Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020

A Hackathon and Ideathon for Sustainable Africa


The IST-Africa 2020 conference, supported by the European Commission (EC) and the African Union Commission (AUC), addresses a series of societal challenges.

The Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 is a contribution to the joint efforts to solve these challenges. The hackathon addresses some of the key topics identified by the IST-Africa conference, such as agriculture, environmental sustainability, collaborative open innovation and ICT-enabled entrepreneurship.

The Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 is one of the satellite INSPIRE hackathons. The hackathon is organised in the frame of the IST Africa 2020 Conference. The hackathon is a collaborative event organised by Plan4all, Club of Ossiach associations, GODAN, FAO, IST-Africa Conference, Makerere University, AfriGEO, RCMRD and EU projects including EO4Agri, STARGATE, RDA Europe 4.0, SIEUSOIL, DEMETER, SmartAgriHubs, NextGEOSS, EUXDAT, PoliVisu and AFarCloud.


The goal of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 is to continue to build and strengthen relationships between several EU projects and African communities that started in 2019 with the Nairobi INSPIRE hackathon. This was one of our most successful hackathons with more than 200 participants representing 26 African countries. The INSPIRE hackathons are not a competition, rather the main focus is building relationships, making rapid developments, and collecting ideas for future research and innovation.


The Kampala INSPIRE hackathon that started in March concluded with online event Wednesday 6th May. Participants representing all teams joined to share their final results and to celebrate their achievements in an awards ceremony. During this 3 hours long event, we learned about the results achieved by 10 teams who have addressed the 10 challenges covering agriculture, food security, desert locust, citizen science, traffic and more. The Kampala INSPIRE hackathon gathered more than 200 registered hackers. Despite the unexpected barriers created by COVID-19, the interest of African agriculture researchers, practitioners and stakeholders at large was prominent.  

The hackers represented 42 countries world wide:  Africa 20 countries (77 % of registrants), Europe 12 countries (12 % of registrants) and 11 other countries (11 % of registrants).

Throughout the whole hackathon, all teams and mentors did an excellent job and the jury had a very difficult task to select top three teams out of the ten.  

In the end, the jury members Suchith Anand (Chief Scientist, GODAN), Lydia Mazzi Keyondo (Head of Department, University of Makerere) and Ian Jarvis (Agriculture and GEOGLAM, GEO) announced the following winners of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon:

  • 1st place: Challenge 4 Desert Locust / Winnie Kamau (Kenya), Maximilien Houel (France), Elias Cherenet (Ethiopia), Terefe Sodango (Ethiopia), Jecinta Wawira Muriithi (Kenya), Reagan Otukene (Uganda), Nyakato Irene (Uganda), Zakayo Kimuge (Kenya), Ambrose Kamya (Uganda) , Lenah Mwangi (Kenya), Ahmed Mahdav (Iran)i, Miderho Christus (Kenya)
  • 2nd place: Challenge 2 SmartAfriHub / Tuula Löytty (Finland), Ssembajwe Ronald (Uganda), Simon Van Kerckhove (Belgium), Samuel Njogo (Kenya),  Antoine Kantiza (Burundi), Akaninyene Obot (Nigeria),  Felix Kimani Kariuki (Kenya), Esther Wanjiku Maina (Kenya), NGUEfACK jovis Arnold (Cameroon), MEZAFACK Karol lavoine.(Cameroon), Fouagwang Yann Wilfried (Cameroon), Jesus Simal-Gandara (Spain)
  • 3rd place: Challenge 6 Climate Change Trends for Africa / Pavel Hajek (Czech Republic), Samuel Ekwacu (Uganda), Jiri Vales (Czech Republic), Karel Jedlicka (Czech Republic)

Congratulations to all the winning teams and many thanks for excellent work to all participants: hackers, mentors, and jury! 

A special thanks to the Kampala INSPIRE hackathon supporting organizations and projects!

The INSPIRE Hackathon is not an event, it’s a process!


