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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Use open government data sources to create compelling, innovative, and comprehensible visualizations that inform individuals and communities about nutrient pollution and inspire them to reduce nutrient levels that cause algal blooms and hypoxia in local watersheds.

Environmental Protection Agency

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $15,000
Type of Challenge: Creative (design & multimedia)
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: Blue Legacy International
Submission Start: 04/07/2015 12:00 PM ET
Submission End: 06/08/2015 11:59 PM ET

This challenge is externally hosted.

You can view the challenge details here: https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933113

Description

Nutrient Pollution, Algal Blooms and Hypoxia More than 100,000 miles of rivers and streams, close to 2.5 million acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds, and more than 800 square miles of bays and estuaries in the U.S. have poor water quality due to nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.  Nutrient pollution – excess nitrogen and phosphorus – in U.S. waterways is caused by a number of factors including natural or anthropogenic origins, industrial and municipal wastewater facilities, diffuse runoff from developed land, and agricultural sources.  Further, environmental and geological processes (including precipitation, climate change, soil, and hydrology) can increase or decrease the delivery rate of nutrients into waterways. Nutrient pollution endangers not only America’s waterways and ecosystems but has significant impact on communities and the individuals that comprise them.  Human health, access to clean drinking water, recreation and tourism industries, real estate values, and local economies are negatively impacted by toxic algal blooms and the low oxygen levels they produce (hypoxia).  While various sectors including government, environmental nonprofits, water utilities and the agriculture community are researching, innovating and, to varying degrees, implementing solutions to reduce excess nutrients in waterways, the voices of citizens and communities, those directly affected, have remained largely absent from the stakeholder table that drives action at the local watershed level. This Challenge is in support of the President’s Climate Data Initiative.   Open Data Large quantities of useful data are being collected and maintained in government and non-government open databases in the United States. One of this Challenge’s main goals is to engage data innovator and visualization communities to leverage these open government data resources to help communities better understand the impacts of algal blooms and hypoxia in their waterways and inspire actions to reduce nutrient levels at the individual, collective, and/or community level.   The Challenge USGS, US EPA, and Blue Legacy International challenge Solvers to design an innovative visualization that both a) informs individuals/communities on one or more threats, causes, consequences of, facts about, or solutions to nutrient pollution, and b) through compelling visualization, drives them to take action.   Example Application of Nutrient Data As just one of many cases, Solvers may consider a recent example of the effect of nutrients on ecosystems and human health: the August 2014 harmful algal bloom (HAB) that was witnessed in Toledo, Ohio, USA. One possible approach for this case would be to develop a data visualization which could serve as a prototype ‘situational awareness dashboard’ related to HABs similar to the Center for Disease Control food-borne illness response system.

Prizes

First Prize
Cash Prize Amount: $10,000
First prize will receive $10,000 plus an opportunity to attend the Nutrient Sensor Challenge Summit on August 12, 2015 to present the winning visualization. The winning visualization will be promoted on USGS, US EPA, and Blue Legacy International websites and will include a substantive blog post by Alexandra Cousteau with reference to visualization on National Geographic Water Currents Blog and Huffington Post Green.

Blue Legacy Award
Cash Prize Amount: $5,000
The Blue Legacy Award will receive $5,000 and the winning visualization will be promoted on USGS, US EPA, and Blue Legacy International websites. A substantive blog post by Alexandra Cousteau with reference to visualization on National Geographic Water Currents Blog and Huffington Post Green.

