COVID-19 Custom Script Contest

The Euro Data Cube partners (opens new window) have designed a custom script contest (opens new window) focused on the COVID-19 crisis to collect ideas on how EO data can help society to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and predict its mid- and long-term impacts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption in all our lives. Even when we hopefully will have managed to halt the spread of this disease, we still do not know how long it will take for the world to go back to ‘normal’. We have been thinking for quite a while how an Earth Observation company like ours can contribute to the situation, apart from staying at home and ensuring that the virus does not spread. Looking at the super-human efforts of medical staff worldwide was inspiring and our motivation grew even stronger. Then, one week ago, the Euro Data Cube team was contacted by the European Space Agency (ESA) who got their heads together with the European Commission, and they suggested to try to crowd-source ideas. That was it, we jumped on-board without hesitation!

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The contest focuses on the COVID-19 crisis and is looking for ideas on how satellite data could help with the situation, both, at this moment as well as in the upcoming months, when the world will try to get back to normal. We are calling for remote sensing experts, machine learning scientists as well as the interested public. Anyone can contribute their ideas.

Three focus categories have been selected:

  • observation of changes in economic operators
  • changes in human activity distribution
  • changes in agricultural activity

If, however, you have an idea falling out of this scope, please provide it as well. Any and all ideas are welcome!

There are resources offered for free for participants: Two new data sources (PlanetScope (opens new window) and Airbus Pleiades (opens new window)) over several locations as well as Euro Data Cube Sentinel Hub (opens new window) and EOxHub hosted JupyterLab (opens new window) subscriptions. Please fill the participation form (opens new window) if you want to use those resources.

Fluctuation of nitrogen dioxide emissions across Europe from 1 January 2020 until 11 March 2020, using a 10-day moving average, Sentinel-5P data (source: Copernicus (opens new window))

The contest will run until the end of May. However, due to the importance of the matter we would like to see results as quickly as possible. This is why we will be selecting the best ideas end of every week, every month, and the grand prize at the end of the challenge. It’s not just about prizes - good ideas will be presented to the European Commission and they might become an important tool to improve the situation in the EU.

Piling up of rental cars on the field due to reduced demand, just before a fire broke, burning 3500 of them. Source: James Hyde (opens new window)

How can you contribute? Here are a few rough examples:

  • If you are a self-taught remote sensing enthusiast, check the data, play with it, come up with an idea, compile a presentation, and send it in. Note that there does not necessarily need to be a script itself. A simple description of the idea supported by slides and exported images is sufficient.
  • Earth Observation experts can perform a detailed analysis, using various tools, demonstrating the patterns.
  • Machine learning experts can model agriculture activities and identify potentially abandoned areas, resulting in reduced yields in the harvest seasons.
  • Satellite data providers should contribute additional data, so that people can perform even more interesting analyses. Planet, the largest earth observation satellite network, has already stepped in, contributing tens of thousands of km² of their almost daily PlanetScope imagery.

One way or another, do participate! While there are prizes, it is not a contest but rather a call for action to collect ideas which may end up helping managing the current situation.

The challenge starts today and lasts until May 31st 2020. Submit your idea as soon as possible.

Stay home, stay healthy and contribute to this humankind challenge! Signup here (opens new window)!