Many birds migrate between their winter and breeding grounds each spring and autumn. It might be surprising to know that one of the best research tools to detect these movements are weather radars. Although not equipped to identify species, a weather radar can detect bird migration 24/7 and over a large area. Bird density, general speed, and direction can be retrieved from the raw weather data using algorithms (which power tools like The goal of the European Network for the Radar Surveillance of Animal Movement (ENRAM) - a network of radar biologists, meteorologists, and engineers from 22 countries - is to gather and research this type of data on a European scale.

One of the main challenges however is to present this data in an comprehensible, intuitive way. This is why we would like to invite you to participate in a 3-day hackathon (25-27 March 2015) at the University of Amsterdam to create a visualization using bird migration data from a case study. A jury will evaluate the submissions on submission requirements, accessibility, functionality, and applicability, before selecting a winning team and 2 runners-up, which will be announced and awarded prizes in a closing ceremony.

This hackathon is funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), which allows us to offer travel reimbursement for participants (conditions apply). The maximum number of participants is 20 and the deadline for registration is 15 March 2015.

View details about the hackathon (venue, programme, FAQ)


The hackathon is open to everyone over the age of 18 and with their country of residence participating in ENRAM: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, or United Kingdom.

You have to attend the full hackathon in person to be eligible. If you work as a team, choose 1 or 2 members of your team to attend: fully remote teams cannot participate. The maximum number of participants (= persons) is 20.

If you are not eligible (e.g. you are from the US or you can only participate remotely), please contact us at and we'll see what we can do.


Visualization requirements

  1. The visualization presents data from this bird migration case study. At minimum, it makes use of the bird-migration-altitude-profiles dataset or the reflectivity-ppi dataset.
  2. The visualization presents data from five weather radars.
  3. The visualization dataflow is automatic: it could work with other, similar bird migration data.
  4. The visualization is publicly available online.
  5. The visualization can be displayed in a browser.
  6. The visualization text is in English.
  7. The source code of the visualization is publicly available (ideally on GitHub).
  8. Your team created the visualization (but you can of course make use of open source libraries).

Submission requirements

  1. The visualization is submitted before the deadline (Friday, 27 March 2015 at 11:30am CET) via
  2. The following submission form fields have been filled out: name, tagline, short description, screenshot, URL of the visualization, and your name.
  3. Someone from your team presents your visualization before the jury and other participants on Friday, 27 March 2015 between 13:00 and 14:30 CET in a 10 minute lightning talk.

Hackathon Sponsors


$4,947 in prizes

CartoDB Coronelli plan for one year (3)

CartoDB is a cloud based mapping platform to visualize and analyze geospatial data. CartoDB has kindly offered to sponsor this hackathon by granting the winning team and two runners-up with a one year CartoDB Coronelli plan worth 1,649$.

Short Term Scientific Mission

The winning team will be offered a chance to work on location at the University of Amsterdam with bird migration and radar specialists. This collaboration will be funded as a Short Term Scientific Mission (conditions apply) and should result in an enhanced visualization and a scientific publication with the creator(s) of the visualization as co-author(s).

Dissemination (3)

The visualizations of the winning team and two runners-up will be disseminated by ENRAM via the website and Twitter. The visualization of the winning team will be disseminated at international conferences.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter

  1. Choose up to 2 members of your team to attend the hackathon in Amsterdam in person (25-27 March 2015). We offer travel reimbursement (conditions apply). Places are limited to 20 persons. Fully remote teams cannot participate.
  2. Register for the hackathon at by clicking the “Register” button. You will need a ChallengePost account to do so. Deadline for registration is 15 March 2015. We will confirm your registration by email.
  3. Review the submission requirements, explore the case study data, and brainstorm with your team how you want to visualize those in a way that is intuitive and can lead to new insights.
  4. Attend the hackathon, collaborate with others, create a visualization using the case study data, and submit it via before Friday, 27 March 2015 at 11:30am CET.
  5. Present your visualization before the jury and other participants on Friday, 27 March 2015 between 13:00 and 14:30 CET in a 10 minute lightning talk.
  6. Get a chance to win one of the prizes.


Willem Bouten

Willem Bouten
Chair Computational Geo-Ecology, University of Amsterdam

Hidde Leijnse

Hidde Leijnse
Weather radar specialist, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)

Arie Dekker

Arie Dekker
Bird strike prevention specialist

Judging Criteria

  • Submission requirements
    Does the visualization meet the submission requirements?
  • Accessibility
    Does the visualization present the bird migration data in a intuitive, comprehensible way?
  • Functionality
    Does the visualization work?
  • Applicability
    Can the bird migration research community use and/or build upon the visualization (in collaboration with the creators)?

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