers without geospatial expertise can quickly spin up geospatial applications and features that vastly improve their offerings. For those working on sustainability projects, the value of trusted geospatial data cannot be overstated.”

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