Cloud

NASA wants developers to harvest its climate data to make a cool app

A view of the Earth from space showing North and South America

NASA hosts a ton of earth-science data on Amazon Web Services — and the space agency wants you to figure out what to do with it.

NASA today announced a contest for brainstorming then building apps or algorithms that “promote climate resilience” using the agency’s vast trove of earth science data, which ranges from land surface images and vegetation condition data to climate observations and projections.

It’s actually broken down into two separate challenges. First up is the ideation stage, which runs from July 1 through August 1. NASA promises awards up to $10,000 for promising ideas that suggest “novel uses” of its data sets. Then there’s the builder stage, which runs from August through November 15. That’s when NASA expects to see some earth-conscious apps and algorithms take shape — and it’s willing to shell out larger $30,000 to $50,000 rewards for impressive entires.

Interested developers should hop on the Open NASA Earth Exchange, which taps Amazon’s cloud for storage and computing resources.

“Amazon Web Services brings to the table the business model that allows this data to reach a much wider community beyond NASA investigators,” NASA public affairs specialist Steve Cole told VentureBeat.