  • Contribution to joint effort to build a sustainable Afica
  • Extending networks in Africa and beyond
  • Hands-on work to solve problems of Africa
  • Collaboration with experts – sharing your knowledge and gaining new
  • Testing new technologies
  • Capacity building
  • Self-direct approach
  • Certificate of successful participation in hackathon
  • All project teams can submit their final reports and presentations free of charge to the GODAN gateway https://f1000research.com/gateways/godan/about-this-gateway for wider visibility – all submitted reports  will get unique doi!
  • Potential new partnership for future projects


The hackathon starts on March 2020 by creating hackathon teams addressing pre-defined challenges. The hackathon will run as a fully virtual event and the final phase is on 6th May 2020 between 12 PM and 15 PM CEST where the hackathon results will be presented remotely.


The hackathon consists of the following phases and components:

  • a virtual period: The teams will work virtually led by the team mentors. Membership and participation in this part is open to all.  There will be educational webinars during the virtual hackathon to facilitate the progress/collaboration.
  • a series of webinars covering topics relevant to the challenges, information about the challenges and the INSPIRE hackathon itself
  • on site hackathon (attendance optional) The University of Makerere in Kampala is hosting 2 days hackathon  (4 – 5 May) where the teams can continue the work done in the virtual period.
  • a workshop (attendance optional for team members/participants) which is the closing event of the hackathon where the results of the hackathon will be presented. The workshop will take place in Venue TBD, Kampala. For more details, please visit the IST Africa website
  • final virtual presentations of results 


The Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 is organised using an unconventional approach, tailored to cater for cross-continental collaboration.

The hackathon starts with a set of predefined challenges. Each project has a mentor (see the list of projects and mentors below). The participants of the hackathon can choose to work on any of the predefined projects. In this way, teams will be built to collaborate on the projects.

The mentors will organise the work and are responsible for the communication in the project teams and will act as team leaders.

The projects and their mentors for the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 include:

