The Hackathon Copernicus — Bari 2019 was held over the weekend from 11 to 13 October: a 3-day non-stop event in which developers, web interface and mobile app designers, but also young innovators and journalists passionate about data analysis met to create innovative mobile applications, based on Copernicus data and services.

The Copernicus program, funded and coordinated by the European Commission, collects satellite images from different sources, including in-situ sensors, processes them and provides reliable and updated information mostly as Free and OpenDatain six thematic areas: land, sea, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security.

Organized by Planetek Italia, the Copernicus Hackathon-Bari 2019 lasted three days. Over 100 people registered for a full-time study, brainstorming and work having the theme of Water at the center. The Hackathon objectives included the development of mobile application prototypes of Copernicus data and services for commercial use, responding to the needs of private and public users. In addition to learning how to use satellite Open Data and Copernicus services, the participants worked in teams and challenged each other to create innovative solutions and applications, in order to respond to the challenges proposed by some important stakeholders working with the Water every day.

The Hackathon took place in the weekend from Friday 11thto Sunday 13thof October 2019, within the 300sqm space dedicated to events by Impact Hub.

Impact Hub Bari is a large coworking space for social innovator, located in Via Volga inside the district of Fiera del Levante of Bari, easily reachable by public transport. Participants were expected to participate also in pre-event trainings.

Participation to the Copernicus Hackathon-Bari 2019 was free of charge. Meals were provided for the whole duration of the Copernicus Hackathon. The event was intended as a 3-days full immersion in the creation of innovative applications, therefore the overnight stay was allowed inside the Impact Hub to those equipped with sleeping bags and mattresses. Agreements with neighboring hotels are active (overnight costs are borne by the participants). The participants brought their own devices with Wi-Fi capability. The Organizers provided the credentials for accessing internet resources for the duration of the Copernicus Hackathon, and provided the Participants with access to relevant coaching and IT infrastructure (hardware,software, API…) throughout the Hackathon, to faciliate access and use of Copernicus data.


A prize of 2.000 EUR was given to Syli, the winning team selected at the end of the Hackathon. The Syli team also gained access to One Seat in the Copernicus Accelerator: a one-year coaching scheme organized by the European Commission.

In addition, the Organiser and local partners also awarded one Seat in the Consulting program of The Hub Bari for the creation and development of business

Main goals

The main goals of Copernicus Hackathon–Bari 2019 were:

  • Raise awareness of the opportunities offered by Copernicus data and services
  • Train potential users on how to access and use Copernicus data and services
  • Increase the number of users of Copernicus data and services
  • Stimulate the generation of new business ideas based on Copernicus data and services
  • Encourage the creation of start-ups and new business
  • Support the development of a thriving Copernicus downstream eco-system, by favouring cooperation between multiple stakeholders and maximise the socio-economic benefits of Copernicus
  • Foster the interconnection of talents, knowledge and professionalism, through the creation of a large network in which change and development are integrated with new business opportunities, feeding a fertile and impactful entrepreneurial fabric for the entire economy>
  • Celebrate 25 years from the foundation of Planetek Italia, devoted to simplifying the complexity of space

The Theme: Water

Theme of the Hackathon was The Water. As reported by “Water is the new oil”, a recent article of the Huffington Post: “…Fresh water scarcity is a key reason why 3.5 billion people are projected to live in countries that cannot feed themselves by 2025. Earth’s freshwater ecosystems are critically depleted and being used unsustainably, reported the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, for today’s 6.5 billion population much less for the 9 billion we’ll be by 2050. Extreme droughts, floods, melting glaciers and other water cycle-related effects of global warming are why there’ll likely be 150 million global climate refugees within a decade. Diplomats warn that 21st century conflicts will be fought over water as they were for oil inthe 20th.”

The theme of The Water offered numerous ideas for application because it can be addressed as a resource to be preserved from an economic, environmental and social point of view. The Hackathon objectives include the development of mobile application prototypes of Copernicus data and services for commercial use, which respond to the needs of private and public users.


