Yet Another Challenge! App-lifying Earth Science Data

Challenge.gov42 days to submit!  Prizes will be awarded to the best overall app, the best student app, and the ever-popular people’s choice.  Apps will be judged on scientific relevance, innovativeness, and ease of use.   The general idea (but see the full announcement below) is to develop a wondrous app that enables “new and innovative ways to represent, apply, and make these data available.”  (Access to the earth science datasets for the competition is provided by the USG Geological Survey.)   If you win you get an expense-paid trip to Denver (yes! Denver!) in May, to attend the USGS’s National Map Users Conference, where you’ll bask in your 15 minutes of fame and glory and get the chance to demonstrate your app to Department of the Interior scientists and program directors.

C’mon, you can totally do this.USGS.icon

“USGS scientists are looking for your help in addressing some of today’s most perplexing scientific challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss. To do so requires a partnership between the best and the brightest in Government and the public to guide research and identify solutions.

“The USGS is seeking help via this platform from many of the nation’s premier application developers and data visualization specialists in developing new visualizations and applications for datasets.

“USGS datasets for the contest consist of a range of earth science data types, including:

  • several million biological occurrence records (terrestrial and marine);
  • thousands of metadata records related to research studies, ecosystems, and species;
  • vegetation and land cover data for the United States, including detailed vegetation maps for the National Parks; and
  • authoritative taxonomic nomenclature for plants and animals of North America and the world.

“Collectively, these datasets are key to a better understanding of many scientific challenges we face globally. Identifying new, innovative ways to represent, apply, and make these data available is a high priority.

“Submissions will be judged on their relevance to today’s scientific challenges, innovative use of the datasets, and overall ease of use of the application. Prizes will be awarded to the best overall app, the best student app, and the people’s choice.”

Note that they’re hosting 30 minute webinars twice a week to provide a more in-depth look at each of the datasets.  The next one is tomorrow!  (Tuesday) – looking at data from the Vegetation Characterization Program (VCP) but I suppose you would only need to view the webinar for whatever dataset you got interested in (and you can always view them later if you missed one).  Subscribe to the update feed to learn more about the webinars.


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