XPRIZE Ocean Initiative’s Big Ocean Button Challenge

Courtesy of XPRIZE, Culver City, California.

Matt Mulrennan, Manager of the XPRIZE Ocean Initiative, announced XPRIZE‘s Big Ocean Button Challenge.

The Big Ocean Button Challenge is the title of this US$100,000 app development competition that can lead to turning ocean data into the products and services that mankind needs.

XPRIZE spurs exponential change, serving as a catalyst for the benefit of humanity.

Mulrennan explains, “The XPRIZE Ocean Initiative started in 2010 with a call to develop, organize and manage 5 XPRIZE competitions by 2020 that will address the grand challenges facing Planet Earth’s most important natural resource.

The XPRIZE Ocean Initiative launched a US$100,000 app development competition to turn ocean data into valuable products and services. Its goal is to create an additional industry in ocean data products and services that will address the critical challenges facing the ocean. Developers and data scientists are challenged to create mobile apps touching ocean acidification, fishing, shipping and trade, exploration, and public safety

But its deadline is March 31st. “I encourage talented and visionary individuals to submit their applications,” said Mulrennan. “They have less than a week to help change the world for the better.”

Semifinalists will submit their apps by August 31st 2017. Finalists will submit second version of apps in Fall 2017. Winners will be announced in late 2017/early 2018.

For more information on the Big Ocean Button Challenge, visit here.

The Problem

A wealth of ocean data has been and is being collected. Many of the datasets are open, yet very few are being used for resource management, business, or conservation. Most businesses, let alone individuals, do not have the time or ability to translate ocean data into actionable information, yet large industries and millions of people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods and well-being.

So long as ocean data remain disconnected from services that people and markets can use, we will be unable to engage the numbers of actors needed to address critical ocean challenges. Data collection is not evenly distributed across the ocean — some regions are in need of data acquisition, a need that could be addressed through the development of demand for data services, which will in turn drive demand for data collection tools. Overall, there is a market failure for meaningful data services, and the time is ripe for market development.

Competition Overview — Developing Mobile Apps to Unlock Ocean Data

What: A competition to develop mobile apps using ocean data sets. A total of US$100,000 in prizes will be awarded for apps in the following categories: Fishing, Shipping and Trade, Ocean Acidification, Public Safety, and Exploration.

Why: Bring app developers to the trove of available ocean data in order to catalyze the growth of a potentially multi-billion-dollar industry in ocean data products.

How: Develop a mobile app that unlocks ocean data for public and/or private benefit, ideally while supporting responsible use and protection of our ocean.

Scope of Competition

The goal of the Big Ocean Button Challenge is to advance development of and investment in ocean data products and services. Many sectors can benefit from solutions for organizing and standardizing ocean data. Some applications that are in need of ocean services include:

* Monitoring and enforcement (of laws, regulations, or protected areas)
* Resource management (biological, mineral, habitat, etc.)
* Education and awareness
* Sustainable seafood and fishing or aquaculture/mariculture activities
* Navigation and shipping
* Recreation
* Public health and ecosystem health
* Safety and security
* Climate, weather, and hazards
* Energy production

Challenge Breakthroughs

* Catalyze development of an economic sector around services utilizing ocean data, thereby generating exponentially more demand for ocean data, and the curation of such data into accessible databases and resources.

* Ensure valuable information about the ocean becomes accessible to millions more people than it is today.

* Bridge gaps among entities and sectors that can make use of ocean data, including the scientific community, the tech community, ocean resource managers and governments, and the private sector.

* Engage new participants and foster new collaborations to move this field forward.

* Accelerate the transition of ocean data collection from a parochial activity performed by only end-users and into a broader information technology paradigm.

* Identify gaps in data and challenges in data accessibility.

* Most broadly, to create a vision of an ideal future ocean data services industry that can catalyze the sustainable economic valuation of our ocean needed to drive toward ensuring healthy oceans.

Mulrennan explains more below:

One of the products that resulted from a previous XPRIZE Ocean Initiative competition is the iSAMIs (Submersible Autonomous Moored Instruments) that was created by Sunburst Sensors by Jim Beck and Mike DeGrandpre. The iSAMI will be used by Ben Lecomte and his crew during The Longest Swim. Part of their scientific mission on The Longest Swim will be to collect data as Lecomte slowly swims his way across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco.

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