Wazihub Soil Moisture Prediction Challenge
Predict soil humidity using sensor data from low-cost DIY Internet of Things in Senegal
$8 000 USD
Ended almost 3 years ago
94 active ยท 845 enrolled

In the face of climate change, the agricultural sector in Africa needs to adapt its practices. Being able to accurately measure and predict soil humidity in their fields will allow farmers to prepare their irrigation schedules optimally and efficiently.

Sensor-based irrigation and machine learning algorithms can provide farmers with a solution to manage water usage more efficiently. However, current machine learning algorithms built on sensor data require a lot of data for proper training. Stable sensor data is difficult to obtain in rural Africa where many problems arise such as accessibility, limited battery power, lack of internet, humidity/heat problem.

The objective of this Zindi competition is to create a machine learning model capable of predicting the humidity for a particular plot in the next few days, using data from the past. A part of the challenge is to design algorithms that are resilient and can be trained with incomplete data (e.g. missing data points) and unclean data (e.g. lot of outliers).

This resulting model will enable farmers to anticipate water needs and prepare their irrigation schedules.

This competition is sponsored by Wazihub and Microsoft.

About Wazihub (www.wazihub.com)

WAZIHUB (in Swahili for Open-Hub) is an innovation project for Africa aiming to create an Open Hub of IoT and Big data cutting-edge and African-grade solutions, co-designed by African people where these solutions can then be adapted to match local service needs.

WAZIHUB brings experience to create a working environment to accelerate services based on collaborative knowledge generation and integration. The project uses a collaborative problem-solving and innovation approach to enable win-win outcomes for both EU and African partners while tackling key societal challenges and problems.

The project aims to iterate and extract value from value-added IoT innovative services based on the technologies developed in WAZIUP (www.waziup.eu) and FiWARE (www.fiware.org). WAZIHUB exploits and shares IoT Technology best-practices through IoT regional ecosystems made up of innovation communities and stakeholders (e.g. entrepreneurs, startups, tech hubs, SMEs)

About Microsoft (www.microsoft.com)

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Microsoft has operated in Africa for more than 25 years. In that time they have built strong partnerships across the continent, helped bridge gaps in infrastructure, connectivity and capability, and are working to empower countries in Africa to digitally transform while creating sustained societal impact. Earlier this year, Microsoft opened Africa’s first hyper-scale data centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. Most recently, the company also announced the opening of two Africa Development Centers in Nairobi and Lagos, where world class African talent can create innovative solutions for local and global impact.


Teams and collaboration

You may participate in this competition as an individual or in a team of up to four people. When creating a team, the team must have a total submission count less than or equal to the maximum allowable submissions as of the formation date. A team will be allowed the maximum number of submissions for the competition, minus the highest number of submissions among team members at team formation. Prizes are transferred only to the individual players or to the team leader.

Multiple accounts per user are not permitted, and neither is collaboration or membership across multiple teams. Individuals and their submissions originating from multiple accounts will be disqualified.

Code must not be shared privately outside of a team. Any code that is shared, must be made available to all competition participants through the platform. (i.e. on the discussion boards).

Datasets and packages

The solution must use publicly-available, open-source packages only. Your models should not use any of the metadata provided.

You may use only the datasets provided for this competition.

The data used in this competition is the sole property of Zindi and the competition host. You may not transmit, duplicate, publish, redistribute or otherwise provide or make available any competition data to any party not participating in the Competition (this includes uploading the data to any public site such as Kaggle or GitHub). You may upload, store and work with the data on any cloud platform such as Google Colab, AWS or similar, as long as 1) the data remains private and 2) doing so does not contravene Zindi’s rules of use.

You must notify Zindi immediately upon learning of any unauthorised transmission of or unauthorised access to the competition data, and work with Zindi to rectify any unauthorised transmission or access.

Your solution must not infringe the rights of any third party and you must be legally entitled to assign ownership of all rights of copyright in and to the winning solution code to Zindi.

Submissions and winning

You may make a maximum of 10 submissions per day. Your highest-scoring solution on the private leaderboard at the end of the competition will be the one by which you are judged.

As the challenge has now closed, the maximum number of submissions per day is 30.

Zindi maintains a public leaderboard and a private leaderboard for each competition. The Public Leaderboard includes approximately 20% of the test dataset. While the competition is open, the Public Leaderboard will rank the submitted solutions by the accuracy score they achieve. Upon close of the competition, the Private Leaderboard, which covers 100% of the test dataset, will be made public and will constitute the final ranking for the competition.

If you are in the top 20 at the time the leaderboard closes, we will email you to request your code. On receipt of email, you will have 48 hours to respond and submit your code following the submission guidelines detailed below. Failure to respond will result in disqualification.

If your solution places 1st, 2nd, or 3rd on the final leaderboard, you will be required to submit your winning solution code to us for verification, and you thereby agree to assign all worldwide rights of copyright in and to such winning solution to Zindi.