1Transportation related aspects of Urban Planning - use case of Kampala
Transport industry is a point of concern in the Kampala region due to lack of real time information on traffic flows, traffic police officers fail to redirect traffic in order to avoid traffic jams, and travellers can not plan their journeys in advance in real time to avoid congested routes.
The aim is to ideate a concept on addressing traffic nodes, perform GIS routing and also apply the traffic modeller to test various traffic scenarios at given nodes in Kampala region and the outcomes of this challenge are:
- Analysis of the current state of traffic
- Review and use of tools (traffic modeller + routing)
- Concepts on how to utilize geospatial IT solutions on traffic management
Stephen Kalyesubula
The challenge 2 invites user groups to a dialogue and to explore, experiment and reflect the features and applications of the Digital Innovation Hub. The two entwined challenges of the team 2 are:
Develop tactics on how communities of practices of agriculture and digital technologies could "seek, sense and share" needs, problems and knowledge at SmartAfriHub and deliver value to community members, farmers and society of Uganda. Such agriculture community of practice is for example RUFORUM (www.ruforum.org), and digital community of practice is Plan4all, (www.plan4all.eu)
Explore and test the available SmartAfriHub applications with the help of a mentor. For example one can develop a map of your own with one or several layers. One can also integrate agriculture, Earth Observation or other open data on the map layer.
Jiri Kvapil
3Open Land Use for Africa (OLU4Africa)
The main goal of the challenge is to do research on available data sources, that could be used in defining the land use in Africa, especially in the East Africa region. That could be data about land cover, protected areas, urban areas, topographic geographic databases, transport infrastructure, points of interest, crowdsourced data etc. After the research is done the algorithm on how to define land use type based on the collected data will be created. As a result ideally the land use map of Africa will be created. As an additional extra tasks could be seen integrating the data into open-source solution SensLog (by implementing appropriate SensLogConnector), as well as extracting some important information (for example, about land cover) from satellite imagery.
Dmitrij Kozuch
4Desert Locust
East Africa has been hit by serious outbreaks for example Fall of Army Worm, Desert Locusts. Previously, the UN warned that an imminent second hatch of the desert locusts could threaten the food security of 25 million people across the region. Soffer, East Africa is losing a lot of Billions in controlling their spread,, a lot of farmers have been affected by this wave, revenues and export earnings dropped, governments have spent a lot of money in this struggle. The appearance of the locusts follows a period of extreme weather, including devastating floods, that have further threatened the food supply. The situation, however, remains most serious in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia amid evidence that aerial spraying of pesticides against the swarms has so far had very limited impact. However, there is worry among the locals with fears of the danger the pesticides would impose to human life, animal life as well as soil biodiversity.
As a result, innovative solutions that impose a limited or no danger to plant species, human and animal life as well as that protect soil biodiversity are needed in order to control the spread and breeding of locusts. We invite innovative solutions for early warnings of emergence outbreaks as well as solutions for controlling the breeding and spread of such major out breaks while preserving human, animal and soil life.
Paul Kasoma
5IoT Technologies for Africa
The idea of this challenge is to research on available data sources, used formats and standards, data sets suitable for further processing in the region of Kampala. Suitable data sources can be integrated into open-source solution SensLog by implementing appropriate SensLogConnector.
Michal Kepka
6Climate Change Trends for Africa
This challenge for Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon is to search for trends in climatic data because future climatic conditions can be inspected and potentially forecasted based on temporal trends in climatic data.
Therefore we plan to provide a proof of concept scenario in which a user enters coordinates (i.e. choose a locality), he/she will get information about several climatic variables (e. g. Last spring / First fall frost date, Annual/Seasonal Evapotranspiration and precipitation, Soil temperature, Solar radiation, etc.) and their evolvement in time. The initial visualization can be perceived as a graph, where a trend of such a variable is shown. Moreover we would like to incorporate information about the uncertainty of such a variable in the graph as well, in order to capture the credibility of the used data.
Pavel Hajek
EO4FoodSecurity Challenge will be focused on two topics. First will be focused on analysis, how EO can help in developing countries the problems of food security. Second part will be focused on capacity building. It will be closely related to SmartAfriHub. The partcipant will have chance to test different tools and algorithms. There is prepared number of tools, which will be freely available and also data on the borders between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania around Victoria lake.
Karel Charvat
8Text mining and metadata
The goal of this challange is to discover resources of Open Geospatial Data in Africa. The technology of Crawler will give possibility to search for sources of data on different Web Pages in Africa. There will be also developed user interface, which will support controlling of accessibility of this data and visualisation or catalogisation of such data.
Karel Charvat
9Ethical and legal aspects of open data affecting farmers
Open Data offers a great potential for innovations from which the agricultural sector can benefit decisively due to a wide range of possibilities for further use. However there are many inter-linked issues in the whole data value chain that affect the ability of farmers, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, to access, use and harness the benefits of data and data-driven technologies. There are technical challenges and ethical and legal challenges as well. Of all these challenges, the ethical and legal aspects related to accessing and using data by the farmers and sharing farmers’ data have been less explored. We aim to identify gaps and highlight the often-complex legal issues related to open data in the areas of law(eg.data ownership, data rights) policies, codes of conduct, data protection, intellectual property rights, licensing contracts and personal privacy.
Foteini Zampati
10Interchangeable map compositions in support of collaborative spatial intelligence
This challenge seeks to further develop a proposed standard format for interchangeable map compositions building on the results of several previous hackathons. A map composition standard opens the door to another interesting innovation, namely an application that is to maps what Google Docs is to text documents.
The challenge will work in parallel with evaluating and extending the current draft specification for JSON map compositions as well as build a working prototype of a web based collaborative map builder application. It will be also be possible to share the map compositions with desktop platforms (QGIS) as well as on various social media platforms
Raitis Berzins, Runar Bergheim, Karel Charvat, Dmitrij Kozuch, Jan Vrobel and Irena Koskova


An important component of the INSPIRE hackathon concept is the capacity building activities. It is provided in webinars organized by each of the challenges. In addition to a short introduction to the INSPIRE hackathon concept and the specific challenge, experts are invited to speak about topics covered within the challenge. This way transfer of knowledge (often across disciplines) go side by side with efficient management of the challenge work. The webinars will be announced within a couple of weeks after the hackathon is kicked-off. 


