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Copernicus Hackathon Sofia


The event's main goal is to promote the potential of the Copernicus Earth observation data and services, addressing the communities in the Balkan region. It will provide an unique opportunity to bring together developers, entrepreneurs and topic-specific experts in order to develop new added value products.

Together with other participants in teams of 3 to 5 people, you will get an access to Copernicus data, DIAS cloud service platforms, support from mentors, a GitLab repository with useful tools and the possibility to join two preparatory training sessions and compete for set of attractive prizes.

Frequently Asked Questions


Bulgaria's first hackathon on the European Earth Observation Program - Copernicus.


Technical University of Sofia, Sofia. The hall will be disclosed on a later date.


19th - 21st of April, 2019

Who're the organisators?

The RISK-SPACE-TRANSFER Aerospace Technology Transfer Office (RST-TTO) is the main organiser of the event, and the co-organiser is the Center for Excellence "Universities for Science, Informatics and Technologies in e-Society (UNITe)".

Is there an entry fee?

No, it's completely free! All you need to do is register on this website on time.

What are the requirements?

All participants need to be 18 or older and need to be residents of one of the Copernicus participating countries (EU Member States + Norway and Iceland). You need to use at least one Copernicus product/service. The participants will be formed into teams of 3-5 people.

What skills are needed in a team?

Software development, including computer programmers, graphic and interface designers, GIS and EO experts, project managers and thematic experts (agriculture, energy, forestry, oil & gas, etc).

What's the first prize?

One seat in the Copernicus Accelerator (a one-year coaching scheme organised by the European Commision).

Is there any training beforehand?

Prior to and during the event, business and technical trainings are provided in the form of online and seminar lectures. The participants will be provided with data and cloud infrastructure for data access and project development.

What technical resources will be provided?

Cloud services will be provided by: CREODIAS - one of the four official Copernicus service providers. Each team will be given a virtual machine with the following specifications:

  • 4vCPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 64 GB Disk
  • Internet and EO Data access
  • SNAP
  • Geoserver, Mapserver
  • OpenLayers, Leaflet
  • PostgreSQL
  • and others
Data access to:
  • Sentinel-1,2,3,5P
  • Landsat-5,7,8
  • Envisat
CloudSigma - a cloud provider for Earth Observation Exploitation Platform Hackathon 2018, organized by OGC and ESA. Detailed information about the VM specification will be provided soon.
    Data access to:
    • Sentinel-1

Registration is closed

Info days

The Info days will promote the Hackathon and will provide information about the topics of the Hackathon and Copernicus data, access, CREODIAS platform, etc.


6th April 10:00
(Institute for space research and technology, BAS),
str. "Akad. Georgi Bonchev" bl. 1

Veliko Tarnovo

10th April 11:00-12:00, hall 703
auditorium "John Atanasov" 102

Building 3, University of Veliko Turnovo St. Cyril and St. Methodius,
str. "Arh.Georgi Kozarov" 3
To be determined


Additional materials


What's in it for me?

The winner gets:

Additional prizes provided by local partners and sponsors:

  • Visit to the Earth Observation Center of the European Space Agency
  • Visit an European Conference on Earth Observation
  • An adventurous experience in Bulgaria

Special prizes:

  • 6 months membership (for companies only) in European Association of Remote Sensing Companies, provided by EARSC
  • One year GEO Premium subscription provided by GEO University - access to all of GEO University's courses in the domains of GIS and Earth Observation
  • Office space (for a start-up company) for 3 months in the mini-incubator of the "GIS-TransferCenter" foundation, provided by the GIS - Transfer Center Foundation

Themes and challenges

These themes are meant to guide you in the general direction of usage, however we value creativity more than anything, so if you have an idea that doesn't fit the theme, go ahead!

Emergency management

Organization and management of the resources and responsibilities for dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies (preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery).


Аssessing damages from flooded areas

Assessment of the direct and/or the indirect damages caused by floods.

Assessing damages and burn severity of burnt areas

It is important to determine the burn severity of a wildfire as many post-fire assessment and management decisions will be based on this information. Burn severity also effects wildlife habitat, changes in the soil, erosion potential and many components of aquatic environments.

