HAM, Beacon & Hacks - NASA's SpaceAppsChallenge

spaceappschallengeThe International Space Apps Challenge, which might be interesting for the freifunk community is taking place on April 21-22, 2012. The event is an opportunity to build, create, and invent new solutions to challenges of global importance. It focuses on topics such as "Software, Open Hardware, Citizen Science and Data Visualization".

An idea is for example an app project proposed by Andreas Hornig and, the app "Ham, Beacon & Hacks". It could be interesting for freifunk enthusiasts, because we could use it to include "freifunk stations" into the DB.

"There are several governmental & public, amateur and private radio transmitters and receivers of all kind all over the world. There are ground stations for space applications like the Deep Space Network, space and terrestrial amateur radio relays and even private ones. Although they are known because of licensing reasons and because of detectable transmission, it's sometimes hard to find a map for all of them. HAM, beacon & hacks is a challenge to create an app for a community driven database of such radio stations, that allows easy submission of new station data and editing of existing ones and vizualisation of the location and further parameters. This makes it possible to filter for stations of a certain frequency band and to identify their propagation sphere or direction. HAM, beacon & hacks will support several things: It will allow to identify gaps in coverage areas and where to set up a possible new station. It will allow to identify bottle necks in bandwith in communication relays It will allow the community to increase collaboration when they see and know their neighbours It will allow student teams to find possible reception points for communication of their high altitude flying (balloons, drones) or orbital reentry vehicles It will also provide a database of stations to be used for coverage optimization algorithm in general and for neighbouring freqency protection in particular (Colomb Ruler, Costas Arrays). The challenge can be a community driven database on a website and can be extended as a hardware project to dectect stations and measure their properties. It can also be extended for WIFI meshes with OLSR or B.A.T.M.A.N and other usefull wireless communication links." (

For interested developers there are coding events all over the world on that day. Developers in Germany could meet up during the SpaceApps Challenge event in the hackspace Stuttgart (Date: 9am Saturday, 21st April to 4pm Sunday 22nd April 2012; U4/U9 “Im Degen”, Ulmer Straße 255, Stuttgart Wangen / across from Kulturhaus Arena;

The initiative for the app challenge goes back to no-one else than President Obama. So, let's see what will come out of it!

"On September 20, 2011, President Obama, together with other heads of state, endorsed the principles of the Open Government Partnership – a new multilateral initiative to promote transparency, participation and collaboration between governments and citizens. Since then, 52 countries have joined the global partnership. NASA is working with other organizations around the world on the International Space Apps Challenge as part of the United States’ domestic commitments to the Open Government Partnership." (

[via Andreas Hornig]

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