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PH Team Wins NASA Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge

After three months of deliberations, the global winner is finally named!

On May 30-31, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) hosted the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge together with other international agencies like the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Canadian Space Agency (CSA), National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), and the European Space Agency (ESA).

This year’s event has been a special edition of the Space Apps Challenge to hopefully find possible solutions in managing the pandemic. The challenge involves a 48-hour virtual hackathon that taps coders, scientists, and other experts from concerned fields to create and propose solutions to the current health crisis using data from various satellites of the three space agencies.

And now, after three months of deliberations, the organizers have finally decided on its global winner! (Read: 5 Filipinos Who Made Names in NASA and Space-Related Fields)

G.I.D.E.O.N. App

An app by a team of Filipinos has been named this year’s winner of the NASA Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge. Called “Global Impact Detection from Emitted Light, Onset of COVID-19, and Nitrogen Dioxide or G.I.D.E.O.N,” the app uses Earth observation, in-country economic data, human mobility data, and global infection case count to integrate public policy information that aims to measure the impact of COVID-19.

According to NASA, the Filipino-made app won the challenge because it was the best in utilizing space data and it makes them accessible by eventually incorporating them into an app that helps with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Team CirroLytix’s G.I.D.E.O.N. (Global Impact Detection from Emitted Light, Onset of Covid-19, and Nitrogen Dioxide) took top honors in a pool of 1,400 submitted projects. (Photo from NASA International Space Apps Challenge – Manila / Rappler)

Other Finalists

Two other teams from the Philippines also made it as finalists: the creators of Snail Space and the creators of Sentinellium.

Snail Space aims to help address mental health issues brought about by isolation during the pandemic, as they were inspired by the social isolation astronauts experience while in space. (Read: 3 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health While in Quarantine)

Sentinellium, on the other hand, is an app that has public health in mind—”it makes use of user data sent through SMS and chat, and space assets like population density, urbanization, and aerosol to provide a more accurate prediction of developing epidemics.”

Filipino Pride

This is the third time that a Filipino team won among hundreds of others from different countries around the world. In 2018, ISDApp won the “Galactic Impact” category for its efforts in helping underprivileged fisherfolk who do not have access to smartphones and the internet.

(Photos from Construction Week Online / Positively Filipino and Adobe Stock)

ISDApp makes use of text messages (SMS) to update these fisherfolk about weather conditions, cloud coverage, and other weather factors that could help them with their work.

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