What is a datathon/hackathon?

A hackathon or a datathon is an idea/invention marathon or an innovation accelerator. It is not so much about hacking as it is about coming up with innovative solutions to a specific challenge or topic, in this case the environmental threat. Participants compete in teams of 2-5 and develop ideas or a technological solutions from scratch. The final product can be anything from an idea, website, app or a device. Let the imagination run free! 

The Datathon for the environment focuses on solutions relating to environmental issues that we are facing in this day and age, and participants are asked to use public data to “hack” the issue. Participants will compete in teams developing a solution that fits all of the requirements in one of three categories.

Where and when?

The datathon will take place both online and at the University of Iceland between the 12th of August and the 19th of August. The Top 5 teams in each category will be announced on the 21st of August. The 24th of August the teams will pitch their ideas for the panel of judges and an award ceremony will be held the 26th of August.

Who can participate?

The Datathon is open to anyone. You should participate if you have an interest in creating or developing innovative solutions, an interest in environmental solutions or just a genuine curiosity about the Datathon.

Do I need to know how to code to participate?

No. Participants are not required to have any background or experience in coding. We do however advise that teams competing in the categories “Improved Solution” and “Best Data Project” have at least one team member with some experience of coding as it is a requirement in both categories to present the judges with code. 

As there is no requirement for a background in tech we encourage people of any educational background or career to compete in the Datathon. The Datathon’s main objective is to come up with innovative solutions for the environment by utilizing public data. A large part of the process is about creative thinking, designing and planning the application and implementation of the project. The Datathon is therefore the perfect platform for people with different backgrounds and skillsets to come together and create. A diverse team leads to diverse and creative solutions.

The participants and the winners of the Datathon own all rights to their own ideas. The organizers of the Datathon will not claim any rights to ideas or solutions developed during the Datathon. We therefore also ask participants to take care not to pitch copyrighted material.

How do I participate?

To participate you need to: 

  1. Sign up through the Datathon website by clicking the “Sign up here!” button. This applies to both individuals and teams and it is important that all members of a team have already signed up as individuals. It will be possible to make changes to the team after the Datathon begins. 
  2. Make an account on the Datathons DevPost website. It is important to do so as quickly as possible and not leave it to last minute as the teams will turn in their final product through the site. DevPost is also a great platform for communicating with other participants, finding teammates and viewing other projects. 
  3. Log on to the Datathon’s Slack workspace. Slack will be the platform where most of the communication between participants, mentors and organizers will take place. 
  4. Form a team.
  5. Attend the Datathon on the 12th of August either online or at the University of Iceland and start hacking!
  6. Turn in the final solution through DevPost on the 19th of August before noon.

Can I participate in the Datathon alone or do I have to be in a team?

It is not possible to compete individually in the Datathon for the environment. All participants must be members of a team of 2-5 people. Participants can form their own teams beforehand, but are also able to do so online through the Datathon’s online platforms. In addition the Datathons organizers will host team building events, where participants can connect with each other and form teams. 

How do I become part of a team?

If participants have formed teams prior to the start of the Datathon, that’s great! It is however important to remember that all teammates have to sign up individually through the Datathon website. Participants who have not formed teams can do so through the Datathon’s online platforms and will also be able to attend a teambuilding event where they can meet other solo participants and form teams. 

Can I use a pre-developed idea?

Participants can use previously developed ideas. However the code and final product must be developed during the Datathon whilst also meeting the requirements for their chosen category. Most importantly the final product has to be derived from at least one of the public data sets available on the Datathon’s website, as well as being a solution to an environmental issue.

Does it cost to participate?

No, it doesn’t cost anything to participate in the Datathon. It’s completely free!

Am I allowed to participate in more than one of the Datathon's categories?

Participants can only participate in one of the three categories.

How do I use Slack?

To learn more about using Slack please refer to the Datathon’s Participant Guide-Book.

Does my solution have to be in Icelandic?

No, participants are allowed to turn in their solution in either Icelandic or English. The Datathon’s website is also accessible in both Icelandic and English.

What are open data sets?

The open data sets that are available on the Datathon’s website are public data from collaborating government bodies. The data available all relate to environmental issues.

Which data sets am I allowed to use?

Participants are obliged to use at least one of the open data sets made available on the Datathon website, but are free to use additional data. If in doubt about the validity of a data set, please contact the organizers on Slack.

Do the venues have wheelchair accessibility?

All of the Datathon’s events are wheelchair accessible.