The Copernicus Hackathon Programme, financed by the European Commission, brings together developers, experts, and entrepreneurs. A hackathon (hacking marathon) is a design and development event in which participants with various fields of expertise and skills work in groups collaborating intensively on software projects towards tackling a specific challenge within a short timeframe.
The goal of a hackathon is to create functioning software by the end of the event, being the desired result of an operational prototype / demonstrator of the developments performed. Tools and datasets for tackling the challenges during the event are provided by various contributing organisations.
During the weekend of 16 -18 October 2020, the Copernicus Barcelona Hackathon was held, the first Hackathon to be held remotely.
At this Hackathon, IHE Delft’s teams won 2nd and 3rd place. First place was awarded to TBDs team, with their work on the influence of air quality on COVID19. They developed a decision support tool to help governments plan on how to respond to the impact of extreme weather events on the severity of COVID19 symptoms within affected populations.
The 2nd place was awarded to the 4-member team Up2Date. Two of them were IHE Delft’s PhD fellows Adele Young and Thaine Assumpcao, and the other two members were Nikolaos Mastrantonas, IHE Delft alumnus of the Erasmus Mundus Flood Risk Management programme (FRM), and Gijs van den Dool, a Natural Catastrophe Modelling specialist. They won with their project on an innovative approach to increase the preparedness of agricultural stakeholders by improving the vulnerability assessment of high-risk areas before an event occurs.
Adele and Thaine share the same thrill in their overall hackathon experience. They both felt the whole experience was amazing, despite of the long hours and intensity, and they are very proud of how far they made it. They formed their team during the course of the Hackathon, and they both found it an inspiring exercise to talk to people with different backgrounds and align ideas with them ultimately leading to the formation of their team.
Thaine explained that as the competition went along their team mindset grew, and she learnt with her colleagues how to come up with something innovative that was also rooted in reality, with a business goal. She also added “Doing a PhD, I don't always get to think of customers and/or who is benefiting from our product, neither do I need to arrive at such a developed product so fast, it was really fun and invigorating.”
Adele explained that her research is mainly based on the local scale, and that the hackathon gave her the opportunity to think on a global scale and to use global-scale products to solve local-scale problems. She highlighted “Overall I learnt when doing hackathons, having an open mind is key to embracing creativity.”
The 3rd place prize was awarded to the team Floodies. The members Amin Shakya, Daniel Eduardo Villarreal Jaime, Siva Rama Krishna Reddy Chidepudi were current IHE Delft FRM students, and Javed Ali, the fourth team member was an IHE Delft FRM alumnus.
Their project focused on developing an integrated framework with innovative solutions to deal with the compound impact of natural hazards and COVID19 with the ability to increase disaster preparedness using early warning systems and humanitarian aid assessment.
The Floodies explained that they really enjoyed their experience at the hackathon. They highlight that this contest was a great learning opportunity for them, as they had mentorship from top practitioners and business personnel in the field of Copernicus data application.
They thought the best part about the Hackathon was getting to collaborate with a fellow Erasmus Masters in Flood Risk Management alumni, to interact with other participants from IHE, as well as to get the opportunity to solve real-world problems using satellite data along with other participants from diverse backgrounds.