A group of stakeholders selected by the hackaton organizers among public and private users presented their requirements and challenges beforehand. The participants, led by mentors from both the geospatial market and the start-ups ecosystem, proposed and developed disruptive ideas that exploit Copernicus resources to create applications, useful to meet the Hackathon challenges and to build sustainable business models. Participants were encouraged to organize themselves in multidisciplinary teams to present their ideas to a Selection Board, which consisted of authoritative representatives of the digital communication, the aerospace and the industrial Italian market. The main challenges concerned the following areas:

  • Development of an irrigation management tool, which uses Earth Observation techniques from satellite to support farmers in irrigation planning and to suggest when and with how much water to irrigate. See the video.
  • Improvement of the efficiency of port facilities and the tourist experience of passengers, through the integration of earth observations with the port systems to rationalize passenger traffic. See the video.
  • Monitoring the erosion of the beaches, the strandings of Posidonia and the presence of jellyfish in the bathing areas, and supporting the control of water quality to the benefit of beaches and bathing. See the video.
  • Development of an innovative model capable of monitoring the water quality of surface water bodies, such as streams and rivers, to highlight the impacts of wastewater treatment plants, from industrial or zootechnical activities, and from the run-off of agricultural areas, of those livestock and also urban ones. See the video.
  • Improve the processing of aquaculture products by integrating all the information that comes through satellites and other tools, with information such as weather forecasts, sea conditions and other information complementary to these that can be useful for farm management. See the video.
  • Predictive analytics on water and sewage infrastructure monitoring, through artificial intelligence techniques that combine multiple datasources, to enable predictive maintenance of the network
  • Control of plastic pollution and marine litter in coastal areas according to the Apulian regional law referred to European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy
  • Optimization of irrigation following the transfer of waste water to the irrigation network

See the video interviews to the stakeholders launching the challenges in the Challenges page.


The main event started at 13:00 on Friday 11th of October and ended at 19:00 on Sunday 13th of October.

Below is the agenda.

Hackathon Agenda


Impact Hub Bari is a large coworking space for social innovator, located in Via Volga inside the district of Fiera del Levante of Bari.


The organizer Planetek Italia is an Italian SME (Small and Medium Enterprise), established in 1994, which employs 50 menand women, passionate and skilled in Geoinformatics, Space solutions, and Earth science. The company provides solutionsto exploit the value of geospatial data through all phasesof data life cycle from acquisition, storage, management up toanalysis and sharing. Planetek operates in many application areas ranging from environmental and land monitoring toopen-government and smart cities, and including defence and security, as well as scientific missions and planetary exploration.

Partners of Planetek Italia for the organization of Copernicus Hackathon-Bari2019 were The Hub and onData.

The Hub manages Impact Hub and runs the SPRINT 2019 initiative, a great innovation program with over 32 events and 2000 people involved among professionals, startups, students, institutions, innovators, companies and schools, experimenting with open innovation and digital innovation in industrial processes. A dynamic development path aimed at building a virtuous and concrete connection between innovative companies, training and the world of work.

onData is the Italian non-profit organization that promotes transparency, digital skills and investigative journalism.

Training for Data Journalists

Copernicus represents today a new and still under-exploited source of data for fact-checking and investigative journalism in the environmental, social and economic field. For this reason a dedicated training course was dedicated to the communities of Italian data journalist. The training was supported by the Association of Journalists and helped understand the availability of free and open Copernicus data and services, as a truthful, up-to-date and reliable information source.

Andrea Nelson Mauro, data journalist and trainer

Space for women in Space

Web development, applications for satellite image processing, systems for space exploration and the analysis of spatial data, development of relations with space agencies and so on: jobs today covered by women in the Space and innovation market are growing more and more. The project favored the inclusion of minorities and the gender equality. Showers and rooms were available for the refreshment and care of the person with the appropriate privacy, yoga classes accompanied the breakfast time in the morning, to better prepare the body and soul to resume the working activities. The experience of the Impact Hub in organizing coding activities for children and the proximity to the Planetarium, would have allowed even mothers to participate in the hackathon. The Planetarium is a center for scientific entertainment that organizes real live shows, both for adults and children, with astronomy movies and images projected on a full 3D dome. Women were therefore invited to bring children with them, thus giving the opportunity to younger innovators to get closer to the Space and Earth observation.

The video below shows all the women involved directly or indirectly in the organization of the Hackathon Copernicus — Bari 2019:

The Teams and the Selection Board

The participants, organized in multidisciplinary teams, worked non-stop on the design of innovative solutions, in response to the challenges of the Hackathon, for over 48 hours. Some people even slept in sleeping bags without abandoning the ‘challenge field’.

Upon awakening they could stretch their muscles with Yoga sessions organized on the outdoor lawn of the Impact Hub, enjoying the warmth of the sunny autumn mornings in Bari.

Several Keynotes dictated the pace of the Hackathon, with speeches by experts in various technical or application domains, which provided suggestions on how to: build business models, transform ideas into business, access funding and incubation programs, as well as transform geospatial data into knowledge through machine learning algorithms and big data analysis tools.