Rules

Required Data Set:   Visualizations must make use of at least one data set available through the Water Quality Portal:
  • The Water Quality Portal (WQP) is a cooperative service sponsored by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), and the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC). It serves data collected by over 400 state, federal, tribal, and local agencies.
  Additional Data Sets Solvers may, at their discretion, use alternative publically available open data sets (both governmental and non-governmental) and/or open APIs in conjunction with one or more data sets from the Water Quality Portal to reveal insights, trends, and relationships.  Examples can be found in the attachment to this Challenge.   Submission Requirements A range of media will be accepted including interactive web apps, graphic images, motion graphics, video, or combinations thereof.  Note that if you do create an interactive app (JavaScript, Flash, etc.), it must be functional in a normal browser environment (current versions of Chrome, Safari, and Firefox) and you must host it on your own site during the judging phase of the Challenge. In addition, visualizations must not rely on proprietary software packages for display, any software developed that is necessary for the visualization must be included in your submission, including source code. Submissions must also include a text document with: 1) a description of the intended impact of the work (including but not limited to: variable relationships, context and how it relates to the ‘story’), and 2) citations of data sources. See USGS NWIS for an example of how to cite data; use this template as a form for indicating the source of data used. Citing your data sources is an essential step in the scientific process and will be considered as a factor for judging.   Judging Criteria
  • Scientific Excellence – Submissions will be evaluated for scientific credibility of data and use thereof.
  • Innovation and Data Analytics – Submissions will be evaluated for novel combination, integration, and application of data analysis. They must be original works but may use existing open applications.
  • Design – Submissions will be evaluated for visually appealing, creative, and intuitive interface. They should be eye catching while also a clear presentation of the data.
  • Storytelling – Submissions will be evaluated for communicating a persuasive, meaningful, accurate, and engaging message that is relevant across a broad viewership to inform and drive action. If the visualization is watershed, event or variable specific it should have meaning, application, and impact to other communities as well.
  This Challenge requires a data visualization and written description to be submitted. There are two awards for this Challenge:
  • First Place Award – $10,000; An opportunity to attend the Nutrient Sensor Challenge Summit on August 12, 2015 to present the winning visualization; Visualization promoted on USGS, US EPA, and Blue Legacy International websites; Substantive blog post by Alexandra Cousteau with reference to visualization on National Geographic Water Currents Blog and Huffington Post Green
  • People’s Choice Award – $5,000; Visualization promoted on USGS, US EPA, and Blue Legacy International websites; Substantive blog post by Alexandra Cousteau with reference to Visualization on National Geographic Water Currents Blog and Huffington Post Green
  • In Addition, the top 10 visualizations, including the First Place Award and People’s Choice Award winners, will have the opportunity to be promoted on the federal interagency Open Water Data Initiative website
The winner of the First Place Award will be determined by a judging panel convened by the Seekers. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be determined by online voting for the top 9 remaining visualizations as determined by the judging panel (First Place Award winner not eligible for the People’s Choice Award.) By making a submission to this Challenge, you are granting the Seekers permission to make your submission available to the public after the Challenge deadline for the sole purpose of voting for the People’s Choice Award winner. In addition, you are providing consent to the Seekers to publicly disclose your identity if your Proposed Solution is chosen for an award and you choose to accept the award. Please do not attempt to contact judges in any way. Contact with judges may disqualify your submission.

Judging Criteria

Scientific Excellence
Submissions will be evaluated for scientific credibility of data and use thereof.

Innovation and Data Analytics
Submissions will be evaluated for novel combination, integration, and application of data analysis. They must be original works but may use existing open applications.

Design
Submissions will be evaluated for visually appealing, creative, and intuitive interface. They should be eye catching while also a clear presentation of the data.

Storytelling
Submissions will be evaluated for communicating a persuasive, meaningful, accurate, and engaging message that is relevant across a broad viewership to inform and drive action. If the visualization is watershed, event or variable specific it should have meaning, application, and impact to other communities as well.

How To Enter

Participants will submit directly to InnoCentivehttps://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933113 This Challenge requires a data visualizationa and written description to be submitted. Submission Requirements A range of media will be accepted including interactive web apps, graphic images, motion graphics, video, or combinations thereof.  Note that if you do create an interactive app (JavaScript, Flash, etc.), it must be functional in a normal browser environment (current versions of Chrome, Safari, and Firefox) and you must host it on your own site during the judging phase of the Challenge. In addition, visualizations must not rely on proprietary software packages for display, any software developed that is necessary for the visualization must be included in your submission, including source code.   Submissions must also include a text document with: 1) a description of the intended impact of the work (including but not limited to: variable relationships, context and how it relates to the ‘story’), and 2) citations of data sources. See USGS NWIS for an example of how to cite data; use this template as a form for indicating the source of data used. Citing your data sources is an essential step in the scientific process and will be considered as a factor for judging.