Thursday, December 3, 2020
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Pinoy Scientists, Coders Join Hands in Developing Apps for Road Hazard Detection

The NASA Space Apps Challenge has once again gathered Filipino talents in finding solutions to Earth and space problems.

On October 2 to 4, another virtual hackathon was held by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to encourage coders, scientists, developers, engineers, and other experts to create apps and systems that will provide solutions to various issues in the Philippines.

The NASA Space Apps Challenge, the second one for this year, was attended by individuals from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. With the theme “Take Action,” the hackathon’s goal is to encourage everyone to find solutions to Earth and space problems—even from the comfort of their homes. (Read: This 18-year-old Yolanda Survivor Wants to Make Science More Understandable to Save Lives)

During the hackathon, participants were able to develop a road hazard detection system, data visualization tools, and machine learning for satellite image monitoring, among others. The coders and developers used free and open data from the partner agencies to be able to create these projects.

A Venue for Mutual Cooperation

Photo courtesy of NASA Space Apps Philippines

Vice President Leni Robredo acknowledged the contributions of the NASA Space Apps Challenge in gathering individuals and encouraging them to work together in finding solutions. (Read: Robredo to Launch Apprenticeship Program for Out of School Youth)

“Our ability to gather ourselves, organize, and come together have [sic] opened the doors to technology and progress. We have done great things, cure diseases, find ways to connect with each another across the oceans, and even walked on the Moon… all thanks to mutual cooperation,” the Vice President said.

Michael Lance Domagas, NASA Space Apps Challenge Philippines lead organizer,  says that the event should not only be an avenue for cooperation, but also a way to appreciate science and data in creating solutions for different problems and issues we face today. (Read: Three Instances That Prove Science and Faith Work Hand In Hand)

“NASA and partner agencies from other countries have already recognized the ingenuity of Filipinos for the past three years. Now is the proper time for our own country to recognize their achievements too,” Domagas said.

Previous Winners

Photo from NASA International Space Apps Challenge – Manila

In the previous editions of the NASA Space Apps Challenge, a couple of Filipino-made projects have already bagged the trophy for the best project globally.

These projects are the “Global Impact Detection from Emitted Light, Onset of COVID-19, and Nitrogen Dioxide (G.I.D.E.O.N),” which uses Earth observation, in-country economic and human mobility data, and global infection case count to integrate public policy information that aims to measure the impact of COVID-19; and the ISDApp, an app that helps fishermen plan ahead and optimize their catch through checking weather conditions.

The Space Apps Challenge is a partnership between the NASA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and the European Space Agency (ESA).

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