Do You Have An Eye For Data Visualization? USGS Needs Your Help.

Most apps are designed for entertainment or to solve an everyday problem, but the technology is capable of more than counting calories or hailing a cab. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is looking for a few good app developers that are interested in tackling some of today’s most perplexing scientific challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss.

We’ve seen the Department of Energy challenge app developers to come up with tools that will help us track and reduce energy consumption, and now the USGS is deploying a similar challenge. Called “App-lifying USGS Earth Science Data” the challenge seeks application developers and data visualization specialists who think they can create new visualizations and applications for those normally-boring scientific datasets.

USGS, mobile apps, app challenge, data visualization

Image via USGS

USGS datasets for the contest consist of a range of earth science data types, including several million biological occurrence records (terrestrial and marine); thousands of metadata records related to research studies, ecosystems, and species; vegetation and land cover data for the United States, including detailed vegetation maps for the National Parks; and taxonomic nomenclature for plants and animals of North America and the world.

Collectively, these datasets are key to a better understanding of many scientific challenges we face globally. Identifying new, innovative ways to represent, apply, and make these data available is a high priority for the USGS, and they need fresh new developers to help make it happen.

There are three prize categories for the “App-lifying USGS Earth Science Data” challenge: Best Overall App, Best Student App, and Popular Choice. Winners will be honored at the USGS The National Map Users Conference/Community for Data Integration Workshop in Denver, Colorado, a unique opportunity to network with scientists, program managers, and application developers from across the nation.

Read the full details and submit your idea here!

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog