Results of the Challenge 2: SmartAfriHub

Plan4All association together with 18 cooperating international institutions organized INSPIRE Hackathon in Kampala, along with ten different challenges to answer problems regarding agriculture in Africa.  As part of an extensive effort by European Union to create the Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) network, one of the hackathon challenges was dedicated to the evolution of SmartAfriHub that is a Digital Innovation Hub addressed on African needs. The challenge 2 aim was to build a social space, create tools for management and usage of geospatial data to enhance smart agriculture, and to increase cooperation and communication between EU and Africa.

Challenge 2 approached the problem with two different phases, firstly phase number one was to identify the problem and organize a group to tackle identified problems. After phase one, the team was decided to move into phase two, which directed the teamwork towards creation of multi-layered maps utilized in agriculture, with tools provided by other challenges participating in Inspire Hackathon.

Let’s see the results of this successful Challenge 2 – the second winning challenge of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon!

Phase one 

Challenge 2 had initially 73 people from 11 countries, mainly from Africa, sign up to the challenge, with many people having expertise and understanding in smart agriculture and already mentioned geospatial information. Most of the members were part of different institutions with extensive knowledge of agriculture. First phase purpose was to build community and facilitate participants communication under different platforms e.g. SmartAfriHub, Google Drive and WhatsApp, and to identify the pain points and problems in African agriculture.  After organizing and setting up communication channels, the group proceeded to their data collection plan. The lack of open, free data was identified as the most critical bottleneck to move forward. The group decided to limit data collection into four subject matters, economic, – farms, – weather, – and agronomic layers.  Four different teams from four African countries were set up to collect data relevant to their subject matter. Though due to covid-19 restrictions, collecting data turned out to be more difficult than anticipated, but eventually the group managed to acquire usable data sets.

Phase two

After the group set out to utilize collected data to create multi-layered maps by using a mobile application that was developed by another challenge of the hackathon. Idea was to turn collected data into multiple web-based maps, out of one dataset. Even though information was readily available from multiple datasets, the group decided to randomly select one dataset due time constraints, which turned out to be wheat. Eventually multiple different maps were created, regarding things such as crop distribution and cultivation of wheat.


The group of challenge 2 developed both the technical and social environment around SmartAfriHub. The platform functionalities and assets were improved to provide more diverse services, application and tools to the end-users. Creating new content and sharing it were important actions in raising awareness of the SmartAfriHub community and above all it was an essential part of the social learning of community members.

Capacity building of group members by using “Do It Yourself” – method was deliberate strategy.  The group gathered a massive amount of agriculture data and launched the phase to create their own composite maps on Africa.

The challenge 2 brought together smart agriculture experts and practitioners around Africa and beyond. They communicated and exchanged information, they learned and cooperated.  The journey of challenge 2 and the Inspire Hackathon Kampala were the first chapter in this story.  The cooperation will continue in future.

Results of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020

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!

We are looking forward to see you in the next INSPIRE hackathon!

Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon – Invitation to the Results & Awards Ceremony

The Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon is coming to an end! Join us on Wednesday 6th May at 12 PM CEST and see the final presentation of the hackathon results. The jury including Suchith Anand (GODAN), Lydia Mazzi Keyondo (University of Makerere) and Ian Jarvis (GEO) will announce the winning teams of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon.


For the final event please register HERE!

Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon in Numbers

Inspire Hackathon Kampala in Uganda has gathered a total of 200 registered hackers. Despite the unexpected barriers that COVID-19 formed, the interest of African agriculture researchers, practitioners and stakeholders was prominent.

The hackers represent 38 countries world wide:  Africa continent 77 %, Europe 12 % and other countries 11 %.

The hackers’ expertise falls into the smart agriculture domain. It encompasses data collection, data analysing and decision support systems.  The GIS – GeoSpatial Information – has a centric role. The community is interested in developing soil health, agri- and food systems, mitigating climate change and to secure food supply.  The goal of sustainability in the means of economics, society and environment is embedded on the hackers DNA.

The hackers’ employers, research institutions, academias, companies and other governmental and policy public bodies contribute smart agricultural research, development and innovation action in order to foster digital transformation in Africa.

The on-going change requires efforts on the capacity building on IT literacy,  investments on emerging technologies that support Agriculture 4.0 strategy, and digital data that is known, open and achievable.

