Know Your Water: oDam Team’s Success with Space Solutions at the CASSINI Hackathon

 Know Your Water: oDam Team’s Success with Space Solutions at the CASSINI Hackathon

The 6th CASSINI Hackathon, organised by the European Union’s space programme, recently concluded with an outstanding achievement for the Netherlands. Among the impressive participants, the oDam team secured the 2nd place and earned recognition for delivering the best presentation. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of the CASSINI Hackathon, explore the innovative oDam team, learn about their project, and hear from team members about their hackathon experience and plans.

Netherlands Wins at 6th CASSINI Hackathon

The 6th CASSINI Hackathon

The CASSINI Hackathons are renowned events that harness European space technologies to address critical global challenges. The sixth edition of the hackathon engaged participants across Europe, granting access to valuable Copernicus, Galileo, and EGNOS data. This year’s challenges revolved around sustainable infrastructure, food security, and migration forecasting, highlighting the potential of space data in finding solutions to pressing global issues.

Meet the oDam Team: A Diverse Collective Working Towards Water Resource Transparency

oDam team members at the CASSINI Hackathon / Photo by Dave Chapman

The oDam team, short for “open Diplomatic Aquatic Modeling,” is dedicated to addressing hydropolitical tensions worldwide. Led by a diverse group of individuals with varied backgrounds, the team focuses on creating a transparent platform that employs satellite data to provide information about upstream water supplies. In regions where diplomatic communication and water management infrastructure are underdeveloped or strained, oDam facilitates the crucial availability of information and predictive analyses.

oDam project page on TAIKAI

Awad Mohammed Ali, a Sudanese professional with a background in Civil Engineering and hydrology, explains the team’s motivation, stating, “Hydropolitical tensions in the world are experienced in many cases in all continents, impacting local communities. At oDam, we focus on creating a transparent platform that employs satellite data to provide information about upstream water supplies to support downstream water management (for drinking water, food, and hydropower generation).”

oDam Team’s Journey at the Hackathon

The oDam team members, initially strangers before the hackathon, brought diverse backgrounds and skills to the table. Comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise, they embarked on this adventure without a predefined team structure. Lars Cordes, with a background in psychology, and Awad Mohammed Ali, specializing in hydrology and water resources, joined hands with others, such as Fedor, a computer science enthusiast, and Cédric, a geo-data scientist. Their initial discussions didn’t centre around a clear project idea but a shared desire to make a meaningful impact.

Awad Mohammed Ali recalled, “Basically, at the beginning, we had discussions. We didn’t have a clear idea to start with. We just started brainstorming ideas.” Despite the initial uncertainty, the team quickly found common ground and embarked on the journey to develop a solution that could address pressing water resource challenges. As Lars Cordes elaborates, “Our initial discussions didn’t centre around a clear project idea but a shared desire to make a meaningful impact.” 

Their journey from strangers to collaborators exemplified the essence of hackathons, where diverse individuals unite, leveraging their collective expertise to create innovative solutions. This spirit of collaboration drove the oDam team’s impressive success at the CASSINI Hackathon.

Empowering Water Resource Management: oDam’s Innovative Approach with EU Space Technologies

oDam’s innovative approach relies on EU space technologies, particularly Copernicus satellite data and remote sensing products. They offer two primary services: an Annual Water Management Plan and an Early Warning System. These services provide crucial data for local governments, humanitarian aid agencies, and agriculture, enabling them to make informed decisions about water resource management, ultimately contributing to sustainable infrastructure development and food security.

As the team elaborates, “OpenDam helps local governments and communities better manage water resources through EU space technologies. This sustainable water resource management contributes to infrastructure development by ensuring a stable supply of clean drinking water and hydropower, as well as contributing to food security.”

oDam project page on TAIKAI

oDam team members pitching their idea at the 6th CASSINI Hackathon in the Netherlands / Photo by Dave Chapman

Beyond the Hackathon: oDam Team’s Vision for the Future

Looking to the future, the oDam team has ambitious plans. Tom Vos, a team member, mentioned, “I contacted my boss a few days ago about what I did at the hackathon and how it turned out. I’m looking forward to continuing this work.”

Awad Mohammed Ali emphasised, “This is my PhD topic. So this is what I will work on in the coming years.”

Read Awad’s paper ‘Inferring reservoir filling strategies under limited-data-availability conditions using hydrological modelling and Earth observations: the case of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)

Celebrating Success: oDam Team’s Contribution to a Resilient Future

The oDam team’s impressive success at the 6th CASSINI Hackathon demonstrates the power of collaboration and innovation in addressing critical global challenges. With their transparent platform employing EU space technologies, they are poised to significantly impact water resource management, infrastructure development, and food security. As they continue their journey beyond the hackathon, their dedication to creating a more secure and resilient future for communities in need is truly inspiring.

Featured image credit: Dave Chapman

Kacia Rutkoŭskaja

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