NGA sponsoring competitive hackathon series

NGAThe National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is sponsoring a series of competitive hackathons across the country to engage with developers and industry on tough problems with the potential winnings in cash and prizes provided by industry partners and the lead facilitator, Blue Compass LLC from Vienna, VA, Blue Compass announced September 2.

The goal of this competition is to build relationships with creative developers and to expose programs NGA is making available to the public such as the Innovative GEOINT Application Platform Provider (iGAPP) in which NGA and mission partners help monetize app developers that support government and civilian missions and operations, whose missions range from the leading edge of battles to people amidst disaster recovery.

Industry’s involvement plays a big role in exposing NGA, academia and commercial ventures to a variety of platforms, methodologies and common problem sets to collaborate on. The hackathon environment is by nature a creative and free space to listen, learn and act on first hand accounts of challenges, innovations, plus the added bonus of meeting and recruiting highly sought after talent. It is really a win-win scenario for all involved. Industry partners sponsor events with prizes, platforms and software in kind to use and exhibit during the events. These interactions play key roles in understanding how real developers utilize and think about software capabilities and how they launch something new from it. And its all seen live.

Sponsors such as, OGSystems, a presenting sponsor for 3 hackathons make these creative interactions possible by providing services for tech talks, mentorship, meals for participants working through the night, inspiration and context to geospatial challenges. And by mentoring the panel of judges to provide context and understanding of the integration viability at scale of projects presented, CEO Omar Balkissoon, was able to assist directly spotting several key projects in the August hackathon in Sunnyvale, CA.

This is a direct result of the task to create “coherence from chaos” that NGA Director Robert Cardillo issued at this year’s GEOINT Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

“We must have tools and techniques to allow us to quickly make sense of big data then visualize and disseminate that clarity to our customers,” said Cardillo. “We don’t just need pixels. Offer us subscriptions that will provide us alerts, observations and insights that we’ll meld with our own to drive deeper analysis of all that incoming data and lead to more meaningful conclusions.”

Project Manager Brian Vinci of Blue Compass LLC stated “The event experience breaks clients and sponsors out of their shells and engages them with those who develop out of a love for software creation – tapping into that passion is inspirational and integrating all the parties together is really something you have to be apart of to fully appreciate.”  To make that happen “We work directly for months with local groups, industry and academia in the area surrounding the hackathon to build the community, goodwill and foster participation and create experiences for all involved.”

Upcoming hackathons will occur in Chicago on Sept 10 & 11th and then New York City in November to coincide with the Geography 2050 Summit to wrap up 2016. Then hackathons are scheduled for Huntsville, AL, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, Seattle, San Antonio, San Francisco, Washington D.C. & New York in 2017.

Source: Blue Compass