Throughout history, contests and challenges have changed the world. Some examples of inventions resulting from contests include the portable clock used to calculate longitude, the steam tractor, the process of canning food, and the development of margarine. Challenges have also spurred technical and engineering innovation including the first solo non-stop flight from New York to Paris, the development of artificial intelligence, the first private aircraft in space, the advancement of nanotechnology and much more.
President Obama’s recent Executive Order on Climate Preparedness directs Federal agencies to prepare for the impacts of climate change and help American communities strengthen resilience to extreme weather. To build on progress already made, the Obama Administration recently launched the Climate Data Initiative, which makes the Federal Government’s extensive scientific data freely accessible to the public through the online Climate.Data.gov portal. President Obama has encouraged private-sector entrepreneurs to develop useful tools that support national climate change preparedness and empower America’s communities by leveraging this extensive data resource.
To support President Obama and help communities become more resilient to climate change, Esri created the ‘Climate Resilience App Challenge 2014’. Software developers are called to create a game-changing app using the openly available government data and Esri apps, maps, services, and APIs that fits the theme of using technology to create map tools that help communities see, understand, and prepare for climate risks. Winners will receive cash prizes and software.
By using Esri’s ArcGIS platform to significantly extend the capabilities of the best available science and the highest quality information made freely accessible by a wide range of government agencies and commercial sources, apps can reduce risks associated with climate change.
Apps will generally fall into one of three categories:
- Inform. These apps will help citizens better understand the current reality of climate change and explore how climate change has already impacted their community. These apps are most often designed to help residents easily understand and visualize existing scientific data. Some app developers in this category will develop data collection tools that allow community members use their smart-phones to collect information and contribute to broader initiatives related to climate change such as wildfire detection, sea level rise, storm surges, vegetation health, and more.
- Prepare. These apps will help citizens to predict and ultimately manage the impact of climate change over time and typically require analyzing several datasets or running scientific models. For example, visualizing sea level rise over multiple years, understand the impact of changing weather patterns, tools to manage public safety issues such as drought, wildfires and hurricanes, and more.
- Act. These apps will help make communities more resilient to climate change by providing realistic and effective solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. By drawing together the wide array of information needed to make balanced decisions, this category of apps can provide a platform for promoting transparency, consensus and actionable, well-informed decisions.
The President’ Climate Action Plan includes a considerable area of focus that is affected by or affects climate change. When deciding on your app, consider that the President’s Climate Action Plan identifies these specific priority areas:
- Clean Energy Sources
- Cutting Energy Waste
- Modernizing the Electric Grid
- Clean Energy Permitting
- Promote Resilience in the Health Sector
- Improve Transportation Infrastructure
- Protect Homes and Businesses
d. Natural Resources Management
- Preserve the Role of Forests
- Restore Forests, Grasslands and Wetlands
- Conserve Land Resources
- Maintain Agricultural Sustainability
- Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
- Reduce Wildfire Risks
- Sustainable Forest Management
e. Pollution and Emissions
- Curbing Hydrofluorocarbons Emissions
- Reduce Methane Emissions
- Carbon Pollution Reductions
- Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
f. Water Management
- Manage Drought
- Coastal Zone Management
- Prepare for Future Floods
- Conserve Water Resources
- Prepare for Sea-Level Rise
Esri continues to try to make a difference in the world and we know you do too. That’s why we’re challenging you to get creative for this important initiative!