European Space Agency


COVID-19 Custom Script Contest

A quest for ideas on how satellite data could help monitor and mitigate economic, human, and agriculture activity during COVID-19
Submission Deadline
Up to 17,000 € Per Submission


COVID-19 Custom Script Contest by Euro Data Cube

For the past runs of the Custom Script Contest, go to this page.

The coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic has virtually paralyzed daily life as we know it. Even when the spread of this highly infectious disease has been halted, the world will face huge challenges getting back to ‘normal’.

European Space Agency (ESA), in coordination with the European Commission, is launching a special edition of the Custom Script Contest, focused on the support of space assets during the COVID-19 crisis, managed by Euro Data Cube group. Following a similar format, but further to looking for new algorithms, we are in the quest for ideas on how satellite data could help monitor and mitigate the situation for the upcoming months, while the world will organize to get back to business and will need to adapt from this crisis.

We are calling for remote sensing experts, machine learning scientists as well as the interested public. But anyone can contribute with an idea and make proposals.



Three focus categories were selected, for analysis of changes in:

  • economic operators’ activity (e.g. factories, supermarkets, transport networks, oil refineries, commercial ports),
  • human activity distribution (e.g. parked car distributions over urban areas, social distancing estimations),
  • agriculture activity (e.g. unattended fields and crops, disruptions due to supply chain issues, things that may contribute to mitigation of problems appearing in 6 months from now).

This initial focus does not prevent participants from elaborating other type of value-added information in relation with this challenge.

The focus geographical area is European Union, EEA, ESA member states and cooperating states.



Results should be submitted as soon as they are available, composed of:

  • PowerPoint presentation with images and the resulting analysis (mandatory)
  • Custom scripts/source code (desired)
  • Sample of the results (desired)
  • All results containing satellite data should be appropriately credited: “Contains modified <SATELLITE SOURCE> data processed by Euro Data Cube”



There will be several rounds of evaluation, each bringing these prizes:

  • Each end of the week, the best contribution coming to that date (from start of the contest to the cut-off date) meeting the quality threshold will receive a 1000 € prize.
  • Each end of the month a prize of 1000 € will be awarded for each of the three main categories (change in situation of economic operators, change in human activity, change in agriculture activity).
  • The best idea overall, exploiting European Data, meeting the quality threshold will receive a prize of 5000 €.

Evaluation will be performed by the European Space Agency. Each contribution can get one prize for each of the above (e.g. one weekly, one monthly and one overall). The results are published here.

By participating in the Contest, you confirm that you have read and you agree with the Terms and Conditions of the Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contest - COVID-19 Edition as well as with the Sentinel Hub's Terms of Service.

A selected sample of the proposed ideas will be invited to the parallel contest, focused to bring these ideas to life in a form of the European Dashboard. Prizes up to 10 000 EUR! Read about it here.



  • 6th of April to 31st of May 2020 with possible continuation.
  • At the end of each week evaluation, prize is picked among the ones received to the milestone (including the entries from the previous week, if not yet having received an award).
  • Due to the urgency of the situation results will be evaluated as soon as they arrive, and if they meet the the quality criteria, also shared with the public.



The contest will be running until end of May. However, due to importance of the matter we would like to see results as soon as possible. This is why we will be selecting the best ideas on a continuous basis and the grand prize at the end of the challenge. It’s not just about prizes – the best ideas will be presented to the European Commission in the context of the dossier ESA is preparing on space as a support to Covid 19 situation in the EU.

How can you contribute?

  • If you are a self-taught remote sensing enthusiast, check the data, play with it, come up with the idea, compile a presentation and send it through. Note that there does not necessarily need to be a script itself. A simple description of the idea supported by slides and exported images is sufficient.
  • Earth Observation experts can perform a detailed analysis, using various tools, demonstrating the patterns.
  • Machine learning experts can model agriculture activities and identify potentially abandoned areas, resulting in reduced yields in the harvest seasons.
  • Satellite data providers, do contribute additional data, so that people can perform even more interesting analyses. See details.




Information for Data Providers

If you are a data provider and you have the EO data, that could benefit the society in this situation, do contribute! You can do this by uploading data on the object storage (we can host the bucket in order to spare the costs) and then using “Bring your own data” API to ingest it in Sentinel Hub.

Some rules do apply:

  • You can define your own license but it should allow any use for non-commercial purposes related to COVID-19 until end of the year.
  • The data will be shared through Euro Data Cube as well as directly through S3 in order to maximize its use.
  • Data with the resolution sufficient to allow identification of individuals is not permitted.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I find data of better resolution than Sentinel-2 provides?
    • Some data is already loaded in the system and available for consumption. Find the list of locations here. To get access to these data, fill this form.. If you have an idea, which would require data in other regions, send us an , specifying the location. Keep in mind that these data cost so make sure you limit the AOI to exactly what required, ideally not exceeding a couple of km2.