Irish hackathon to focus on using space data for sustainability

28 May 2021

Munster Technological University student Luke Otter. His team in the hackathon plans to look at increasing urban green spaces by identifying opportunities for pocket parks using satellite images. Image: National Space Centre

The upcoming hackathon, focused on ‘digitising green spaces’, will see teams in Ireland compete against teams from nine other EU countries.

A series of six hackathons is focused on using satellite data to spur innovation, sustainability and entrepreneurship with space technology.

Ireland’s National Space Centre and the newly established Munster Technological University are hosting the first of these online hackathons next month on 19 and 20 June.

The hackathon’s theme is ‘digitising green spaces’ and participants will have to develop solutions to global challenges that could make a sustainable impact on Earth. They will be able to use EU satellite images and signals to build their ideas.

The competition is open to anyone over the age of 18, including students, start-ups, people or organisations with a challenge that could be addressed with satellite data. Participants can register in teams or can sign up as individuals and be put into a team before the competition.

Organisers are welcoming people with backgrounds in computer science, marketing, business, design, environmental studies and more. Teams will be supported with business, technical and marketing workshops throughout the event.

Cassini hackathon

The Irish hackathons are part of a wider event from the European Commission’s Competitive Space Start-ups for Innovation Initiative (Cassini).

Each of the six upcoming hackathons will take place in 10 different EU locations simultaneously. Teams in Ireland will be competing against teams from Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Netherlands and France.

The Irish competition next month is sponsored by Blacknight Internet Solutions and there will be prizes of €2,500, €1,500 and €500 for the teams that come first, second and third.

The Irish team that comes in first place will then go on to the European finals in July.

“Hacker is just a term for a person who can apply a skillset to a problem,” said Dr Niall Smith, head of research at Munster Technological University.

“If you have a business idea that’s scalable and has the potential to address a global problem, the Cassini hackathon will deliver hands-on experience of how the rapidly growing space sector can give you a competitive edge in ways you might not yet imagine.”

Cassini is a key element of the EU’s new space strategy. It is part of plans to position Europe as a hub for space entrepreneurship and will look to boost start-up and space innovation.

More information about the Cassini hackathons can be found on its website, where you can also sign up for the Irish event.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic