Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Some observations on hackathons

My background in hackathons


My first real hackathon I can remember was during my PhD times, SpaceApps 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand at AUT University. I was intrigued by the hackathon concept, but never felt “up to it”. Then early 2016 there was a very exciting opportunity coming up, which really intersected with my field of interest, geoscience Data management and extracting and presenting actionable information. It was framed as a business to govt (B2G) data innovation challenge, sponsored by the New Zealand government. This so called R9 Accelerator was meant to bring the public and private sectors together to make it easier for business to interact with New Zealand government. I actually wrote a blog post in more detail about the event from my perspective back then. Reading it today brings a lot of excitement back.

Now, I am in Estonia since 2017 and I felt it would be a valuable event format to engage out students into the field of geoinformatics and applied problem solving with geographic and earth observation data. Together with our team at the Department of Geography we organized the NASA Space Apps hackathons in 2018 (Tartu) and later 2019 (Tartu).