NASA Launches International Competition to Develop Space Apps

on March 12, 2012 9:25 AM EDT

NASA
NASA Launches International Competition to Develop Space Apps (Photo: Flickr.com/Luke Bryant)

NASA, governments around the world and civil society organizations will co-host the International Space Apps Challenge on April 21-22 with events across seven continents and in space.

The apps competition will bring people together to exploit openly available data collected by space agencies around the world to create innovative solutions to longstanding global challenges. An initiative of the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan, the challenge will showcase the impact scientists and citizens can have by working together to solve challenging problems that affect every person on Earth. Events will take place in San Francisco; Exeter, U.K.; Melbourne, Australia; Sao Paulo; Nairobi, Kenya; Jakarta, Indonesia; Tokyo; McMurdo Station, Antarctica; and the International Space Station.

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"We are excited to convene the International Space Apps Challenge as one of the U.S. commitments to the Open Government Partnership to explore new ways that open space data can help the planet and further space exploration," said Deborah Diaz, deputy chief information officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Open data includes statistics, facts and other information that is freely available to the public. Teams will compete with others around the world to use open data to design innovative solutions to a predetermined series of global challenges. Specific challenges are being compiled and will soon be available.

"The International Space Apps Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for individuals around the world to create new ways to use space-derived data to save lives, transform industries, and connect us more deeply with our world," said Michael Green, general manager of the Australian Government's Space Policy Unit. "Space applications technology underpins critical sectors such as navigation, communications, emergency management, agriculture and climate science."

Participants will be free to develop mobile apps, software and hardware, data visualization, and platform solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on earth.

"Open Government is more than simply releasing data. It is a fundamental shift in the way government interacts with citizens," said Chris Vein, deputy U.S. chief technology officer for Government Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "This apps challenge is an opportunity for governments to involve citizens in solving some of the most challenging problems facing our Nation and the world, and the White House is excited that NASA is at the forefront of this worldwide effort."

The U.S. National Action Plan is part of the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral initiative to promote transparency, participation and collaboration between governments and citizens. President Obama and other heads of state committed to these principles on the margins of the United Nations in September 2011.

Source: NASA

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