The International Space Apps Challenge is an annual 2-day hackathon with a focus on utilizing publicly available data – sourced from NASA’s Open Data Initiative – in proffering locally and globally relevant solutions to problems relating to life on earth and space exploration. Spearheaded globally by NASA, last year’s Space Apps Challenge had 83 cities participating from 44 countries, building up to 770 solutions.

Hello Lagos, Hello Calabar

This year, for the first time ever, Nigeria will be represented – Lagos and Calabar will be among the participating cities. This will be an opportunity for partakers, and enthusiasts alike, in the Nigerian Space community to collaborate and potentially influence conversations around the future of Space Policy in Africa.

The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Abuja, has pledged support for the events. NASRDA staff are experienced engineers, some of whom worked on multi-million dollar sensors for the NASA Mars Curiosity Rover. They will provide expertise, though-leadership and direction for the event; inspiring teams looking to find innovative space ideas and solutions on the day.

The events will take place as follows:

Lagos (90+ participants expected)

Date: 11th – 14th April, 2014 at iDEA Hub, Lagos – 296 Herbert Macaulay Way, Sabo, Yaba.

Calabar (60+ participants expected)

10th – 12th April, 2014 at iDEA Hub, Calabar – Emporium C, Tinapa Knowledge City, Tinapa, Adiabo.

Both locations will be connected via live video-link to spur participation and collaboration.

The Challenges

NASA has published 40 global challenges for participants to surmount hackathon, ranging from easy to advanced levels, and centering around 5 major themes – Earth Watch, Technology in SpaceHuman SpaceflightRobotics and Asteroids.

The Lagos and Calabar events will embrace the above themes by breaking them into locally relevant issues:

  • Agriculture and Environmental/Weather Information platforms for Farmers
  • Mobile Apps that can Empower the 100M+ mobile users in Nigeria, in innovative ways
  • Teaching Robotics and Space Engineering to Nigerian Kids
  • Getting Better Information about Space Innovation down to the Grassroots and Schools
  • More Challenges will be created around Partner technologies

The Alpha 5 Development Platform

Alpha 5 West Africa is the official host for the Lagos and Calabar events. Alpha 5 is a Rapid Application Development platform that enables developers and newbies alike to create complex database apps 5 to 10 times faster than with popular platforms like Ruby, PHP and Visual Studio. Alpha 5 is the development platform of choice for the Lagos and Calabar hackathon. Prizes will be given for the best apps built on the Alpha 5 platform, for the following challenges:

Technology Partner Challenges


Who can participate?

Participation is not limited to just developers, though they will make up the bulk. Visual Artists, Graphic Designers, Data Visualization experts, Physicists, Engineers, Students, Teachers, and even VCs are all welcome to participate in this hackathon.

Interested participants can start forming teams and picking from any of the local or global challenges they wish to solve. Registration for the event is now open.

TechCabal will be following the event keenly and posting updates as they come. In the meantime, you want checkout the Space Apps Nigeria Facebook page, which will serve as the Community Centre for both the Lagos and Calabar Events. You can also follow the official Twitter account for the event.

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