2013 Space Apps Challenge

2013 Space Apps Challenge was a grand success!

What was the International Space Apps Challenge?

A hack-a-thon. An international meeting a minds. A weekend to geek out. A chance to creatively apply technology and software development skillz to solve problems relevant to improving life on Earth or in Space.

Our Challenge: Seeing Water From Space

Suzanne Pierce and Kevan Moffett proposed a Challenge:  http://spaceappschallenge.org/challenge/seeing-water-from-space/ (Primary contact: Suzanne Pierce)


Water management and climate change are broad regional issues in South America with important implications for industrial activities, indigenous communities, as well as flora and fauna.

This challenge seeks to enable macroscopic, or large scale, analysis of water resource conditions throughout the altiplano of Chile.

Challenge Description

Create a web map of Chile water resources, showing how they have changed over time and how their changes over time relate to changes in climate.

Functional Specifications

Use historic satellite imagery as the base layer for the map and overlay water resources, salars (salt flats), and other related features.

Allow the user to switch between time period to see how these features have changed over time.

Bring in precipitation data, which is also tied to time, and show how the changes in water resources are correlated to changes in precipitation (i.e, water resources have larger extents in years with heavy rain).


Some initial directions towards relevant publicly available data sets were posted, and a sample preliminary study was provided as a point-of-reference:

Paper on Mapping Chile Playas http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/moffett/files/Prelim_Study-Surface-Extent-of-Playa-Lake-Basins-Northern_Chile1.pdf

Two Projects were Inspired by this Challenge!

International Space Apps Challenge

When did it happen?

The 2013 International Space Apps Challenge mainly occurred on 20-21 April 2013, around the world, although project development is ongoing in some cases.

How did it work?

1. Participants browsed Challenges that were submitted for the 2013 event: http://spaceappschallenge.org/challenges/ Challenges included: legos, 3D printing, visualization of Kepler satellite data, working on parts for a Moon or Mars biosphere, creating educational visualizations, and much more…!  Many Challenges provided guidelines for where to access public domain data (e.g., satellite data) and a statement of a Challenge goal.  Then it was up to them to get the creative juices going to hash out code or a product that met the goal, or at least was inspired by it.

2. Participants logged in (for free) online to participate virtually as an online team member and coordinate with others interested in the same Challenges via the Challenge discussion threads and hackpads.


2. Participants went to their nearest Space Apps Challenge host site to join teams working on a variety of challenges live – like a pick-up-game of basketball, only a pick-up-game of solving some of humanity’s Earth and Space problems.  Cities with host sites were: http://spaceappschallenge.org/locations/