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UAE Space Agency launches Geospatial Analytics Platform Hackathon

The UAE Space Agency organised the Geospatial Analytics Platform Hackathon's first workshop on the sidelines of the Make it in the Emirates forum.
Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi

The UAE Space Agency launched the inaugural edition of the Geospatial Analytics Platform Hackathon on Jun 1, on the sidelines of the ‘Make it in the Emirates’ forum, in line with the ‘Year of Sustainability 2023’ and as part of the preparations for COP28.

The platform is a part of the transformational projects launched by the UAE government as a part of the efforts to realise the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to create the world’s best and most dynamic economy.

A first-of-its-kind, the Geospatial Analytics Platform, aims to provide scientists, researchers, public and private entities, startups, and society members with access to satellite data to develop solutions for national and global through space applications and value-added services (VAS).

The Hackathon will focus on finding land-use changes in the UAE utilising the Geospatial Analytics Platform which provides space data from advanced earth observation satellites.

The Hackathon will enable participants to develop unique solutions for the UAE, further supporting researchers and companies in the development of space analytics services relevant to the UAE’s environment. This falls in line with UAESA’s commitment to increase demand for space products and services from other sectors, while expanding the market access of existing companies in the country.

The UAE Space Agency organised the Geospatial Analytics Platform Hackathon’s first workshop on the sidelines of the forum. The workshop was attended by organisations and entrepreneurs interested in participating in the Hackathon.

Speaking about the Geospatial Analytics Platform, Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The sustainability of our planet begins with the sustainable use of our lands, protecting the environmental and ecological balance, and ensuring the future of our next generations. The Geospatial Analytics Platform is a part of our vision to support the development and sustainability efforts, as well as national strategies. The Hackathon will provide the ideal platform to create, learn, develop new skills, collaborate, network, and present innovative and sustainable solutions for better land use.”

Al Qubaisi added: “The transformation in land usage will have far-reaching effects on various aspects, encompassing the environment, biodiversity, soil, climate, and socio-economic factors. Recognising the significance of safeguarding our environmental resources for future generations, the UAE Space Agency places utmost importance on advancing and implementing initiatives and projects aimed at promoting sustainability. The Space Data Center, Space Analytics and Solutions (SAS) Programme and Geospatial Analytics Platform are among these initiatives. By harnessing cutting-edge satellite technologies, these endeavours actively contribute to the UAE’s national strategies while supporting our vision for a sustainable future.”

The Geospatial Analytics Platform Hackathon is centred around the theme of ‘Transforming Land Use in the UAE.’ This event will delve into various aspects of land use, including but not limited to changes in vegetation, repurposing agricultural lands for housing or industry, converting urban and industrial areas into agricultural zones, and vice versa.

The Geospatial Analytics Platform Hackathon consists of two engaging phases. The first phase spans over two weeks, starting with participant registration and ideation, culminating in the submission of a prototype by June 9. The top five entries from the submissions will be carefully chosen to progress to the final phase, commencing on June 13.

During the final phase, scheduled for June 20-22, a series of mentorship sessions and workshops will be conducted by a talented team of five mentors from Bayanat. These sessions aim to provide guidance and support to the finalists. Furthermore, the selected teams can implement their ideas on the Geospatial Analytics Platform, leveraging cloud computing resources and the giQ environment for uploading their results.

The Hackathon will culminate in announcing the winning team and the runner-up, who will be bestowed with a remarkable opportunity to join the development team for COP28 space projects. This recognition signifies the tremendous potential of their contributions and the chance to actively participate in shaping the future of space-related endeavours.