Join the ‘Cloud Native Geospatial’ Outreach Day and Sprint

On September 8th we will be continuing SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog (STAC) Sprint #6, but we decided to expand its scope to include more of the ‘Cloud Native Geospatial’ ecosystem. The core idea of Cloud Native Geospatial is articulated in this ‘blog series’, with the first post positing the question: ‘what would the geospatial world look like if we built everything from the ground up on the cloud?’. The second post introduced the Cloud Optimized GeoTIFF (COG), and it has since emerged as a default format for anyone doing geospatial on the cloud.

Sign up here!

So the ‘Outreach Day’ will aim to introduce STAC, COG, and other emerging cloud-native geospatial formats and tools to new audiences. Our hope is to make the day accessible even to those who do not have deep geospatial or software development knowledge. We want to welcome new people into our community, as we believe that having all geospatial data in the world on the cloud, with tools that can process it, can help us tackle the largest problems that face us. But the technology won’t have a real impact on our planet unless we enable a diversity of users to learn it, contribute to it, and use it in their work.

The PySTAC Intro Session from STAC Sprint #5

The full agenda will be announced soon, but our plan is to have a number of ‘Introductory Sessions’ that run in various timezones through the whole day of September 8th. These will enable people who want to learn more about Cloud Native Geospatial topics and tools to learn and ask questions in smaller groups. We’ll even have some sessions that introduce the basics of geospatial and remote sensing, so please join us even if everything is new! We’ll have many people who can welcome you and answer your questions. We will also try to organize a ‘virtual job fair’ of some sort since there are many organizations looking to hire people to work in Cloud Native Geospatial.

Starting at 13:30 UTC (in the ‘middle’ of the day globally) We’ll do a couple of hours of ‘core’ sessions that everyone should try to join. And we will aim to record and post these as soon as possible for those who can’t join live. This will include a ‘State of Cloud Native Geospatial’ talk, with brief overviews of STAC & COG, along with a variety of ‘lightning talks’ from various community members. We’ll hear about companies large and small embracing Cloud Native Geospatial, dive into various datasets that are becoming available in the formats, and survey the ecosystem of tools that supports working with them.

After the core sessions, we’ll continue the beginner sessions. If you are interested in presenting a lightning talk or a beginner session please submit your ideas. After the talks, we’ll also hold the kick-off for the ‘Data Sprint’. This sprint runs for a week, and the goal is for everyone to team up and convert as much interesting data as possible to STAC and COG formats, and to do projects that show off the data. There will be a wide variety of tasks that people can do to help out — no matter what skills you come with we’ll be able to find a way for you to help out! And our hope is that people can take what they learn in the beginner sessions and actually apply it during the sprint, since the best way to learn is by actually doing.

An example of data labeling with Groundwork

We’re also going to run a Data Labeling contest as part of the sprint. This should be a great task for those who are new to geospatial, we’ll use Azavea’s Groundwork to provide a nice user interface to trace geospatial imagery, automatically creating geospatial labeled data for Machine Learning applications. The results of everyone’s work during the sprint will be a new STAC + COG dataset that we release to the world on Radiant Earth’s MLHub.

Thanks to all our sponsors!

We’ve had really amazing sponsorship, with Planet and AI for Earth at Microsoft leading the charge, and Arturo also providing substantial support. Digital Earth Africa and the World Bank are first time sponsors and are helping push us to be globally inclusive in our outreach. Maxar, SparkGeo, Element84, Amazon Web Services, Pixel8, CosmiQ Works, TileDB, and Azavea round out our great sponsors. Normally we’d use the sponsorship money to fund travel grants to welcome new people to our community. But with a purely virtual event our plan is to give out a variety of prizes to recognize the work done and help encourage new contributions. We will post the list of prizes soon, but there will be several that are available to groups less represented in STAC+COG today.

A top prize will be the location of your choice tasked in high resolution and available to all as part of Planet’s open STAC data, like the image above.

There will be some nice prizes, including an openly licensed Planet SkySat SkySat 50cm image tasked to the location of your choosing, and $15,000 in Azure credits for top projects focused on sustainability. Anyone who makes a meaningful contribution during the sprint will get a t-shirt (with some limit if we get an unexpected amount of contribution), and there will be at least one top prize of $2500 or above.

If you are interested in attending please sign up at on this Google Form and you’ll receive email updates on all the details on the event. Thanks!

UPDATE: More information on how we are working to welcome new people and prize specifics is available here.




Helping the global development community navigate the Machine Learning and Earth observation marketplace and innovations taking place.

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Chris Holmes

Chris Holmes

Product Architect @ Planet, Board Member @ Open Geospatial Consortium, Technical Fellow @ Radiant.Earth

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