ESA, NASA and JAXA launch EO hackathon


Experts from across a range of fields are being invited to help solve challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, by using Earth observation data to assess its impact upon the planet.

The virtual Earth Observation Dashboard Hackathon, jointly sponsored by ESA, NASA and JAXA, will take place between June 23 and 29.

According to the three space agencies, “Earth observation data have proven crucial in documenting changes in the environment owing to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

That’s why in June 2020 they combined efforts to develop the Earth Observation Dashboard, an “interactive platform that combines a wealth of data from Earth-observing satellites to monitor the worldwide impacts of COVID-19”.

“We have created a dashboard that allows us to have a time-series of critical information over different areas, and therefore compare information,” said ESA’s Acting Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Toni Tolker-Nielsen.

“I am particularly glad to say that this is not only a European effort, we have joined forces with global space powers NASA and JAXA and really combined our assets.”

The purpose of the Hackathon is for participants to form into teams and use data from the Dashboard to solve COVID-19-related challenges.

The challenge topics are: air and water quality, economic, social and agricultural impacts, greenhouse gas effects, and effects on the interconnected Earth system.

Participants will be able to conduct virtual chats with experts from NASA, ESA and JAXA, suggest projects and propose solutions to improve the dashboard.

“We would like to welcome many proposals to solve the challenges using this website,” said Koji Terada, Vice President and Director General for the Space Technology Directorate at JAXA.

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