  • March 2020 – start of the hackathon, registration opens
  • 1st April – 9th April – a series of webinars introducing the teams and their progress. There are educational elements in these webinars.
  • On site hackathon at University of Makerere, Kampala, Uganda
  • 1-7 May 2020 – preparing presentations for the workshop in Kampala 
  • 4 May 2020 – deadline for final reports of results
  • 6 May 2020 – remote presentation of the hackathon results 


In order to participate in the hackathon, please REGISTER HERE 

You can join the teams mentioned above at any time between now and May 2020. The registration is open to anyone from anywhere in the world as the hackathon is done virtually. 

In case you will participate at the hackathon workshop within IST-Africa in Kampala (8 May 2020), you need to register for the IST-Africa Conference itself. Please notice that participation in onsite phase and IST-Africa workshop, where the results will be presented, is optional


Participating in the Kampala INSPIRE hackathon is free of charge

Yes, I want to register for Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon!


Plan4all – Plan4all is a non-profit association sustaining and further enhancing the results of multiple research and innovation projects. It aggregates large open datasets related to planning activities in different specialisms areas transport, spatial and city planning, environment and tourism. Plan4all makes sure that open data are easily accessible for reuse, data are maintained and their quality is improved.

The GODAN initiative was announced at the Open Government Partnership Conference in October 2013 following 2012 G8 discussions, where the attending leaders committed to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition – a shared commitment to achieving global food security. 

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide. We believe that everyone can play a part in ending hunger.


Club of Ossiach – The Club of Ossiach is a group of agriculturists, agribusiness managers, agriculture and forestry technologists, environmentalists and agricultural ICT specialists from around the world.



Makerere University – Established in 1922 as a humble technical school, Makerere University is one of the oldest and most prestigious Universities in Africa. In January of that year, the school, which was later renamed Uganda Technical College, opened its doors to 14 day students who began studying Carpentry, Building and Mechanics.
The College soon began offering various other courses in Medical Care, Agriculture , Veterinary Sciences and Teacher Training. It expanded over the years to become a Center for Higher Education in East Africa in 1935. In 1937, the College started developing into an institution of higher education, offering post-school certificate courses.

IST Africa Conference – Hosted by the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Supported by the European Commission and African Union Commission, IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology, IEEE Africa Council and IEEE Uganda Section, IST-Africa Week 2020 (Kampala, Uganda, May) is the fifteenth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research Conferences. IST-Africa Week 2020 will provide a world-class international forum to showcase existing Research, Innovation and ICT4D activities and capacity in Kenya, the rest of Africa and Europe. The Conference Programme combines strategic keynote presentations, a High-Level Roundtable, technical and policy papers, case studies and workshops. It also provides an opportunity to identify potential partners for future research cooperation under Horizon 2020.

The AfriGEO initiative, developed within the GEO framework, will strengthen the link between the current GEO activities with existing capabilities and initiatives in Africa and will provide the necessary framework for countries and organizations to access and leverage on-going bilateral and multilateral EO-based initiatives across Africa, thereby creating synergies and minimizing duplication for the benefit of the entire continent.

The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) was established in 1975 under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU). It is an inter-governmental organization and currently has contracting Member States in the Eastern and Southern Africa Regions. RCMRD vision is to be a premier Centre of Excellence in the provision of Geo-Information services. RCMRD programmes are oriented towards sustainable applications in natural resource management, infrastructure and environmental management utilizing Geo-Information Technologies.

