Earth Science at Space Apps 2017

“There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” ~ Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Hackers be hacking at Space Apps 2017

A few weeks ago, Mozilla Science Lab collaborated with NASA and Carto to host our second-annual Space Apps Challenge in Brooklyn NY. This year, the hackathon featured challenges related to Earth, including:

In Space Apps tradition, participants are invited to subscribe to a challenge and develop a project that responds to challenge prompts and themes, each site then selects two or three projects to progress to the broader international challenge rounds.

This year, we partnered with the Space Apps NYC team to host a venue in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York, USA, Earth, and wanted to share some highlights with our super-stellar and spatially-minded community of coders and scientists at Mozilla. Read on for some takeaways, featured projects and a recap of the weekend’s activities.

Teams playing with donate hardware from Intel!

What happened?

On April 28th-30th, we hosted an opening mixer and Data Camp for participants to learn from a few guest speakers on Geospatial Science, including Nico Belmonte who talked about the awesome open source developments in Uber’s project, and Peter Richardson, who demoed some of the impressive graphics capabilities of Mapzen’s Tangram Open GL renderer. We provided a cool website of Data Camp materials to all participants, and you’re welcome to fork and reuse the guides for getting started with Github, working with APIs, playing with commodity hardware components and much more!

Our super-cute Data Camp Guidebook! Free and forkable!

Over the next two days, we hacked and snacked with a diverse group of 43 registrants, and a core set of about 6 teams to build cool prototypes and experiments around the Earth-themed challenges. Projects included small sensor networks to detect residential temperatures and protect tenants rights in NYC, a real-time tweet bot to provide regular captions of lunar orbital trajectories, an estimator for the eco-footprint of your food, and a geospatial projects to optimize green spaces and community gardens in urban environments.

Sweet swag from our sponsors: Mozilla Science, NASA, Carto, Socrata, Intel

We nominated two projects for global jury consideration in Space Apps 2017. You can read about all of the other projects built on the Science Hack Day NY Github here, or in the Space Apps landing page here.

What’s next?

We’ll learn more about the selected “winner” projects in the coming months for Space Apps 2017, and we’ll certainly keep you posted. Last year’s event was quite successful, a combination of Science Hack Day NY and Space Apps 2016, where we invited our local Brooklyn community to learn and build cool projects and prototypes for space and open science.

We don’t always plan to match but when we do, we’re spatially-styled!

This year, we’ve split these events, so mark your calendars for mid-August, when we plan to host a Science Hack Day to followup on Space Apps and build new and awesome projects!

Can’t wait until August? Sign up for our Global Sprint in Brooklyn; on June 1-2, 2017 we’ll be hacking on open projects and co-working with a global community of participants to build awesome things on the open web.

Stay tuned and terrestrial.


The Mozilla Science Lab