29 April 2024



Satellite data, we wake up with it and go to bed with it. It may seem common to use data from space for our weather forecasts, for our WhatsApp conversations with family on the other side of the world or for navigating to our weekend destinations. However, many people don’t to consider the potential impact of satellite data on their field of work. This is unfortunate because the applications are limitless, and considering the substantial investment of tax money into the development of satellite instruments, it is crucial to get the most out of it.


For the government as well, it applies that satellite data is not optimally utilized. To change that, various ministries are exploring new application possibilities, with hackathons serving as an helpful tool in this effort. During the GeoData-Fusion Hackathon, the added value of satellite data is explored for three issues of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management:

  1. What is the effect of wind turbines on the ecology of the North Sea? With the growing need for clean energy, the North Sea is used for building wind farms. But the North Sea is also used for shipping, for fishing, and it is a habitat for birds, fish, and other marine animals. What does the arrival of wind turbines mean for these functions?
  2. Can we use satellite data to see how many cars are parked for a long time? Imagine a large public parking lot. In general, we know that many cars are parked longer than they are on the road. But if we knew this per parking lot, we would also know which parking lots could possibly be transformed into a park if we could persuade car owners to choose alternative transportation.
  3. Which indicators for soil quality can be measured from space? For healthy food, clean water, and fertile nature, it would help considerately if the soil is of good quality. Within the European Union, countries are obliged to ensure this and to monitor their soil quality. Now the question is whether we can use satellite data for monitoring instead of taking field samples for laboratory analysis. That would of course mean a huge efficiency gain.


In the upcoming months, we will gather various data types for hackers to utilize when tackling these challenges on 13 and 14 June. Not only satellite data will be incorporated but also data from other sources that enrich the satellite information. The true power of this data lies in the hands of hackers, who have the ability to convert the vast mass of data into concrete tools for policymakers to work with. Therefore, the creators of the proposal chosen by the jury as the most promising solution to one of the challenges will have the opportunity to develop their prototype at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management through a pilot project of €20,000.


From next week onward, individuals and groups interested in participating can sign up as hackers. Or, for those who can’t wait, pre-registration is already open.