Register and Join the OSS and ESA’s Earth Observation for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources Challenge

Background to the Challenge 

The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security & Africa (GMES & Africa) by the African Union Commission aims to enhance Africa’s capabilities in using Earth Observation (EO) data for better decision-making and sustainable resource management. Under this programme, the North Africa Consortium executes the “Earth Observation for Sustainable Land and Water Management in North Africa” project, providing three services: Water Abstraction Surveillance, Land Degradation Monitoring, and Seasonal Agriculture Monitoring.

In the GMES & Africa’s second phase, the programme focuses on utilising Earth Observation products more effectively. They have merged Services 1 and 3 to create a unified service. The Consortium advocates for new technologies like Cloud Computing, which plays a crucial role in swiftly processing vast amounts of data to produce valuable information aiding decision-making.

To promote the understanding and utilisation of Cloud Computing for generating crucial data supporting water and natural resource management, the Sahara and Sahel Observatory, leader of the North Africa Consortium, in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), is hosting the “Earth Observation for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources Challenge (EO4SMNR).” The hackathon aims to engage the African developer community, including students and early-stage companies (start-ups). It will run over two days on December 12th and 13th, 2023. Participants can tap into a wealth of geospatial information provided by the DUNIA cloud-based computational platform developed by ESA to ideate and prototype concepts that demonstrate practical value.

Target Audience of this Challenge 

DUNIA, designed to harness Copernicus EO data, is freely accessible for African users to effectively address the challenge of utilising Copernicus Sentinels. It offers access to diverse EO datasets with fewer constraints and low bandwidth requirements. Its infrastructure enables various tools and processing capabilities, allowing easy sharing of scripts, products, and outputs through a dedicated marketplace. Moreover, users can work directly on mobile devices.

Tailored for beginners and experts, DUNIA aims to enhance data accessibility and exploitation, promoting application development across Africa by providing Copernicus Sentinels data in formats suited for low bandwidth and rapid data utilisation. It facilitates direct interpretation of Copernicus data and develops solutions with minimal bandwidth consumption, featuring an interface suitable for handheld mobile devices. Furthermore, the Hackathon will enable students, researchers, developers, and experts to explore DUNIA’s potential in creating products, developing services, establishing workflows, and conducting large-scale data processing to meet specific needs. Start-ups can utilise the DUNIA platform to prototype solutions, benefiting from technical expertise provided by OSS, ESA, and GEOVILLE, with privileged access and increased processing quotas granted.

Hackathon Focus Areas

During the hackathon, participants will leverage Earth observation data, remote sensing technologies, and data analytics to address specific thematic applications for sustainable land and water management. They need to develop innovative solutions focusing on:

  1. Enhancing water efficiency in agricultural settings: Designing tools or applications that optimise water usage in farming practices to improve agricultural productivity while conserving water resources.
  2. Highlighting land degradation hotspots or sub-phenomena: Creating solutions that identify areas undergoing land degradation, whether due to erosion, urban expansion encroaching on agricultural lands, wildfires, etc., to aid in targeted intervention and conservation efforts.
  3. Enhancing coastal line management and erosion monitoring: Developing tools or systems to monitor and manage coastal erosion, safeguarding coastal areas and infrastructure against degradation and rising sea levels.
  4. Strengthening food security and agricultural monitoring: Creating scalable, practical, and user-friendly solutions that contribute to monitoring agricultural activities, predicting food shortages, and ensuring sustainable food production practices.

The goal is to develop practical, scalable, and user-friendly solutions that align with GMES & Africa’s objectives for sustainable agriculture and water resource management, addressing specific challenges identified through research and end-user feedback.

During the competition, registered participants will gain access to the DUNIA platform, enabling them to showcase their problem-solving abilities in addressing real-world challenges related to agriculture, irrigation, land degradation, and food production. The platform offers extensive remote sensing data, including multi-temporal satellite imagery from sources such as Sentinel and Landsat and climate data. In addition, participants can delve into advanced data processing techniques, build robust models, and employ state-of-the-art algorithms to develop their solutions. The organisers will provide comprehensive training materials, technical support resources (such as videos, notebooks, and manuals), and guidance to support their endeavours. These tools will serve as a foundation for participants to craft innovative products and solutions, leveraging the DUNIA platform’s wealth of data and capabilities.

NOTE – ​​Fresh and innovative ideas for the competition are strongly encouraged, and participants are not confined to the suggested use cases. While the thematic applications provided serve as reference points, contestants can explore and propose novel concepts that push the boundaries of innovation in utilising Earth observation data for sustainable land and water management.

Register now and join this exciting experience, where you can showcase your skills, creativity, and problem-solving prowess. 

Kindly check here for more information regarding the hackathon and other training opportunities under the DUNIA programme. 

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