If two solutions earn identical scores on the leaderboard, the tiebreaker will be the date and time in which the submission was made (the earlier solution will win).

The winners will be paid via bank transfer, PayPal, or other international money transfer platform. International transfer fees will be deducted from the total prize amount, unless the prize money is under $500, in which case the international transfer fees will be covered by Zindi. In all cases, the winners are responsible for any other fees applied by their own bank or other institution for receiving the prize money. All taxes imposed on prizes are the sole responsibility of the winners.

You acknowledge and agree that Zindi may, without any obligation to do so, remove or disqualify an individual, team, or account if Zindi believes that such individual, team, or account is in violation of these rules. Entry into this competition constitutes your acceptance of these official competition rules.

Please refer to the FAQs and Terms of Use for additional rules that may apply to this competition. We reserve the right to update these rules at any time.


  • If your submitted code does not reproduce your score on the leaderboard, we reserve the right to adjust your rank to the score generated by the code you submitted.
  • If your code does not run you will be dropped from the top 10. Please make sure your code runs before submitting your solution.
  • Always set the seed. Rerunning your model should always place you at the same position on the leaderboard. When running your solution, if randomness shifts you down the leaderboard we reserve the right to adjust your rank to the closest score that your submission reproduces.
  • We expect full documentation. This includes:

- All data used

- Output data and where they are stored

- Explanation of features used

- Your solution must include the original data provided by Zindi and validated external data (no processed data)

- All editing of data must be done in a notebook (i.e. not manually in Excel)

Data standards:

  • Your submitted code must run on the original train, test, and other datasets provided.
  • If external data is allowed it must not exceed 1 GB. External data must be freely and publicly available, including pre-trained models with standard libraries. If external data is allowed, any data used should be shared on the discussion forum.
  • Packages:

- You must use the most recent versions of packages. Custom packages in your submission notebook will not be accepted.

- You may only use tools available to everyone i.e. no paid services or free trials that require a credit card.

Consequences of breaking any rules of the competition or submission guidelines:

  • First offence: No prizes or points for 6 months. If you are caught cheating all individuals involved in cheating will be disqualified from the challenge(s) you were caught in and you will be disqualified from winning any competitions or Zindi points for the next six months.
  • Second offence: Banned from the platform. If you are caught for a second time your Zindi account will be disabled and you will be disqualified from winning any competitions or Zindi points using any other account.

Monitoring of submissions

  • We will review the top 20 solutions of every competition when the competition ends.
  • We reserve the right to request code from any user at any time during a challenge. You will have 24 hours to submit your code following the rules for code review (see above).
  • If you do not submit your code within 24 hours you will be disqualified from winning any competitions or Zindi points for the next six months. If you fall under suspicion again and your code is requested and you fail to submit your code within 24 hours, your Zindi account will be disabled and you will be disqualified from winning any competitions or Zindi points.

Further updates and rulings of note:

  • Multiple accounts per user, collaboration or membership across multiple teams are not allowed.
  • Code may not be shared privately. Any code that is shared, must be made available to all competition participants through the platform.
  • Solutions must use publicly-available, open-source packages only, and all packages must be the most updated versions.
  • Solutions must not infringe the rights of any third party and you must be legally entitled to assign ownership of all rights of copyright in and to the winning solution code to Zindi.
  • You will be disqualified if you do not respond within the timeframe given in the request for code.

We reserve the right to update these rules at any time.


The evaluation metric for this challenge is the Root Mean Squared Error.

Your submission file should look like:

ID                                        Value
<string>                                  <number>
2019-03-25 22:50:00 x Soil humidity 1     39.7
2019-03-25 22:55:00 x Soil humidity 1     37.0
2019-03-25 23:00:00 x Soil humidity 1     35.2

The TOP FIVE winners that are based in Africa will win IoT kits and a gateway (the same hardware used in this experiment) from Wazihub. The TOP THREE winners will also win cash prizes.

Note that the competition is open to anyone based anywhere, but the prizes will be awarded only to participants that are based in Africa and with a verified mailing address in Africa. If one of the top winners is not based in Africa, the leaderboard will remain the same, but the prize will go to the next winner on the leaderboard that is based in Africa.

The retail value of each IoT kit is approximately $500 USD.

1st Prize: $2 000 USD + 1 Gateway + 3 IoT Kits (worth approximately $1 500 USD)

2nd Prize: $1 250 USD + 1 Gateway + 2 IoT Kits (worth approximately $1 00 USD)

3rd Prize: $750 USD + 1 Gateway + 1 IoT Kits (worth approximately $500 USD each)

4th to 5th Prize: 1 Gateway + 1 IoT Kits (worth approximately $500 USD each)

Here are some use cases for an IoT kit: https://youtu.be/sf7SRVEChbY


Competition closes on 20 October 2019

Final submissions must be received by 11:59 PM GMT.

We reserve the right to update the contest timeline if necessary.