2016 Imagine Cup Earth (Intermediate)

2016 Imagine Cup Earth (Intermediate)

Competition year

Active Dates (GMT):
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 00:00 - Wed, 15 Jun 2016 23:59

Online Competition

Imagine Cup Earth is a new contest for students ages 6-18 in which you’ll use computer programming to create a game, simulation, or story inspired by the kinds of earth science that NASA and other researchers do every day. 18 winning students will win prizes totaling $36,000! You can read the official rules here.

Do I need to know coding?

For the Intermediate challenge, you’ll create a web app in the language of your choice such as HTML5/CSS/Javascript, or Python, or anything else. The only requirement is that it run in a web browser. You can either host your project on your own website or use our free-for-students Microsoft Azure cloud hosting service. Your web app will use real earth-science data provided by NASA to explore the role of chlorophyll and algae in our world’s oceans.

What is the deadline to submit my project?

We know that around the world, students have many different school schedules. So we have three global deadlines and you can pick the one that’s right for you! They are:

First Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT December 15, 2015 (First Round Submissions Closed)

Second Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT March 31, 2016

Third Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT June 15, 2016

You can enter any round you want. You can even enter multiple rounds – if you don’t win one round you can make a new project or improve your old one and try again!

What are the prizes?

For the Intermediate challenge, three students will win a prize for each round:

Intermediate Bracket

For the best web app exploring an earth-science topic using actual NASA data.

1st Prize: $3,000

2nd Prize: $2,000

3rd Prize: $1,000

What should my project be about?

Thanks to our partnership with NASA, we have some great inspirational material for you to start with.

Projects for Intermediate Coders

For this skill bracket, you will create a web app that uses real scientific data showing algae levels in Earth’s oceans measured by a satellite detecting Chlorophyll-A in the water. This data is used by scientists to detect unusually large blooms of phytoplankton algae, often caused by excess nitrogen from farm fertilizer runoff, which in turn can deplete an area of water of oxygen and kill the fish living there. But they also use the satellite data showing Chlorophyll-A to measure other things, such as the movement of ocean currents, jets, and plumes. Once you can see something, you can measure it and use it in all kinds of ways.

Here’s the NASA Earthdata article you can start with: Cleaner water from space.

What you do with that data is up to you! Here are some suggestions:

  • Find another data source for average daily temperature at a particular point in an ocean. (Or one for pollution levels, or proximity to agricultural areas, or anything else.) Write code that connects the two data sets and produce a web app that lets the user examine possible relationships. Does temperature affect phytoplankton development? Does it grow more heavily along major cargo shipping lanes? Is there more of it near major cities? You can explore any of these topics by connecting two data sets and coding an interface that lets the user examine and experiment with these connections.
  • Scientists in Sweden are harvesting excess algae growth and turning it into biogas. Create a game where the player identifies large algae blooms and collects the excess algae to preserve fish stocks. Use the scientific data in your gameplay so the player can zoom to real dates and locations where algae blooms happened and attempt to harvest the algae before it kills too many fish.
  • Find a particularly large algae bloom in the data set. Code a web app that tells the story of that bloom – where it happened, what might have caused it. Give the user the ability to explore the story interactively, tracking the growth of the bloom over time or digging into linked online resources that can shed more light on the story.

You can download the data file here.

Read more articles about algae blooms, fish kills, and chlorophyll levels here:

What do I submit?

Your entry will consist of the following:

  • Project Summary: Include a short description of your submission and how it applies to the topic
  • Project URL: This is a link to your actual software project.

If you build a web app and host it online, provide the URL for your web app.

If you build a web app and want to submit it as a .zip file containing everything needed to run it locally in a web browser, please upload the .zip file to a cloud storage service such as Microsoft OneDrive, make the file public, and provide the URL to download the file.

  • Project Video URL: Record a video of no more than 3 minutes showing your project while you explain what you’ve done. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – just use a smartphone or webcam to record the video so you can tell our judges about your project. When you’re done, upload your video to any website or to a cloud storage service such as Microsoft OneDrive, and then provide the URL to view your video.
  • Project Screenshots: Take 3 screenshots of your project in action and upload them to our site.
  • Consent Form: If you're 13 or younger, you'll need to download the Consent Form and have your parent or guardian complete it.

How do I get started?

Register now for Imagine Cup Earth! You’ll need to create a Microsoft Account first if you don’t already have one, and if you’re 13 years old or younger you’ll need your parents’ help. Then sign up for the contest and visit your Dashboard where you’ll find the submission form for your entry.


Competition Rules

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