Plenty of room was given to HERE Technologies, a leading company in digital maps and location services, focused on the concept of location and the potential it has to radically improve the way we do business, the way we get around and the way we live. As main sponsor of the Hackathon Copernicus — Bari 2019, HERE presented its services to support autonomous driving and the Internet of Things and the substantial set of tools for developers to build new applications and incorporate maps, geocoding services, routing, traffic data, positioning and more.

Upon completion of their work, the teams presented their ideas to the Selection Board, which consisted of authoritative representatives of the digital communication, the aerospace and the industrial Italian market:

  • Angela Del Giudice, Innovation Management Engineer, Handy Innovation
  • Anna Sirica, General Director, Politecnico of Bari
  • Annamaria Ferretti, Journalist and Director of @Ilikepuglia
  • Cesare De Palma, President of Mechatronics section of Confindustria Bari
  • Fiorella Coliolo, Astrophysicist, communication and event manager for DTA and Women in Aerospace Europe
  • Giuseppe Acierno, President of DTA — Technological Aerospace Cluster of Apulia
  • Giovanni Sylos Labini, CEO of Planetek Italia and vice-Chairman of EARSC — European Association of Remote Sensing Companies.


The participants to Copernicus Hackathon-Bari 2019 were supported by various mentors who accompanied the activities during the whole 3-days, and who provided diversified skills in the field of geospatial data management, big data analysis, access to opendata and in the development of innovative business initiatives.

See the list of the mentors.


Planetek Italia organized the Copernicus Hackathon–Bari 2019 in cooperation with The Hub and onData and support of the Technological Aerospace Cluster of Apulia, the Italian Copernicus User Forum and Confindustria Bari-BAT. In addition to the free and open data and services from Copernicus, a variety of technological resources were available for the participants to the hackathon:

  • Planetek Italia will offered to the services exposed by its cloud-based platform for earth monitoring Rheticus®
  • Creotech granted access to the CreoDIAS, the platform which provides a cloud-based one-stop shop for all Copernicus satellite data and imagery as well as the Copernicus services information, also giving access to efficient IT cloud resources, sophisticated processing tools and optional external data.
  • NewMap offered access to the Virtual EO Lab, an extremely advanced, user friendly platform allowing to perform a wide range of activities aimed at (but not limited to) EO data processing in different dimensions and models, built mostly upon advanced Hexagon Geospatial M.App Enterprise solution.
  • Sinergise in Slovenia with the Sentinel Hub, a cloud based GIS platform for distribution, management and analysisof satellite data>
  • Hexagon Geospatial, a division of Hexagon, provides Spatial modeling tools with raster, vector and point cloud operators to automatically process and analyze geospatial data, and ultimately deliver usable information.
  • AIRBUS Defence and Space provided satellite imagery, data and services through the registration platform OneAtlas Sandbox. The Sandbox is an open platform to create new innovative services from Airbus satellite Imagery. It contains very large imagery datasets available on download and/or streaming. All the datasets are grouped into dedicated thematic: Environment, Urban, Maritime, Energy, Defense & Security.
    Click here to discover the Airbus Open Innovation initiative.
  • HERE Technologies, a leading company in digital maps and location services, focused on the concept of location and the potential it has to radically improve the way we do business, the way we get around and the way we live, we are shaping the future by redefining what was formerly known as a map. From autonomous driving, to the Internet of Things, HERE Technologies is building the future of location technology through strategic partnerships.

The winning teams

The solutions created by the young participants, coming from all over Italy and Europe, resulting from 48 hours of intense work and evaluated by the Selection Board, had to respond to the need of developing business applications and services based on the open satellite data of the European Copernicus program. The theme was “Water” and the participating teams had the opportunity to respond to the Challenges proposed by important national stakholders such as CIHEAM — Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari, Port Authority of the Southern Adriatic Sea, Italian Bathing Union, AQP — Apulian Aqueduct and AMA — Mediterranean Association of Aquaculture.

See the video of the challenges.

  • The winning team of the Hackathon Copernicus Bari 2019 is SYLI (“Shore you love it”). The winners were awarded € 2,000 and gained access to the Copernicus Accelerator, a one-year coaching scheme organized by the European Commission to help start-ups turn their business case into impactful commercial solutions. Syli will also have access to the Startup Challenge Camp, an initiative of the SPRINT program of The Hub Bari, aimed at selecting and supporting the development of business projects.
  • The Weter team took the second place, gaining access to the Copernicus Accelerator and the Startup Challenge Camp.
  • A special mention went to the APPesc team, made by young students from the Panetti technical institute of Bari, who won the special prize awarded by the Technological Aerospace Cluster of Apulia : a coaching path and opportunities to meet investors, to transform their idea into a successful business initiative.

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