The Copernicus Hackathon Programme
CloudSigma was a proud sponsor of the Copernicus Hackathon in Sofia, Bulgaria. The event, a part of the Copernicus Hackathon Programme financed by the European Commission took place April 19-21 in the Technical University of Sofia. The Sofia Hackathon was organized by the Office for transfer of aerospace technologies (RST-TTO), Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) and Center for Excellence –Universities for Science, Informatics and Technology in e-Society (CoE-UNITe).
The Copernicus Hackathon Programme brings together developers, entrepreneurs and topic-specific experts to develop new applications based on Copernicus Earth observation (EO) data and services. In summary, the goal is to give people all over Europe the chance to come together and explore application fields here on Earth with free and open space data from Copernicus.
First Copernicus Hackathon in Sofia
The Sofia Hackathon provided a unique opportunity to apply Copernicus Earth observation data to address the communities in the Balkan region. Participants sought to develop innovative products for end-users in four themes related to the Copernicus programme. The themes were: Emergency management, Coastal and Water monitoring, Environmental protection and Precision agriculture. All participants received Copernicus data and cloud infrastructure for data access and project development.
The event proved to be a great success with 50 participants matched- up in 13 teams competing for the first prize. The winning team’s project HAG consisted of a full season remote monitoring service for providing simple solutions for agriculture. The winners snagged a seat at the Copernicus Accelerator, organised by the European Commission.
CloudSigma is thrilled to have played a role in helping Balkan communities through the potential of the Copernicus Earth observation data and services. In fact, CloudSigma is particularly proud to have been a part of a Bulgaria-based Copernicus Hackathon as our Sales and Operations offices are located in Sofia. As a result, we decided to take advantage of our location. We sat down with the Hackathon organizers from RST-TTO, Katya Dimitrova and Evgeny Petrov to learn first-hand about this great initiative. Most importantly, we wanted to know how the cloud helped participants create their great innovations.
1. Can you describe how cloud services enable Earth Observation projects? Why did you decide to take advantage of cloud resources for the Copernicus Hackathon in Sofia?
Katya: Cloud solutions are extremely important for Earth Observation projects as the Copernicus resources contain large amounts of data. For instance, the biggest advantage of cloud platforms when dealing with Big Data resources is the fast access to images they provide. In addition, cloud platforms allow for storing big data volumes in containers, which is crucial when coming up with innovative solutions based on Earth Observation data.
2. How many of the contestants chose to use CloudSigma’s resources and were their expectations met?
Evgeny: Around 20% of the contestants used CloudSigma. All of them were satisfied with the service. We didn’t encounter any complaints. Besides, I am happy to report that all of the winners chose to deploy on CloudSigma! In addition, participants reported that the demo sessions going over your platform prior to the event were extremely valuable for those who haven’t used a cloud service before.
3. Can you share the advantages of CloudSigma’s services compared to the other cloud platforms that supported the event?
Evgeny: Some of the benefits that distinguished CloudSigma include its simple and user-friendly web interface and the flexibility of choosing the specifications of each virtual machine. Last but not least, live-chat support was available 24/7.
4. Can you share some feedback CloudSigma users had shared from their experience with us during the Hackathon?
Evgeny: To tell you the truth, all contestants using CloudSigma during the Hackathon found it easy to navigate the platform. They used CloudSigma’s compute environment to host web applications and process images with SNAP. Besides, none of them had to use any help with that during the competition.
Likewise, communication with the CloudSigma team was very smooth throughout. We want to thank specifically Viktor Grigorov, CloudSigma’s representative during the event. Particularly, he was very helpful during the Sofia-info day. After the Hackathon he was still available online or on the phone.
5. Would you recommend CloudSigma to other events in need of a cloud service?
Katya: After collaborating with CloudSigma for the Sofia Hackathon I can confidently recommend it for similar events. Our partnership was a good first step for working together in the organization of Hackathons and why not within cloud solutions in general.
Evgeny: I will recommend CloudSigma because of its high-speed infrastructure, user-friendly interface and a wide choice of servers and hardware functionalities.
6. Would you use CloudSigma for similar initiatives in the future?
Katya: Yes, definitely. Let’s hope this happens in the near future.
Evgeny: For sure. With CloudSigma’s platform participants of the Copernicus Hackathon could realize their projects faster and smoother.
7. Finally, do you consider that the First Copernicus Hackathon in Sofia was successful? What is next for your team?
Katya: Yes, in brief, the event was very successful. We’re happy to report that more participants signed up than what we initially expected. Hence, we’re hopeful that Copernicus will continue to organize Hackathons and that participants will be as inventive and enthusiastic as this years’. Subsequently, we will continue to promote the exploration of satellite data and its potential societal benefits.
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