Celebrating Innovation: EO Hackathon in Tunis Produces Innovative Solutions for African Challenges

During December 12th and 13th, 2023, the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS), along with partners like the European Space Agency (ESA), African Union, GMES & Africa, and Manouba School of Engineering, organised a hackathon called the “Earth Observation for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources Challenge (EO4SMNR).” This event aimed to encourage the use of cloud computing in generating vital data to support water and natural resource management across Africa.

                                                                  Source: EO Africa Dunia
                                                               Source: EO Africa Dunia

The challenge attracted 254 participants from various African countries, including students and start-ups. These individuals had access to a wealth of geospatial information through the DUNIA cloud-based computational platform created by ESA. Their task was to brainstorm and create prototypes addressing key themes:

  • Enhancing water efficiency in agriculture
  • Identifying areas affected by land degradation (erosion, urban expansion, fires, etc.)
  • Managing coastal lines and monitoring erosion
  • Strengthening food security and agricultural monitoring
                                        Cross-section of participants at the event. Source: EO Africa Dunia
                                    Cross-section of participants at the event. Source: EO Africa Dunia

Ultimately, two teams stood out for their comprehensive solutions. The first team comprised Dr. Manel Rhif, Farah Chouikhi, Azza Abidi, and Raja Inoubli, while the second team consisted of Amal Matoussi, Yassine Gacha, and Fares Zaalouni. Their project notebooks are available for public access, showcasing their innovative solutions.

These solutions were evaluated based on specific criteria:

  • Scientific Relevance: Addressing current scientific knowledge and tackling pertinent challenges.
  • Innovative Approach: Uniqueness and originality in problem-solving.
  • Methodological Rigour: Systematic and structured execution.
  • Dunia Integration: Effective use of the Dunia platform’s functionalities.
  • Dunia Feedback: Providing insights to enhance Dunia’s functionalities.
  • Demonstrated Outcomes: Tangible and measurable results achieved through prototypes or data analysis.

The winning teams excelled in these criteria, showcasing their deep understanding and practical applications of Earth observation data. Their solutions offered theoretical concepts and provided actionable insights into Africa’s critical water, land, and food security issues.

Visit here to learn more about the hackathon.