SANSA AWS Informal Settlements in South Africa by #ZindiWeekendz
$1,000 USD
Use high resolution satellite imagery from urban South Africa to identify the locations of informal settlements
184 data scientists enrolled, 77 on the leaderboard
GovernmentComputer VisionSatelliteSDG1
South Africa
12 June 2020—14 June 2020
60 hours

During the COVID-19 crisis, it is more critical than ever for governments to be able to identify the locations of informal settlements. Knowing where informal settlements are located will help governments make more appropriate policies and ensure that all people have access to the services they need. Satellite imagery can help do this at scale across the country.

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) collects high-resolution satellite imagery from a number of international earth observation satellites. A machine learning model trained on this imagery would help SANSA to locate informal settlements more efficiently, providing the South African government with up-to-date information about the location and size of informal settlements.

In this hackathon, you’re invited to use SANSA’s high-resolution satellite imagery to develop a machine learning model to identify whether an image of an area in South Africa contains informal settlements or not. All participants will use Amazon AWS virtual machines (VMs) to access the data and do all their work during the hackathon.

Only 300 data scientists will be able to participate in this hackathon.

The hackathon opens on Friday 12 June 2020 12:00 GMT.

We have removed the secret code so anyone may sign up now and throughout the weekend. Spaces will be filled on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Everyone who registers for this hackathon will receive an email with a unique code and instructions to access their assigned virtual machine on AWS for the weekend. If you have not received this code by 12 June 12:00PM GMT, please email us at

This hackathon is sponsored by SANSA and Amazon.

About #ZindiWeekendz

The Zindi community is joining the fight against COVID-19! #ZindiWeekendz are virtual weekend hackathons hosted by Zindi. This series focuses specifically on COVID-19.

In a time of lockdowns, remote work, and general uncertainty, #ZindiWeekendz hackathons offer data scientists the opportunity to continue to develop their skills while contributing to practical, open-source AI solutions to help in the battle against COVID-19.

All winning solutions will be shared as a public good on GitHub. We are committed to supporting partners to implement these solutions and encourage anyone who is interested to reach out to us at

About SANSA (

The South African National Space Agency promotes cooperation in space-related activities, fosters research in space science, advances science and engineering through human capital development, and works toward an environment conducive to industrial development in space technologies within the framework of national government policy. The intent is to converge and optimise resources and maximise the benefits of space services and applications to society.

SANSA has six thematic areas, namely Earth Observation, Space Operations, Space Science, Space Engineering, Human Capital Development and Science Advancement. The Earth Observation programme focuses on providing and using satellite imagery for societal benefit, and to support key government planning, decision-making, and outcomes. Data from SANSA Earth Observation is also increasingly finding wide applications in environmental issues such as climate change. You can learn more about SANSA at

About AWS (

For 14 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 175 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 76 Availability Zones (AZs) within 24 geographic regions, with announced plans for nine more Availability Zones and three more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Japan, and Spain. Millions of customers - including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies - trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit