Challenge Overview

The Call for Code Global Initiative is a rallying cry to developers to use their skills and mastery of the latest technologies to drive positive and long-lasting change across the world with their code. For 2018, the subject is natural disaster preparedness and relief.

IBM, a Founding Partner of Call for Code, has partnered with Topcoder to help drive new solutions as a part of this global hackathon initiative. In the present standalone hackathon hosted at Topcoder platform your goal is to build a useful application, or other software solution, that may help humanity to better prepare for natural disasters, or better serve those affected by them. In addition to the prizes proposed for this Topcoder challenge, upon submission, all participants will receive a link to submit their solutions to the global Call for Code where they will be eligible to win more prizes. This means you can win twice and you can win big!.

For this challenge, we override some of the standard Topcoder rules. Most importantly, working in teams is allowed for this challenge. Lastly, competitors will keep all rights for the solutions they build. See details further below.

IBM Watson AI for Disaster Management

Data Analytics promises new and focussed ways to mitigate risks by identifying and linking information and simulating best case scenarios for Survivors and Responders.

Few use cases where AI & Data Analytics can be useful include:

  • Details about past utility and environmental vulnerabilities will help agencies carve out a better disaster management strategy. This coupled with information on population subsets- elderly people, children etc. would help identify responders areas that need specific mobility support

  • Call details stemming from previous disaster locations will help responders identify how population moves during emergency situations like flood.

  • Maps are a starting point for disaster management. By combining map data with thermal images and real time images, responders can better assess safety concerns within the disaster site

  • AI Systems and Voice assistants for distress calls can analyze massive amounts of calls and prioritize the calls based on speech recognition, filter redundant/trivial calls and suggest next best actions to team

  • AI powered chatbot that reads user messages(text,image,video) over social media and mines it to understand the emergency. It also captures vital information like location while suggesting users what they should do. E.g. - Direction to nearest rescue center, First aid tips, routes to avoid etc.

Prize Structure

There are 4 unique challenges that are part of this Topcoder hackathon. Each challenge carries its own separate prizes. This portion of the Topcoder hackathon is focused on creating great solutions with the use of IBM Watson.

The first 20 passing submissions in this challenge will receive $100

One (1) submission, after the 20th submission, will be chosen at random and the winner will receive $50

First Prize - $5,000

Second Prize - $3,000

Third Prize - $1,000

4th Prize - $200


This is an open-ended challenge, you can create any application / software solution that uses IBM Cloud Services (i.e. utilizing IBM Cloud Services is a hard requirement), and fits into the hackathon and current challenge theme. It is recommended to read the IBM Watson for Disaster Management Section and the Challenge Scope section at Call for Code page to understand the Call for Code objective, Problem Statement, rules of hackathon and agreement.Also see the Call for Code page at IBM DeveloperWorks resource for ideas how IBM Cloud products can be leveraged to address the subject of this hackathon.
Your are encouraged to use NGO data sets in your project. You may start (but not limit yourself) with:

You can use the below code patterns(not limited to this) to kick start your solutions or build your code upon IBM services

Along with the actual solution you build, your submission should contain presentation materials (documentation and video) that explains how your solution fits into the hackathon subject, demonstrate and explains its use, etc.


When creating, honing, and submitting your solutions, keep these important questions in mind and please read through the scoring rubric below:

  • How complete is your solution? Can it achieve an impact in the field?

  • Does your solution address a real need? Does it achieve its goal effectively and efficiently?

  • How good is the user experience, design, and ease of use of the solution?

  • How unique and creative is your approach to solving the problem?

The following rubric will be applied to fairly judge and rank the passing submissions:

  1. Presentation

    1. Overall quality of presentation (1 - 5)

    2. How well solution fits into the natural disaster preparedness and relief subject (1 - 5)

    3. How innovative is the proposed solution (1 - 5)

    4. Practical value of the proposed solution, i.e. would it be helpful in real life scenario, if developed further (thus giving discount to the fact that, probably, not all features could be fully implemented during the TC hackathon) (1 - 5)

    5. Is it technically feasible to implement missing features of the proposed solution (1 - 5)

  2. Technical Implementation

    1. Overall usability of submitted solution (1 - 5)

    2. Design and User experience (1 - 5)

    3. Code / architecture quality of the submission (with focus on, whether it looks possible to further develop submitted code up to necessary complexity / scale, or will it be necessary to completely rewrite / re-architect it to get to the usable product) (1 - 5)

    4. Quality of technical documentation supplied with the solution (1 - 5)


Unlike in a regular Topcoder challenge, teaming is allowed in this hackathon, with very limited restrictions. At the same time, Topcoder will not control or manage the teaming in any way. We assume that any team will select a captain who will take care to submit the final submission from his Topcoder account. Topcoder will not be responsible for any team dynamics: formation, regulation, or prize split. All tax liabilities and prize split logistics are the responsibility of the team captain.

However, teams will be subject to the requirements of Call for Code (ie: limit 5 team members and you must be 18 years or older to be part of a team) for submission into that competition. Read more here: and in the Participation Agreement.

Intellectual Property

Participants own the rights to the Submission they create during the Contest, subject to any license terms of the underlying Technology used in the Submission. Your team may create a prototype using data and/or API’s or other copyrightable material owned by third parties. This could mean that you or a teammate use Technology owned or licensed by a third party. "Technology" means, without limitation, content (including pictorial, audio and audio-visual content), code, specifications, technical information, algorithms, images, design, art, music, graphics, SFX, data, and any other information or materials protected by any intellectual property right. You and your team must abide by the terms of any licenses associated with any third-party Technology used as part of your Submission, including any payment terms or other license terms that could apply for continued use of the Technology. By participating in the Hackathon, you will receive access to certain proprietary software, APIs, and/or other copyrighted materials, including pictorial, audio, video and/or audio-visual content (“Material”) owned by the Sponsor or its affiliates, partners or licensors. You must comply with all license terms associated with such Sponsor Material, including any payment terms or other license terms that could apply for continued use of the Technology. Your team will be disqualified if the Sponsors have any reason to believe that your team has violated the terms of this paragraph. You should consult with appropriate advisors or legal counsel if you have any doubt as to whether you are meeting the requirements of this paragraph. Your team may bring to the Hackathon any pre-developed or licensed Technology that you plan to use in connection with your prototype, provided that such Technology meets the requirements of this paragraph.

As a condition of entry, you grant Sponsor and Partner a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to use, publicly perform, publicly display, or publish any Submission in whole or in part that is submitted to this Event, for any purpose, including the purposes of allowing the Sponsor and Partner to test and evaluate the entry for purposes of this Event, to administer the technical and other requirements of the Event, including distribution of the entry to the Sponsor and Partner, and for Prize award, verification and fulfillment.

Final Submission Guidelines

Submit the source code of your solution, along with any necessary presentation materials and documentation.

Please note: After you submit your solution, you will receive a link to the global Call for Code. You are required to submit your solutions there in order to be eligible for more prizes


Final Review:

Community Review Board


User Sign-Off


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