Info & Contacts

The GEO Appathon 2014 has now ended, but please feel free to browse the information below and keep discovering!

What is the GEO Appathon?

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Appathon is a global App development competition which aims to develop new, exciting, and (most importantly) useful Apps using Earth Observation data.
The first ever GEO Appathon runs from 7th May 2014 until 26th September 2014 and is open to non-commercial individuals and teams from any background; although, the event itself is aimed at Earth observation students, scientists and developers. All Apps will be judged and the top 3 winners will receive cash prizes with a top prize of $5,000, and GEO endorsement of the App.
Registration closes August 31st.

Why is GEO running an Appathon?

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) team is running the Appathon to start unleashing the huge potential of Earth observation data to help all of us make informed decisions about the planet. GEO already operates the GEOSS Portal and associated data discovery APIs, which allows free and open access to a plethora of the world’s Earth observation data. As such, the GEOSS Portal forms the centre point of the Appathon, enabling participants to discover and access the potential of Earth observation data.

What does the competition involve?

The GEO Appathon is an App development competition which must stem from use of the GEOSS Portal’s suite of tools in one of two ways.

Firstly, The GEOSS Portal and data catalogues can be used to discover data sets to create an App from; the more data sets combined, the more points awarded during judging. (The GEOSS data catalogues include SERVIR, energy web servicesenvironmental data and maps, and Copernicus services)

Secondly, the GEO Discovery and Access Broker (DAB) can be used to integrate the discovery capabilities of the GEOSS Portal directly into an App.

Apart from the above guidance and the rule set (see below), the App itself can take on any form, target any number of user bases and use any number of inputs. The App will be judged on how useful it is to the intended audience. It’s up to you to use your knowledge, passion, creativity and scientific know-how (if you’ve got any) to create a GEO Appathon App.
The App doesn’t have to be complex, and sometimes simplicity can be the key to unleashing a huge amount of potential in data.

What was the launch event?

The GEO Appathon is a global event. However, a special, live and free launch event was held on 7th May 2014 at the Geospatial World Forum 2014, Geneva, Switzerland. During the half day event, we explored GEOs suite of tools with the GEO team, as well as hear from some of their inspirational partners who have already begun to develop Apps and unleash the power of Earth observation data and Apps. We also held a unique App ‘design and spec’ session, designed to stimulate and inspire participants to create something brilliant!

How can I/we participate?

If you or a group of you want to participate in the GEO Appathon, just head to the ‘Register’ section of this website.

What are the rules?

The GEO Appathon is loosely based on the concept of a hack-a-thon, although greatly extended. As such, the GEO team expect well-designed, researched and data driven Apps to be created.

  • The App must stem from use of the GEOSS Portal’s suite of tools in one of two ways. Firstly, The GEOSS Portal can be used to discover data sets to create an App from; the more data sets combined, the more points awarded during judging. Secondly, the GEO Discovery and Access Broker (DAB) can be used to integrate the discovery capabilities of the GEOSS Portal directly into an App to access GEOSS data catalogues such as SERVIR, energy web services, environmental data and maps, and Copernicus services.
  • The App’s purpose must connect with one or more ‘GEO theme’; Agriculture, Biodiversity, Climate, Disasters, Ecosystems, Energy, Health, Water or Weather.
  • The App should be designed to work on an App oriented operating systems, such as Android (including V4.4), iOS (including v7), Windows 8.1 (Apps only), and Windows 8 Phone. You’re also welcome to design Apps for any other App oriented OS and points will be given for cross platform compatibility.
  • The App can be designed for any popular portable device form factor, including smart phone, tablet, and laptop.
  • Submission requires either the App being freely available on a relevant ‘App Store’ or being packaged and sent to the organisers in a relevant format.
  • Participants must be non-commercial individuals or teams.
  • Apps must use English as a primary language.
  • Winning Apps should not be sold to users for up to six months after the end of the competition, and be made available at no cost to the end user for that duration.

What are the judging criteria?

