VA National Cemetery Administration


Veterans Online Memorial Challenge

Submit your idea to make the Veterans Online Memorial more engaging and meaningful for users


The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) National Cemetery Administration (NCA) seeks to create an interactive digital experience that enables virtual memorialization of the millions of people interred at VA national cemeteries. This online memorial space will allow visitors to honor, cherish, share, and pay their respects and permit researchers, amateurs, students, and professionals to share information about Veterans.

The VA already has the core data and the future development plan to execute on this online memorial concept. We are seeking your best idea of website features or integrations that will make the interactive process meaningful, engaging, and appropriate for all future audiences.

The ideas submitted in this challenge may be utilized in followon challenges that will execute on Topcoder.  


What can you do right now?

Read the complete challenge guidelines to see the rules and requirements for entry into the challenge.

“Accept Challenge” by clicking the orange button above to compete in the challenge.

Follow the challenge above to be notified of any status updates to the challenge.

Share this challenge on social media using the icons above. Show your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.

Start a conversation in our Forum to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.



The mission of the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) is to memorialize Veterans in perpetuity.

NCA does this through the national cemeteries as well as through various memorial benefits available to eligible Veterans, their spouses, and dependents. NCA maintains 3.5 million gravesites at 135 national cemeteries. Currently, there are only a few methods to memorialize and commemorate the people and the legacy contained within these cemeteries, none of which are digital. NCA seeks to expand its interactive digital capabilities to better engage the public (rather than simply informing it).                                                                     

Currently, approximately half of NCA’s national cemeteries are closed to burial, and that number will increase over time. NCA, in its commitment to memorialize Veterans in perpetuity, seeks to make available the stories of service and sacrifice of Veterans of all periods.

NCA seeks an online memorial space that is a digital projection of the culture and decorum of the national cemeteries.


Additional Information                                           

The NCA currently owns and operates an online burial site information tool called the Nationwide Gravesite Locator (NGL). NGL is a system that provides the burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker.                                                                       

The Nationwide Gravesite Locator includes burial records from many sources. These sources provide varied data; some searches may contain less information than others. Information on veterans buried in private cemeteries was collected for the purpose of furnishing government grave markers. NGL is not meant to be interactive; people cannot leave notes, photos, comments, etc. on any of the results generated. It is meant purely as an information tool. NGL is available both for desktop and mobile devices.


What can you do?

We are asking you to submit ideas to creatively address one or more of the following items:

  • Attracts visitors to the online memorial
  • Engages visitors while at the online memorial
  • Retains visitors for long term online memorial engagement
  • Returns visitors to the online memorial on a habitual basis
  • Ensures proper decorum/appropriateness is upheld within the online memorial
  • Incorporates in-person interactive features
  • Integrates interactive features for those who can only engage remotely



The Department of Veterans Affairs will award up to $10,000 in prize money, awarded as follows:

  • 5 Finalists - $1,000 each
  • 1 Grand Winner - $5,000


Open to submissions              October 26, 2017

Submission deadline               November 30, 2017 @ 5pm ET

Winners Announced                December 21, 2017



How do I win?

To be eligible for an award, your proposal must, at minimum:

  • Satisfy the Judging Scorecard requirements
  • Thoughtfully address the Submission Form questions
  • Be scored higher than your competitors!


Judging Scorecard






Does the idea invoke powerful emotions that resonate with The Department of Veterans Affairs mission to virtualize memorialization in a meaningful way? Does the idea help ensure proper decorum in memorialization?




Is the idea engaging? Does it have the potential to attract and retain users to the site, welcoming frequent site visits over the course of several years?




How does the idea differ from existing solutions addressing this problem? How is the solution innovative?



Is the idea practical and viable to implement? Did the innovator state the resources, timing, partnerships necessary to develop their idea? Judges will consider the fact that larger scale proposals will require more complex implementation.




Participation Eligibility:

The challenge is open to individuals, age 18 or older, private teams, public teams, and collegiate teams. Individual competitors and teams may originate from any country, as long as United States federal sanctions do not prohibit participation (see:

The following restrictions apply to the Challenge:  (1) Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment are not eligible to participate; (2) Federal employees acting outside the scope of their employment should consult their ethics advisor before participating in the Challenge; (3) All employees of the Government, [contractor(s)], Challenge sponsors, and other individual or entity associated with the development or administration of the Challenge, as well as their family members (i.e., spouse, children, parents, siblings, other dependents) and persons living in the same household whether or not related, are not eligible to participate; (4) Contractors receiving Government funding for the same or similar projects, along with their employees, are not eligible to participate in the Challenge.

Submissions must be made in English. All challenge-related communication will be in English.

No specific qualifications or expertise is required. Prize organizers encourage outside individuals and non-expert teams to compete and propose new solutions.

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.


Registration and Submissions:

Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the website, on or before 5pm ET on November 30, 2017. All uploads must be in PDF format. No late submissions will be accepted.