The multi-actor approach is needed when the ambition level for improvement is high:  there is a need to increase production yield, improve soil health, biodiversity, and to provide adequate income for farmers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s still not too late to become a participant in Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon! Check the guidelines below and do not hesitate to register!

Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 Updates

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 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 (, and digital community of practice is Plan4all, (
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( 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 
  • 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 Hackathon!

RCMRD as a co-organizer of Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon

The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) is an intergovernmental organization that seeks to promote sustainable development through generation, application and dissemination of Geo-Information and allied Information to its 20 member states and stakeholders.
RCMRD works with its partners to promote the co-development, application and uptake of satellite derived products. This is achieved by making tools, applications and data and information more readily available through different initiatives. Some of the freely available tools are listed below.

RCMRD GeoportalOpen Data Portal

The geoportal and open data portal are repositories for datasets, maps and freely available satellite imagery. The open data portal also provides links to RCMRD application portals by thematic area, hazard maps and atlases and additional functionality to interact with a diverse set of datasets.



The RCMRD Early Warning Explorer

The RCMRD Early Warning eXplorer (EWX) is a web-based application for exploration of geospatial data related to drought monitoring and famine early warning, customized for application in the African countries. It includes datasets such as rainfall at 5km, maximum temperature, rainfall forecasts and NDVI. The EWX enables scientists, analysts, and policymakers to view diverse data sets side-by-side in the same spatial bounding box, while also stepping through sequences of multiple time-series data sets. The EWX also allows users to view different statistics for user-selected regions by administrative zone, crop zone, hydrologic zones, grazing areas, or country.


The Global Agricultural Monitoring System

Coverage: Global with regional customizations

RCMRD through SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa Project has been partnering with the University of Maryland have been building capacity in agricultural monitoring using tools such as the GLAM. The GLAM system is a customized web-based information-analysis and data-delivery system that allows users to monitor crop conditions and to locate and track the factors impairing agricultural productivity. This system provides crop analysts with a suite of MODIS temporal composites of vegetation index data, false color imagery, and a dynamic crop mask. Complementing these data products is a range of web-based analysis tools that allow analysts to interrogate these data and to drill down to the pixel level of detail. Using these data and tools analysts track the evolution of the growing season, make inter-annual comparisons of season dynamics and inform decision makers of agricultural conditions and impediments to worldwide food-security.


CODE-DE Datacube service supports Dubrovnik and Kampala INSPIRE hackathons

Datacubes form an enabling paradigm for serving massive spatio-temporal Earth data in an analysis-ready way by combining individual files into single, homogenized objects for easy access, extraction, analysis, and fusion – “one cube says more than a million images”. Goal is to allow users to “ask any question, any time, on any size” thereby enabling them to “build their own product on the go”, to cite some common terms.

With the OGC Web Coverage Service (WCS) suite a set of easy-to-handle, flexible, powerful service APIs is in common use today. In the hackathon you have the opportunity to access spatio-temporal datacubes for extraction, visualization, analytics, and fusion of data.
Just find your Jupyter datacube notebook on the CODE-DE Sentinel hub, it offers a convenient quick step-by-step introduction.

CODE-DE, the German Sentinel Hub, can offer following data coverage:


Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020: Covid-19 Update

Dear Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 participants,

Taking into account the coronavirus outbreak that has created an unpredictable and unprecedented situation for everyone, we are considering making Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 fully virtual to minimize the need of any travel. This could mean the cancellation of in-situ part of the hackathon at Makerere University in Kampala and the final presentation of results during IST Africa conference. 

Nevertheless, we don’t want to deprive you of this unique opportunity of cooperating with African and European experts and therefore we have no plans to cancel the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 itself – the hackathon continues to run remotely until May 2020 and after that, there would be a final online workshop/webinar, where the results of the hackathon would be presented.

You can also look forward to certificates attesting to your participation in the Kampala Hackathon, which will be sent via email in case of cancellation of in-situ part.  

This information about cancellation of in-situ part of hackathon is not final and we are going to keep you up-to-date in next days with respect to the situation –  so let’s stay tuned and keep on hacking!

If you are interested in Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 and haven’t been registered yet, do not hesitate to register here.