Climate Resilience Data Challenge

With growing climate risk, it is evermore necessary to grow innovative capacity for resilience and adaptation. Using open climate data, imagine the possibilities of new applications that could fuel climate resilience efforts for communities and ecosystems as well as empower people to make smart decisions for the future. NASA and USGS invite you to take a step toward resilience by imagining solutions to our planet’s complex climate risks. ¬†

Project Background

Climate change has impacts on a global scale that are felt in our local communities. Whether it is coastal flooding that threatens lives and property, increased disruptions to agriculture, or ocean acidification hurting ecosystems, the risks have an impact on virtually every facet of our daily lives. Historically, agencies like National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) and United States Geological Survey (USGS) have focused on developing world-class science data to support scientific research. With the rapid growth in the innovation community and the advent of big data, there are opportunities to encourage the wider community to apply novel thought and methods to unlock the potential of the data to address critical climate vulnerabilities.

The National Climate Assessment produced by more than 300 experts across government and academia has already identified the current and future climate vulnerabilities. We need tools that utilize big data to help our local communities improve climate resilience, save our ecosystems, and prepare for climate change. We have climate data that is free and accessible, but much of it is not available through web services.

That’s where you come in.

This ideation challenge is designed to understand what data infrastructure you need and how you would use that infrastructure to create impactful products. What would you do if you didn’t need to download code or data from NASA or USGS, but simply invoked functions over the web instead?  What kind of applications would that unlock? Which data sources would you use?

Recognizing the diversity of data across the United States Government and across the globe, the challenge is organized into three categories based on utilization of data sources:

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† NASA. NASA‚Äôs Earth Science Division created the Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS), a platform that provides end-to-end capabilities for managing NASA‚Äôs Earth science data from various sources ‚Äď satellites, aircraft, field measurements, and various other programs. With nearly 7,000 unique datasets and nearly 2 million users, EOSDIS distributed over 1 billion data products last year supporting scientific efforts around the world. Entries in this category may incorporate other federal datasets, but should include at least one NASA data source.

·       Federal data. The federal government creates and maintains many datasets and tools that can be used to assess the impacts of climate change. To continue momentum under the Climate Data Initiative, the Obama Administration is issuing a call for the public to leverage open government data resources to build tools assessing the impacts of climate change on the ecosystem services provided by our nation’s public lands.  Federal agencies like the USGS produce long standing datasets such as National Integrated Drought Information System, LANDFIRE, National Hydrography, National Land Cover, Land Carbon, Ecosystems maps, Biodiversity data, and several species datasets that are relevant to addressing global climate challenges.

·       Open. Climate is a global affair and the collective resources of scientists and engineers everywhere can be drawn upon.  Data will be provided from nonprofits, U.S. State organizations, private sector, and universities.

Your ideas can shape the development of systems and services to make innovation easier for climate resilience.

Atomized Project Plan

So what’s coming up, and how do I register? Simply select any of the contest names below to find out more about each specific contest, and register to participate.

Project Delivery Date:

Challenge Start End Challenge Type
Idea Generation – All Federal Data Sources 12/15/2014 01/18/2015 Idea Generation
Idea generation – OPEN/ALL Global Data Sources 12/15/2014 01/18/2015 Idea Generation
Idea Generation – EOSDIS/NASA Data Sources 12/15/2014 01/18/2015 Idea Generation
Climate Resilience Data Harmful Algae App Design Concepts 01/27/2015 02/23/2015 Widget or Mobile Screen Design
Climate Resilience Data Permafrost App Design Concepts 01/27/2015 02/23/2015 Widget or Mobile Screen Design
Climate Resilience Data Tawa App Design Concepts 01/27/2015 02/23/2015 Widget or Mobile Screen Design
Climate Resilience Data Tawa iOS App UI Assembly 1 02/28/2015 03/16/2015 Assembly Competition
Climate Resilience Data Permafrost iOS App UI Assembly 1 03/03/2015 03/19/2015 Assembly Competition
Climate Resilience Data Tawa iOS App UI Assembly 2 03/17/2015 04/02/2015 Assembly Competition
Climate Resilience Data Permafrost iOS App UI Assembly 2 03/20/2015 04/05/2015 Assembly Competition

*Phase 2 (Graphic Design) and Phase 3 (Prototyping) will proceed immediately after the winning ideas are announced.

In Partnership With

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is partnering with NASA in order to provide access to relevant federal climate data, reach additional stakeholders, and support innovative application development in the community.


  • For a crash course on climate change impacts, the National Climate Assessment provides a comprehensive overview of the current and future impacts of climate change on the United States.

  • The users will be many, the needs are specific. App ideas should focus on the regional vulnerabilities of climate change as identified in the National Climate Assessment (Highlights and the in-depth Detail).

Data Sources have been compiled from NASA and USGS data sources as well as from across the federal government.


Project Personnel

Kevin Murphy

Program Executive for Earth Science Data Systems, NASA

Michael Goodman

Deputy Manager, Science Research Office, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Curt Tilmes

Climate Data Initiative Technical Lead, NASA

Ana Pinheiro Privette

Climate Data Initiative Project Manager, NASA

Jeff Chen

Presidential Innovation Fellow, NASA

Karl Becker

CoECI Business and Innovation Architect, NASA

Mike Frame

Chief, Scientific Data Integration & Visualization, USGS

Julie Recker

Information Technology Specialist, USGS