Jakarta Heats Up for International Space Apps Challenge

DailySocial, in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States in Indonesia and with American cultural center @america, are holding International Space Apps Challenge on April 21-22. The Space Apps Challenge is an event for software developers to come up with programs or applications that solve particular challenges and tasks that may help NASA and scientists worldwide in figuring out various global issues. The event is being held globally across more than twenty cities as well as on the International Space Station currently orbiting the planet.

With the International SpaceApps Challenge coming up in just under two weeks, we spoke with Alice Llewellyn from the core organizing team to reveal more about the event, the motivation behind it, and what is expected from having held this competition. We also asked why Jakarta was chosen as one of the host cities when Indonesia has not been known to be a space-oriented nation. The interview is available after the jump.

First of all, please introduce yourself to our readers and what your role is in this event.
My name is Ali Llewellyn, and I am a community advocate for the NASA Open Government Initiative.  I am a member of the core leadership team for the International Space Apps Challenge and will be supporting the local event in Jakarta, Indonesia.

What prompted the Space Apps Challenge and had there been an event like this held by NASA previously?
The international Open Government Partnership was launched last year as a global commitment of nations (including Indonesia) to support civic participation, increase the availability of public information, and harness technology to strengthen governance. As part of the US commitment to the partnership, NASA committed to lead the Space Apps Challenge, promoting innovation through international collaboration. While there have been several similar types of events that NASA has supported, as far as we know this is the first one that has focused exclusively on space and spaceflight data.

What is the expected outcome of this event?
We believe that some of the best solutions come from diverse, international teams who work together to solve problems. The Space Apps team has curated a number of challenges that we believe highlight some of the amazing applications of spaceflight data and the best uses of space experiences to improve life on Earth. We are confident that the event will prove what is possible when we work together – and how valuable spaceflight experience is to our lives.

There is a wide range of challenges being listed on the Space Apps website, will we see real world applications of the solutions that will be worked on during the event?
We certainly hope so! We are already working with the local leads, organizations, and other interested firms in addressing further developments and applications of the solutions.

If someone was interested in tackling the challenges and cannot attend any of the listed venues, will they still be able to participate, and how?
There are multiple ways that people can get involved in the challenge virtually. Anyone can go to the website at https://spaceappschallenge.org/register/ and register to participate and contribute to challenges online.

Is this a one off event or will there be a follow up, especially when it comes to further development of the solutions?
There will definitely be follow up – as for further events, we’ll see what happens!

Why Jakarta?
While not a traditional spacefaring country, the Jakarta site is so interesting because of the Indonesian government’s long-term commitment to science and technology and the US Embassy’s local support for that focus. Jakarta represented a really good fit for the Space Apps Challenge with a venue like @america, a wide range of appropriate partners, and broad government support. We are excited to see the ideas and solutions that come out of the Indonesian technology and entrepreneurship community.

What can participants expect during the two day event?
Participants in the International Space Apps Challenge can expect a lot of work – and a lot of fun! We are coming together to do things, and there are many things to do. There will be lots of spaceflight stories, videos and images to inspire us together and give us perspective. There will be some project ‘pitches’ that describe the key challenges and an opportunity to select teams. There will be connections with other sites to hear updates on the global efforts and multiple opportunities to get input and feedback. The event will end with project presentations for judging and a chance to reflect on what we’ve learned – about the technology, but also about the policy and culture that encourages innovation. (I’m sure there will be a few more surprises too – and we’ll all enjoy them together!)

How will the winners of this event be decided and are there prizes?
There will be local winners for the International Space Apps Challenge decided by local judges. Each site will then send forward their 2 top solutions following the event for global judging by an international panel. We hope to announce the global winners online on May 8, 2012.

 

Surprisingly, or perhaps not really, Jakarta has emerged to be the city with the most interest from developers to participate in this event. The registration was capped at 150 people per location but not only has Jakarta reached that limit but it has gone past it. The organizers are now in the process of requesting to allow for more developers to participate and allowing more participants to be registered. Why it may not be surprising is due to the enthusiasm among Indonesian developers when it comes to events such as this. A recent major developer event, which was held in Bandung, attracted nearly 1000 participants.

 

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