A leading international design company has teamed up with the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) to develop an innovative new mapping platform for cities.

City ID, headquartered in Bristol, has led projects in New York, Moscow and Birmingham producing pedestrian-focused street maps and ‘wayfinding’ systems.

It is working with UWE Bristol to prototype and develop new digital products in a two year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project. This will see a UWE graduate working at City ID and allow the company to tap UWE’s research on computer science and gaming technologies to build a new digital platform.

“We’re aiming to develop a mapping platform to integrate a range of city services”


“Cities and places can often be confusing to residents and visitors,” said Jason Smith, projects director at City ID. “To enable cities to communicate effectively we’re aiming to develop a mapping platform to integrate a range of city services from tourism and conferences to its transport systems. A digital platform will help connect all of that together with beautifully designed, highly accurate content, sourced and managed locally.”

Smart maps

The graduate will help the firm develop a prototype, but it will differ from other maps found on handheld devices. “When you look at existing maps like Google, the content you are seeing is commercially-driven,” said Smith. “This is maybe not the image the city wants to present.”

With this in mind, City ID will offer digital pedestrian maps to its existing clients and hopes to eventually establish a new digital services department if the project is successful.

The £150,000 project is partly funded by Innovate UK and includes two UWE Bristol Computer Science and Creative Technologies academics, Carina McLane and Lloyd Savickas. They will also use the project as a case study to help UWE students learn about real-world examples.

“For the University, a KTP is a fantastic way to create real impact by applying research to contemporary business challenges and thereby stimulating new research ideas,“ said Clare Rowson, UWE Bristol’s KTP manager. “They also enable enterprising businesses to work with a University and turn their ideas into reality.”

There’s more information about City ID at www.city-id.com/approach/