Soil Monitoring at High Altitudes:

Caring for the Future

Challenge Video


What if we could connect advanced earth observation technologies, such as hyperspectral satellite data with relevant current soil measurements. Our challenge seeks innovative methods to correlate this data with key policy indicators to foster a sustainable living environment, addressing the current gap in translating extensive satellite data into meaningful, actionable insights for soil quality assessment and improvement.

Blog Post Challenge

Picture a world where the water flowing from the taps is polluted and impure. Farmers struggle to grow crops, and wild animals and plants find it difficult to survive. Although this is only partially our current reality, our soil is already showing alarming signs of deterioration. Consider the floods in Europe last summer, but also the increase in land subsidence and the decline in water quality. Whether it's growing food, managing clean drinking water, or resilience against climate change, soil plays an important role in sustaining life.


The heavy reliance of humans and animals on healthy soil makes contamination a significant problem. This problem is also quite complex to document. It is caused by a variety of factors, including human activities like industrial processes, waste management, and urban development, as well as climate and biological processes. Moreover, soils can vary greatly in characteristics and require accurate measurements at multiple locations to gain a clear understanding of their condition.


Although there is relatively good insight into the level of chemical pollution in the soil in the Netherlands, there is no comprehensive method to systematically map the overall health of the soil. This is why at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, we are exploring ways to efficiently gather comprehensive information soil information using satellite technology. Using satellites to monitor the soil may not seem intuitive, considering their significant distance from the ground. However, the primary goal of this challenge is exactly this: obtaining a comprehensive understanding of soil health through satellite technology.


The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is currently actively engaged in addressing this challenge. Several exploratory projects have been initiated to compare soil indicators with satellite data. In these initiatives, soil samples are being collected and analyzed using conventional laboratory methods. Correspondingly, satellite images are taken from identical locations to see if correlations can be observed with the previously obtained data. While some interesting correlations have already been identified, they have yet to be fully developed and integrated into a system or algorithm. Equipped with this compelling information, hackers can embark on their challenge in the hackathon!


During the Geo-Data Fusion Hackathon, hackers are challenged to think outside the box. On the one hand, they can contribute to new applications of existing data and methods that may have been overlooked. On the other hand, you can develop innovative methods through a fresh approach. For example, they can explore the level of precision required in satellite data to provide meaningful insights about soil conditions. This challenge offers a unique opportunity to be creative and the generation of valuable insights into soil health.


Are you prepared to participate to an innovative approach to improve in soil monitoring? Would you like to join a team dedicated to discovering fresh solutions for soil health? Register now for the Geo-Data Fusion Hackathon!


Silko Mergenthal Mergenthal
Silko Mergenthal Mergenthal
Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management
Policy Officer for Soil Quality at DGWB
Fenny van Egmond van Egmond
Fenny van Egmond van Egmond
International Soil Reference and Information Centre
Soil Data and Sensing

Challenge Owner: Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (DGWB)

This challenge is offered and supported by the department DMWB at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.