Enter Hackathon Sponsored By SANSA And Amazon


During the COVID-19 crisis, it is more critical than ever for governments to be able to identify the locations of informal settlements. Knowing where informal settlements are located will help governments make more appropriate policies and ensure that all people have access to the services they need. Satellite imagery can help do this at scale across the country.

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) collects high-resolution satellite imagery from a number of international earth observation satellites. A machine learning model trained on this imagery would help SANSA to locate informal settlements more efficiently, providing the South African government with up-to-date information about the location and size of informal settlements without the need for physical in-person surveys.

In this hackathon, you’re invited to use SANSA’s high-resolution satellite imagery to develop a machine learning model to identify whether an image of an area in South Africa contains informal settlements or not. All participants will use Amazon AWS virtual machines (VMs) to access the data and do all their work during the hackathon.

Only 300 data scientists will be able to participate in this hackathon. Sign-ups are by invitation only until the hackathon opens on Friday 12 June 2020 12 pm GMT.

After the hackathon opens on 12 June, we will remove the secret code so that anyone may sign up for the remaining spaces, which will be filled on a first-come-first-serve basis.

This hackathon is sponsored by SANSA and Amazon. For more information, click here.


The South African National Space Agency promotes cooperation in space-related activities, fosters research in space science, advances science and engineering through human capital development, and works toward an environment conducive to industrial development in space technologies within the framework of national government policy. The intent is to converge and optimise resources and maximise the benefits of space services and applications to society.

SANSA has six thematic areas, namely Earth Observation, Space Operations, Space Science, Space Engineering, Human Capital Development and Science Advancement. The Earth Observation programme focuses on providing and using satellite imagery for societal benefit, and to support key government planning, decision-making, and outcomes. Data from SANSA Earth Observation is also increasingly finding wide applications in environmental issues such as climate change. You can learn more about SANSA at www.sansa.org.za.

About AWS

For 14 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 175 fully featured services for computing, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 76 Availability Zones (AZs) within 24 geographic regions, with announced plans for nine more Availability Zones and three more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Japan, and Spain. Millions of customers – including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies – trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.


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