Intellectual Property:

As detailed in the Challenge-Specific Agreement – Innovators who are awarded a prize for their submission must agree to grant The United States Department of Veterans Affairs an irrevocable, royalty free, perpetual, sublicensable, transferable, and worldwide license to use and permit others to use all or any part of the submission including, without limitation, the right to make, have made, sell, offer for sale, use, rent, lease, import, copy, prepare derivative works, publicly display, publicly perform, and distribute all or any part of such submission, modifications, or combinations thereof and to sublicense (directly or indirectly through multiple tiers) or transfer any and all such rights.  The Department of Veterans Affairs' may implement submitted ideas in future online memorials.


Selection of Winners:

Based on the winning criteria, prizes will be awarded per the Judging Criteria section above. In the case of a tie, the winner(s) will be selected based on the highest votes from the Judges.


Judging Panel:

The determination of the winners will be made by HeroX/Topcoder based on evaluation by relevant  The Department of Veterans Affairs' reviewers.  Scores and feedback from The Department of Veterans Affairs' will not be shared. 


Additional Information

  • By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to submit only their original idea. Any indication of "copying" amongst competitors is grounds for disqualification.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no recourse or reimbursement.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.

Challenge Updates

Veterans Online Memorial Challenge Winner Announcement

Dec. 20, 2017, 9 a.m. PST by Paul Musille

We are proud to announce the winners in the $10,000 Veterans Online Memorial Challenge

By the submission deadline, there were 46 entries to the challenge. And after careful review by the evaluation panel the award recipients are as follows:


Grand Prize winner ($5,000 USD each)

Kyle Barney’s entry (USA) - A History for Every Veteran - Combining federal veteran records with genealogical/family history materials to produce an individualized history of each American veteran.


Finalists ($1,000 USD each)

Amit Solanki’s entry (USA)- Remember the heroes - missed but not forgotten - Web and mobile app that will allows user to use location and camera to quickly search veteran profile and interact with it and api platform.


Arwin Abaigar’s entry (Philippines)- In memoriam: the Veterans - Celebrating the life of our resting veterans by using a state of the art way of remembering them.


Bright Chidzumeni‘s entry (Malawi) - A RESPONSIVE AND INTERACTIVE MEMORIAL PLATFORM - Creation of a platform that has two kinds of users with different user tools; the ones related to the veterans and the public.


Moh Benyoucef‘s entry (France)- Memorial Portal - My concept is an open platform. It allows the communication with mobile applications, social networks and virtual immersions.


Richard Balauro‘s entry (Philippines)- Valiant - An interactive online platform with partnership with lifograph to Honor fallen heroes


Next Steps

The Veterans Online Memorial Challenge on HeroX is just the beginning of a series of challenges to build a Veterans Online Memorial.  These challenges will be held on the Topcoder platform and you can follow along and compete here.  The ideas entered here provide a great base of ideas and features that might be considered for inclusion in the final Online Memorial!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the innovators who entered the challenge. While only the innovators listed above are receiving the prizes, there were so many other insightful solutions, we are confident that many of the innovators in this challenge will do great things in the future in. Thank you all for helping make this challenge a success and hope you will join us in the future Topcoder Challenges!


URGENT - Deadline today!

Nov. 30, 2017, 6 a.m. PST by Paul Musille

That's right, the Veterans Online Memorial Challenge will be closing today Thursday - Nov. 30, 2017 at exactly 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Please be sure to complete your submission form well before the exact cut-off time.

At exactly 5 pm EST, we can no longer accept new submissions!

Comment directly on this update with any questions about the submission process and we'll get back to you right away!

Best of luck, and thanks for participating!

Two Day Warning

Nov. 28, 2017, 9 a.m. PST by Paul Musille

This is your official two-day reminder!

That's right, the Veterans Online Memorial Challenge will be closing this coming Thursday - Nov. 30, 2017 at exactly 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Please be sure to complete your submission form well before the exact cut-off time.

At exactly 5 pm EST, we can no longer accept new submissions!

Got questions?

Now is the time to speak up! Comment directly on this update with any questions about the submission process and we'll get back to you right away!

Three Days Left to Submit (TIPS)

Nov. 27, 2017, 9 a.m. PST by Paul Musille

We are quickly approaching the final days open for submission to the Veterans Online Memorial Challenge. The deadline is Nov. 30, 2017, 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (New York/USA.)

Here are couple of last-minute tips for a smooth entry process:

  1. Begin your submission process several days before the cutoff time. This allows you to ensure everything you have been working on can be seamlessly integrated into the form.
  2. Your submission will not be reviewed until you click the orange "Submit Entry" button at the top of the final review page. Please remember to do this!
  3. Review the Challenge Guidelines to ensure your submission is complete. Pay particular attention to the judging criteria which will be the scorecard used to evaluate your entry.
  4. Have any questions? Head over to the challenge forum and we would love to help you out.

Thanks so much, and good luck to all!

8 Days Left to Submit

Nov. 22, 2017, 12:49 p.m. PST by Paul Musille

There's just over one week left to submit your solution to the Veterans Online Memorial Challenge.

You're so close. You can do this!  

Remember, the final submission deadline is Nov. 30, 2017, 5 p.m. EST. No submissions recieved after this time will be accepted, so make sure to get yours in as soon as possible. Any last-minute questions or concerns can go right in the comments section of this update.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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