Two responses to challenges posed by NASA’s Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) in the 2016 NASA Space Apps Challenge were selected as Global Winners. The winning entries, Scintilla and L.I.V.E. Glacier Project (Ice Cream Team), were among the 1,287 projects developed by teams around the world as part of the Space Apps Challenge 48-hour hackathon April 22-24.
The goal of the annual NASA Space Apps Challenge is for teams to collaboratively develop open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and life in space. GIBS is a key service of NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS), and provides visualizations of NASA Earth observing satellite data. GIBS data can be viewed using the EOSDIS Worldview interactive interface and similar clients.
The three challenges posed by GIBS in this year’s competition were:
- Aircheck (#Aircheck): Develop an app incorporating GIBS atmospheric imagery to help crowdsource information about changes in environmental factors such as high temperature, pollen and allergens, or poor air quality that could cause physical problems;
- Earth Live (#EarthLive): Develop a web tool, mobile device app, or add-on for an existing app or website leveraging NASA imagery and climate data to illustrate and evaluate Earth changes over time, such as comparing long-term satellite data or looking at before and after images of changes caused by storms and other natural events; and
- Sea Ice App (#SeaIceAlaska): Develop an app to help track sea ice conditions in Alaska that does not require mobile network access for data collection.
Scintilla (Pasadena, CA, USA) was created in response to the GIBS Aircheck Challenge and won the Global Award for Best Use of Data. The app uses data from NASA Earth observing satellites and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitoring stations to calculate a real time air quality score for any location on Earth based on the EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) algorithm. Consumers can check their local AQI score through the web portal on their computer or mobile device. Enterprise partners, such as manufacturers of fitness equipment, can access these data through an open application program interface (API) and use them to educate consumers about the impact of air quality. These data also will be available through an open API to research facilities like hospitals and universities.
L.I.V.E. Glacier Project (Ice Cream Team) (Rome, Italy) was created in response to the GIBS Earth Live Challenge and won the Global Award for Galactic Impact. The team created a Live Ice Velocity Estimation (L.I.V.E.) web tool that provides near real-time visualization of glacier surface velocity fields using Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images available through NASA’s Alaska Satellite Facility Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) along with environmental data available through GIBS. L.I.V.E. Glacier Project (Ice Cream Team) also provides an app for fostering sustainable tourism on or around glaciers, with pointers on how to plan a trip, available facilities, and images of glacial landscapes.
Winning projects in the Challenge are chosen through an established process. Local hosts nominate finalists from their location. Challenge owners (such as GIBS) and NASA scientists, engineers, software developers, and other experts review these local nominations and select the top 25 projects as Global Finalists.
Five responses to the GIBS challenges were selected as Global Finalists: Prism (Berkeley, CA, USA; Aircheck Challenge, Galactic Impact), Based World (Silicon Valley, CA, USA, Earth Live Challenge, Galactic Impact), How is Earth Feeling? (Perth, Australia, Earth Live Challenge, Most Inspirational), eoNetTambora (Stuttgart, Germany, Earth Live Challenge, Best Use of Data), and Earth Care (Silicon Valley, CA, USA, Earth Live Challenge, Galactic Impact).
Global Winners in six categories are selected from the Global Finalists: Best Use of Data, Best Use of Hardware, Best Mission Concept, Galactic Impact, Most Inspirational, and People’s Choice. Global award winners receive an invitation to attend a NASA rocket launch.
People’s Choice is both an award level as well as a separate award category. Challenge owners, NASA reviewers, and local Space Apps Challenge hosts nominated 128 projects from this year’s competition for People’s Choice awards. People’s Choice award winners are determined by the user community through votes on social media.