Want to develop tools to find the best places to land a spacecraft on the moon, or to provide real-time reports from social media users on the ground during natural disasters? These are but two of the many challenges citizens are tasked to solve during the International Space Apps Challenge.

Organized by NASA, the two-day hackathon happens this weekend, April 21-22. Developers, hackers, designers, scientists, engineers, citizen scientists and anyone interested in solving interesting problems is invited to contribute. You can participate virtually or at event locations in 25 cities around the world, including in Vancouver.

The organizer for the Vancouver event, Angelina Fabbro (@angelinamagnum) is software programmer who puts her cognitive science background to work by building smart robots. Angelina decided to organize the Vancouver event because she saw an opportunity for Vancouver’s development community to help make data collected by NASA easier for the public to access and understand.

“NASA has taken the first steps towards promoting public participation and excitement in science by releasing their data,” she says. “Now it’s our turn to give it and its interfaces, the design and polish necessary to help people feel comfortable and engaged with the scientific process”.

And there are some impressive challenges on the roster. Whether you help build an interactive map of the people, places and things that make our planet a better place, or create a standard to semantically organize NASA’s thousands of public datasets, there’s likely something that will peak your interest.

To register or see the full list of challenges, go to: http://spaceappschallenge.org/

We at DataBC give big props to Angelina Fabbro for pulling the Vancouver event together and to NASA for creating the ‘space’ (sorry!) for people to learn and create.


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