    • Number of data sets used (Number of data sets used equates to the number of points, with a maximum of 5 points awarded. (e.g. 3 data sets equals 3 points))
    • Relation to GEO Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs) (Number of relations made equates to the number of points, with a maximum of 5 points awarded. (e.g. 7 relations equals 5 points))
    • Number of technical platforms App is designed for (1 point per platform)
    • BONUS POINT – focus on developing countries (justified via short description 100 words max) (3 points)
    • BONUS POINT – implementation of the GEO API’s.
    • Ease of use without instruction (1 to 5, 1 = poor, 5 = excellent)
    • Visual impact (1 to 5, 1 = poor, 5 = excellent)
    • App ‘uniqueness’ (1 to 5, 1 = not unique, 5 = unique)
    • Possibility for Future Expansion, written description max 200 words (1 to 3, 1 = none, 3 = lots)
    • Audience interpretation and possible reach written description max 200 words (1 to 5, 1 = poor, 5 = excellent)
    • Relevance to addressing challenges in developing countries – written description max 200 words (1 to 5, 1 = poor, 5 = excellent)

Why is the Appathon so long?

Hack-a-thons and Appathons are often shorter than 4 months. However the Earth observation data you’ll be exploring in the GEO Appathon is complex, dynamic and often requires some sort of data transformation or analysis. We also want the Apps to be designed with users in mind, well thought out, and implementing science and user development methodologies to create an outstanding App. Furthermore, we expect the App to have a basic level of error and user testing

Which operating systems and device formats can I code for?

The App should be designed to work on an App oriented operating systems, such as Android (including V4.4), iOS (including v7), Windows 8.1 (Apps only), and Windows 8 Phone. You’re also welcome to design Apps for any other App oriented OS and points will be given for cross platform compatibility. Apps can also be designed in HTML5 , but must feature the essence of an application (i.e. user involvement and processing) and not be a stand alone website.

Can I start working on my App after the kick-off date?

Yes, you can start working on your App after the kick-off date. There’s no set time goals or activities during the Appathon, but we suggest starting as soon as possible to maximise the potential for a great App. However, registration closes 31st August.

Where can I get help?

The GEO Appathon website contains all the help and contact info you’ll require. There’s also a forum where you can share ideas, questions and thoughts with us and other participants. If you’re implementing an App with the GEO DAB, the GEO team will be able to help. If you’ve a technical question about data sets or technical issues outside of the GEOSS Portal or DAB, we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction; although, it will not be our responsibility to resolve questions in these cases.
Technical feedback and suggestions from participants is welcomed throughout the competition, especially around the GEOSS Portal and DAB systems.

Contacting Us

For Appathon help and assistance, please email the Appathon organiser, Dan Williams (dan@geoappathon.org) .

Submission Information

Submission requires one of the following being completed based upon your submission preference:

  • App Store: If you are publishing your App on an ‘App Store’ make sure it’s published in a ‘free to use’ format. Once you’ve published your App, send an email to ‘ dan@geoappathon.org ’  with [Submission] in the subject line along with your team name, and make sure to include a link to your App that we can access. Most importantly, include in the email an answer to each of the Submission Questions listed below.
  • HTML5/Webpage: If you’ve created an App that’s accessed via a website, send an email to ‘ dan@geoappathon.org ’  with [Submission] in the subject line along with your team name and the website link that we can access. Most importantly, include in the email an answer to each of the Submission Questions listed below.
  • Packaged App: If you’ve decided not to publish your App on an ‘App Store’, send us the App as an email attachment to ‘ dan@geoappathon.org ’  with [Submission] in the subject line along with your team name. Send us a technical description of the file you’ve sent and which OS it’s designed for, along with a sample of screenshots to make sure we’re seeing the correct screens. Most importantly, include in the email an answer to each of the Submission Questions listed below.

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Submission Questions – (please copy and paste the table below into an email)

Question Answer
Your Full Name  
The Team Name  
The App Name  
How Many People Worked on the App?  
The App submission format and OS format   (including Link)  
How many data sets are used in the App?  
How many of the GEO Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs)   have you related your App to?  
How many technical platforms is the App designed   for?  
OPTIONAL BONUS POINT – Justify the App’s focus on   developing countries via short description (100 words max)  
OPTIONAL BONUS POINT – Have you implemented any   of the GEO API’s?  
What is the Apps possibility for Future   Expansion? (written description max 200 words)  
Please describe your view of the intended   audience interpretation and possible reach. (written description max 200   words)  
Please describe the Apps relevance to addressing   challenges in developing countries (written description max 200 words)