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Ordnance Survey research reveals sustainability projects as hot for software developers

According to research by Ordnance Survey, sustainability projects are emerging as hot zones for software developers, attracted by the chance to do some good as well as make good money

Sustainability projects are red hot among software developers, according to research commissioned by Ordnance Survey and just published. It shows that sustainability projects are increasingly attractive because of the higher pay and job satisfaction they offer.

A total of 500 developers who have worked on sustainability projects were quizzed by the OS research team – 40% of respondents were based in the UK, with the rest in India, Hungary, Romania and Poland. One-third of the sample were women.

The OS research team also interviewed nine industry experts in geospatial data and transport, including from the UK Department of Transport.

The developers declared themselves highly motivated to “do something positive for the world” and to be intrigued by the “technical challenges these projects present”, according to an OS statement accompanying their research. But the research also revealed that such projects are highly remunerated.

It also showed that British efforts to reduce transport emissions – including a deadline of 2030 for all new vehicles to be electric or hybrid models – has driven up demand for developers who can support the roll-out of EV [electric vehicle] infrastructure, the supporting energy infrastructure, and the digital technology that will accelerate EV adoption. 

Rollo Home, head of product at Ordnance Survey, said: “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. 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. 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.”  

More than 90% of the respondents said they enjoy working on sustainability projects because of the challenges involved and the motivation to do good, and 82% reported that sustainability projects attract at least 5% higher remuneration, with British and Polish developers reporting at least 10% higher pay. Some 94% of developers are bringing forward their own ideas for ways to develop sustainability projects.

Close to 70% of respondents have worked on projects in sustainable development, 57% in energy and power, 51% in natural resources, and 49% in transport and mobility.

EV projects are hot within the latter category, with 66% of the developers there having worked on EVs. A total of 87% of those agreed that the UK’s zero emission policy was a key driver.

Building public EV charging infrastructure is a major area of focus, such as planning the location of charging stations, and 46% of the developers working on sustainability projects said geospatial tools were vital.

Rhoswen Hoath, product manager at Ordnance Survey, said: “Historically, turning geospatial data into usable information has required niche skills and expertise. From challenging file formats to geographical nomenclature, geospatial datasets were among the most difficult to use.

“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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