Tax Management Associates, Inc.


GIS Solutions Challenge

Develop an open source solution to solve common GIS problems.

Challenge Overview

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) power our world. GIS helps us find the quickest way to a destination, map out property boundaries across a county, and even allows emergency responders to better prepare for natural disasters. GIS is the underbelly of so many functions we rely on, and yet, it still has a long way before being fully optimized, reliable, and efficient for daily tasks, or major problem-solving.

The GIS Solutions Challenge is seeking innovators to build a set of tools which the open source GIS community can use to discover specific, scalable, useful, and reliable business insights.


Why issue a Challenge?

Extremely large organizations using GIS have developed internal systems to increase the accuracy, efficiency, and reliability of their GIS processes when handling large amounts of data. While many large organizations utilise expensive GIS systems, many resource-constrained organizations and individual innovators turn to open source and affordable platforms. Although small organizations have access to open source GIS tools, these technologies do not allow for the analysis of large datasets. Be it a lack of computational power, speed, or accuracy, current open source tools for smaller organizations are lacking. Bringing the open-source and GIS communities together to solve this issue can not only help us at Tax Management Associates derive new business insights in for local governments, but it can help to improve the very systems of direction, safety, and business we all rely on.


The Challenge Breakthrough

The GIS Solutions Challenge asks innovators to develop scalable, efficient, and effective open source tools that generate useful business insights from geospatial data, which can solve three specific GIS problems for large datasets (please see the challenge guidelines for a complete description):

  1. What is the geodesic distance between two features?
    1. E.g., A particular street corner in Detroit is known to be a crime hotspot. How far is this hotspot from the area the police actively patrols? This distance would be measured as a straight line from point to the edge of a polygon.
  2. What is the network distance between two features?
    1. E.g., What is the actual distance police must travel from the edge of their patrol to reach a crime hotspot? This distance would take into account the specific route the police must travel to reach the hotspot.
  3. Is a point inside or outside a polygon?
    1. E.g., Is the crime hotspot within a police patrol area?

Innovators will be provided three sample data sets to solve the above challenge and will be asked in Phase 1 to create and share a proof-of-concept, which can then be used in Phase 2, where innovators will need to develop a fully functional GIS solution that will be tested against a number of technical requirements, such as efficiency, effectiveness, usefulness, innovativeness, and accuracy, among other factors. Competitors can enter Phase 2 even if they did not enter Phase 1. Beyond a cash prize, the winners will have contributed to creating an open-source GIS solution that that can benefit people and organizations globally.


What You Can Do Right Now

  • Click Accept Challenge above to register for the challenge and subscribe to updates
  • Read the full details in the competition guidelines
  • Introduce yourself in the forum
  • Share this challenge with your friends, family, and colleagues!


Updates 12

Challenge Updates

Announcing the Results of the GIS Solutions Challenge

March 1, 2019, 3:24 p.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who has followed the GIS Solutions Challenge, shared it with your friends and participated!

Unfortunately, only one solution was able to successfully run on the testing dataset and it did not meet the benchmarks set by the competition. As such, no innovator is eligible for an award and we are regretfully closing the competition.

While we were unable to accomplish the goal of the GIS Solutions Challenge; we are grateful to this community for their participation and are excited by the potential for crowdsourcing solutions to common GIS problems.

Last Chance -- 1 Hour Remaining

Dec. 20, 2018, 12:59 p.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

This is your FINAL reminder. You have exactly one hour to submit your solution to the GIS Solutions Challenge!

Any last minute questions? Comment directly on this post and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Best of luck!

6 Hour Warning!

Dec. 20, 2018, 7:59 a.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

If you're still completing your submission, you have exactly 6 hours left to complete it!

Here's a Tip:

HeroX recommends innovators plan to submit with at least a 3-hour window of time before the true deadline. Last-minute technical problems and unforeseen roadblocks have been the cause of many headaches. Don't let that be you!

We look forward to seeing your entries!


Nine Day Warning

Dec. 11, 2018, 3:07 p.m. PST by Joeana Lutha Mae Villo

There are only NINE DAYS left to submit your solution for the GIS Solutions Challenge . The early bird definitely gets the worm - so don't put it off! Be sure to have at least 75% of your submission complete a full week before the deadline for maximum flexibility. We'd hate to think you worked hard on a submission, just to miss the deadline by a hair (that's right - no late-night, sad email exceptions - the cut-off is real, folks!)

All that aside, thanks so much to all of you for your interest. Crowdsourcing is nothing without the crowd, and well, that's you. Yeah, you.  

We can't wait to see what the winning solution looks like.

Best of luck to all!

Phase 1 Finalists Announced!

Nov. 8, 2018, 2:56 p.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

Thank you to everyone who submitted to Phase 1 of the GIS Solutions Challenge!

We received six entries in Phase 1 and are thrilled to announce that four of the six entries meet the requirements for a Phase 1 prize! Each of these finalists will receive a $1000 prize to support them in their Phase 2 entry! In addition, $6,000 will be added to the total prize purse for Phase 2.

  • EasyGIS
  • GeoTrue, Open Source Map Routing
  • GeoTrue SQL Queries
  • Clara's ultimate GIS problem solver

Didn't submit to Phase 1 or didn't receive an award for your entry? Not a problem -- you are still able to enter Phase 2!

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