The objective of RDA Europe 4.0 is to become the centrepiece for an EU Open Science Strategy through a consolidated European network of National Nodes, bringing forward an RDA legacy in Europe, providing skilled, voluntary resources from the EU investment to address DSM issues, also through an open cascading grant process.


EO4Agri – The main objective of EO4AGRI is to catalyze the evolution of the European capacity for improving operational agriculture monitoring from local to global levels based on  information derived from Copernicus satellite observation data and through exploitation of associated geospatial and socio-economic information services. EO4AGRI assists the implementation of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with special attention to the CAP2020 reform, to requirements of Paying Agencies, and for the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) processes.

NextGEOSS  The NextGEOSS project will implement a federated data hub for access and exploitation of Earth Observation data, including user-friendly tools for data mining, discovery, access and exploitation. This data hub will be supported by a strong commitment to the engagement of Earth Observation and related communities, with the view of supporting the creation of innovative and business oriented applications. 

EUXDAT – EUXDAT proposes an e-Infrastructure, which addresses agriculture, land monitoring and energy efficiency for a sustainable development, as a way to support planning policies. EUXDAT builds on existing mature components for solving them, by providing an advanced frontend, where users will develop applications on top of an infrastructure based on HPC and Cloud. 

PoliVisu – Policy Development based on Advanced Geospatial Data Analytics and Visualisation. is a Research and Innovation project designed to evolve the traditional public policy making cycle using big data.  The aim is to enhance an open set of digital tools to leverage data to help public sector decision-making become more democratic by (a) experimenting with different policy options through impact visualisation and (b) using the resulting visualisations to engage and harness the collective intelligence of policy stakeholders for collaborative solution development.

DUET is an Innovation project designed to leverage the advanced capabilities of cloud and high-performance computing (HPC) to evolve the traditional public policy making cycle using large open data sources. The aim is to help public sector decision-making become more democratic and effective, both in the short and long term, through the development and use of Digital Twins for policy impact exploration and experimentation in entire cities and regions.


AFarCloud – AFarCloud will provide a distributed platform for autonomous farming, which will allow the integration and cooperation of Cyber Physical Systems in real-time for increased agriculture efficiency, productivity, animal health, food quality and reduced farm labour costs. This platform will be integrated with farm management software and will support monitoring and decision-making, based on big data and real time data mining techniques.

DEMETER’s goal is to lead the digital transformation of Europe’s agri-food sector through the rapid adoption of advanced IoT technologies, data science and smart farming, ensuring its long-term viability and sustainability.The DEMETER project is a large-scale deployment of farmer-centric, interoperable smart farming-IoT (Internet of Things) based platforms, delivered through a series of 20 pilots across 18 countries (15 EU countries). 

STARGATE will identify the vulnerabilities of current farming systems, landscape management, models, methods and practices related to climate change and conduct a thorough requirements’ analysis for the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) on the basis of which it will shape the stakeholder community. Based on the requirements’ analysis STARGATE will develop the data framework and the climate smart decision support tools, that will be used by farmers and policymakers to manage local and regional microclimate more efficiently.

SIEUSOIL will design, implement and test a shared China-EU Web Observatory platform that will provide Open Linked Data to monitor status and threats of soil and assist in decision making for sustainable support of agroecosystem functions, in view of the projected climate change. The Observatory platform will through customizable modules support the wise management of soil at field level and will provide showcase of good practices on soil management both for EU and China. The final target will be to support sustainable management of soil, increase land productivity sustainably, reduce crop yield variability across time and space, and support the policy formulation process. Innovative practices and tools will be tested in SIEUSOIL and their impact will be assessed for improved soil fertility and land suitability.

SmartAgriHubs – Digital Innovation Hubs maintain working relationships with a number of different actors to form a “one-stop-shop where companies —especially SMEs, startups and mid-caps— can get access to technology-testing, financing advice, market intelligence and networking opportunities” as shown in the figure below. One or more Competence Centres inside or outside the region provide the knowledge, technology, infrastructure and facilities that underpin the technological transformation.