Rocket City (Huntsville, AL)

February 25-26, 2017


Grand prize winners Michael Carroll, Michael Graham, and Time Coddington from team Search and TextYou.

First runner up, team EXP Emergency Services: Matt Brooks, Dustin Poisson, Jason Thomas, Danielle Hart, and Michelle Munguia.

We’ve seen first-hand the deadly results of floods. The challenge is knowing where and when exactly the floods will take place and staying in front of the impending natural disaster. With no controlling mother nature, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and City of Huntsville are sponsoring the opportunity for anyone to come make a real difference. Once the flooding does take place, it is imperative that all departments, from public safety, transportation & FEMA, have enough resources on hand and the right information to act in real-time.

We are looking for multifunctional solutions – that is, solutions that solve more than one problem at a time. The solutions will bring together multiple stakeholders and will most likely be a mix of technology, business, behavioral change and design thinking.

Here are some ideas for the challenge:

  1. Identify at risk populations; i.e. number of homes, schools, emergency response centers and industrial hazards dynamically as reporting indicates risk or threat.

  2. Develop an application that has the capability to automate location information and the status of the user/family/Emergency Responder during the flood event with a hyper-local focus, potentially to include:
    • an option of picture capability
    • backend export capability to a standard format, shapefile or KML.

  3. Push Community Collaboration. Develop a capability that could push an alert/application download announcement based on proximity and identified risk.

  4. Push Leadership Involvement. Develop a capability that autonomously pushes the number of potential people in need of evacuation and can represent those numbers geospatially in near-real-time.

  5. Georectify social media, UAV or satellite imagery on a standard map interface (google maps, carto, open street etc).
Emergency Response
Disaster Relief
First Responders


  • Chad Tillman

    Chad Tillman

    Director Emergency Services and Training, Madison, Alabama
  • Wubishet Tadesse

    Wubishet Tadesse, Ph.D.

    Professor, Alabama A&M University
  • Rob Robertson

    Rob Robertson

    Director, Emergency Management Agency, Tuscaloosa County, AL
  • Brian Cameron

    Brian Cameron

    Office of Disaster Response, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
  • Ray Bauer

    Ray Bauer

    National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Innovation Lead


Grand Prize: $3000
1st Runner Up: $1000

Rules & Information

  • A max of 5 people per team will be enforced.
  • All participants must be in the building during the event. No remote hacking will be permitted.
  • All code must be fresh.
  • Participants must provide their own laptops, and mobile/tablet devices for use during the event.
  • Seats are limited to 100 workstations.
  • Come on your own or create a team. We also want to encourage collaboration among attendees so if you find a team or person with a valuable asset to support your idea/concept, feel free to team up when you arrive.
  • External hard drives are permitted for the hacking event itself. If you want a power strip bring it!
  • As much as we appreciate people’s interest, no one will be allowed inside the event other than participants, sponsor representatives, subject matter experts and invited media. No spectators please!

Judging Criteria

Projects will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Impact: How impactful will this solution be for it’s target audience? Is it scalable?
  • Creativity: How original is this solution?
  • Design: How well designed is this solution, from front end through to UI/UX?
  • Execution: How well executed is this solution from start to finish?

Tools, Data, and IP Rights

Participants are allowed to use the open source tools provided by NGA’s GitHub site ( in addition to other commercially known open source tools. If you do not yet have a GitHub account you can sign up upon registration. Participants are also encouraged to use their own proprietary solutions to develop creative and efficient products. If you are representing a company, your company’s proprietary software assets are also allowed to be used with the appropriate permission within your organization. Please reference the Terms and Conditions data to confirm that all IP rights remain with the participant and/or the organization they are representing.

All participants must agree to the terms and conditions


Schedule subject to change.

Saturday February 25th

  • 9:00 AM Doors Open, Breakfast Served
  • 10:00 AM Opening Ceremony
  • 10:30 AM Hacking Begins
  • 11:00 AM Lunch
  • 1:30 PM Technology Breakout Sessions
  • 6:00 PM Dinner Served
  • 8:00 PM Pitch Workshop
  • 11:30 PM Midnight Snack
  • 12:00 AM – 8:00 AM Hack through the night!

Sunday February 26th

  • 8:00 AM Breakfast
  • 11:00 AM Lunch
  • 2:00 PM Code Freeze/Hacking Ends!
  • 3:00 PM Live Demos Begin!

Upon completion, will have a casual social to cap the event and allow people to socialize about their ideas.

Sunday Afternoon Presentations

  • Each participant and/or participant team will present their product or solution to the group on Sunday afternoon.
  • Presentations will be 2 minutes long with 1 min of questions from judges. Representatives from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and others will be the primary audience for the presentations.
  • No formal presentation is required. Demos of your product or solution will follow this general outline: introduce yourself/teammate, introduce your concept, identify what tools you used, explain (loosely) how you derived your solution and what problem you are solving.
  • Presentations require direct connect from your laptop to the projection system. USB sticks are permitted for presentation purposes.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will have subject matter experts on hand for the entirety of the event to answer content related questions and to give context to the datasets as needed.

Sponsors will be marketing this event heavily. Don’t be surprised if a news crew shows up along the way.


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