Bringing the Ocean to Society
30 Sep 2019
Open Sea Lab II boosting new data product ideas
EurOcean Member VLIZ organised together with EMODnet and imec a second hackathon on open marine data.

From 4 to 6 September 2019, multidisciplinary teams, consisting of a mix of programmers, communication experts, data enthusiasts and entrepreneurs were challenged to create knowledge and value with open marine data, and to develop innovative solutions that address the challenges of the blue society.

70 participants from 19 nations were travelling to Ghent to Open Sea Lab II. The wonderful Zebrastraat venue provided a stimulating backdrop for three days of exploration and innovation. Participants were introduced in the challenges facing society in terms of climate change and limiting natural resources and stressed the role the ocean must play in addressing these. The teams were invited to develop data based solutions in three main challenges: (1) Blue Economy, (2) Blue Society & Ocean literacy, and (3) Marine environment protection & management (including climate change). Marine data were provided by ICESCMEMS and EMODnet.

16 teams were formed and no time was wasted in advancing their ideas. Workshops in ideation and story-telling helped the teams shape their emerging ideas into potential real-life solutions. 30 coaches from EMODnet, ICES, CMEMS, VLIZ and imec, provided round-the-clock support. More workshops in machine learning, data visualization, user testing and presentation skills followed. This all leading into a pitch of their creations to the Open Sea Lab jury panel on day 3 of the hackathon. In addition to the overall prizes, there were additional awards reached out by Greenbridge, OVH and VLIZ.

The overall winner of Open Sea Lab 2019 was team ILVO, with their interactive fish stock assessment tool to allow non-specialists to understand and interpret fisheries data. In second place was team Digital Twin North Sea II with their interactive visualisation tool showing the impacts, over time, of building a windfarm, to support more holistic decision making. Third place went to team Byte Bear for their interactive educational app linking choices humans make in their daily life to the environmental impact of these activities, visualized by a polar bear avatar.

The VLIZ award went to team CODeFISH for their tool to provide near-future decision support for fisheries. The OVH awards went to team CODeFISH, team Finding Demo for their tool to help divers record and report new sightings of invasive species, and team OILBUSTERS for their open, public oil spill detection service. The Greenbridge award, went to team Changing Seas for their educational augmented reality app to help families make responsible choices to protect their marine environment.

Webcasts of the opening and closing sessions of Open Sea Lab II, speakers presentations, team info and a photo gallery can be found on the Open Sea Lab website. Team demos will be made available on GitHub.

Link: www.opensealab.eu