Landslide mapping

Landslides are natural hazards with significant worldwide impact. They typically result from extreme natural events, such as heavy rains, earthquakes, combined with conditioning factors that are often related to human activities, such as deforestation and intensive land exploitation for agricultural purposes.

Environmental protection

Its objectives are to conserve natural resources and the existing natural environment and, where is possible, to repair damages and reverse trends.


Forest felling and deforestation

In Bulgaria, a certain percentage of the forest is allowed to be cut, based on the forest's age. Typically for young forests under 50 years, it's 10-15%, for forests up to 100 years it's 20-25%, and for forests older than 100 years, it can be 50-60%. This kind of felling is allowed to be done every 8-12 years. Finding the forest felling percentage can be used to see if the respective felling was in the legal limits.

Recultivation of mining areas

The rejected minerals and rocks liberated through mining and processing have the potential to damage the environment by releasing toxic metals (arsenic and mercury being two major culprits), by acid drainage (usually by microbial action on sulfide ores), or by damaging aquatic wildlife that rely on clear water (vs suspensions). Recultivated land is the disturbed land, the productivity and economic value of which is restored and its environmental conditions are improved.

Marine and coastal monitoring

The monitoring of the biophysical parameters of water is essential for assessing the status of ecosystems, identifying potential pollutants and taking preventive measures.


Oil spill mapping

Finding and addressing oil spills as soon as possible can reduce the economic and environmental impacts caused by it. During the threat of an oil spill, responders also need to know where that spilled oil will go in order to protect shorelines with containment boom, stage cleanup equipment, or close areas for fishing and boating.

Ship tracking

Ships use transponders to send their location to the respective authorities and other ships. However, not all ships want to be found. Tracking ships can be proved as useful for finding illegal fishing boats, refugees, etc.

Coastal urbanisation

Bulgarian coastal tourism has been booming the last 20 years. This has caused extensive construction of hotels and infrastructure on the Bulgarian coast. Making a time series of this construction might give an insight of just how fast it develops.

Precision agriculture

A farming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops. The goal of precision agriculture research is to define a decision support system for whole farm management with the goal of optimizing returns on inputs while preserving resources.


Soil moisture

Soil moisture data can be used for a number of applications, such as: reservoir management, crop yield forecasting, early warning of droughts and irrigation scheduling. It's also used in studies of global climate change as the the exchange of water and heat energy between land and atmosphere plays an important role in the climate.

Other challenges:

Mapping urbanisation changes in Sofia

Would you like to see how Sofia changed from 1980's to now? We sure do!

Open challenge

Your own idea on how to use Copernicus EO data to develop an added value product!

Ask us a question

    Choose who you'd like to contact:

  • Organisator


  • Hristo Lukarski

    Image processing & Data analysis, IDL, C++

  • Kamen Popov

    GIS & Earth Observation

  • Adelina Aleksieva

    Software development

  • Antonia Tasheva

    Software development, Mobile and Web programming

  • Kamen Iliev

    Business management, technology transfer

  • Nikolay Naydenov

    GIS, cartography and urbanism

  • Georgi Jelev

    Earth observation

  • Philip Petrov

    Secure programming, DB design and management


19th April, 17:00Opening

Official opening, introduction and teaming upProgramme

20th AprilDay 1


09:00 am
Registration of participants and teaming-up
09:45 am
Welcoming and introduction. Copernicus Services
10:30 am
Technical Workshop - Cloud platforms, Data Access Information Services (DIAS) set-up and support
12:00 pm
13:00 pm
16:00 pm
Mentor sessions (early results, problems)
17:00 pm
19:00 pm
20:00 - 00:00

21st AprilDay 2


00:00 am
08:00 am
09:00 am
10:00 am
Pitch training and final mentor session
12:00 pm
13:00 pm
Hacking and presentation preparation
14:00 pm
Presenting the results
17:00 pm
Choosing winners
17:30 - 18:00


The hackathon will be held at the Technical University of Sofia, block 10.

Under the patronage of

Organised by

Co-organised by

Main partners