Space Apps 2018

October 19-21, 2018

2018 Challenges


2018 Canadian challenges

For the second year, the Canadian Space Agency is also offering their own challenges. Winners will get a chance to have a virtual chat with one of the Canadian astronauts.




5PM - 7PM Communitech entrance

Can’t make it, simply email Marine ( on Friday morning to let her know you are still coming.

Team building

6PM - 10PM 2nd floor cafeteria

We recommend you also join Slack and Crowdforge if you don’t have a team yet.


Workshops are entirely free and optional. Spots are first come, first serve.

Launching into your first hackathon: tools & tips to help you get up and running fast

Brett E., Front End Developer, SkyWatch

6PM - 7PM

Earth observation data: where to get it, how to read it. Followed by Synthetic Aperture Radar satellites, feature extraction and AI.

Luis V., Image Processing Lead Developer, SkyWatch

6PM - 7PM

Welcome speech & logistics

Come join us in the cafeteria for a slice of pizza and more information about Space Apps.

James S., SkyWatch CEO, 2014 global Space Apps winner

7PM - 7:30PM 2nd floor cafeteria


7PM - 9PM 2nd floor cafeteria

Workshops - continued

Elasticsearch & Twitter: data visualization and text classification

Mary L., Software Development Manager, Analytics, Mappedin

8PM - 9PM

**Attendees should download the following: and

How to win a hackathon

Four Shades of Brown, 2017 Waterloo Space Apps winners.

7:30PM - 8PM

Image processing challenges on AWS

Paulo F., Platform Developer, SkyWatch

9PM - 10PM

Defense Space 101

Captain Bradley C., Space Research & Development Officer, Canadian Armed Forces

8PM - 9PM

Introduction to the Canadian Space Agency challenges

Marcus, Canadian Space Agency

9PM - 10PM

Get started IBM AI Watson 

Sarmad I., Technology Evangelist, Watson / Bluemix Architect

9PM - 10:30PM



8AM - 12PM


8AM - 10AM Area 151- 1st floor


12PM - 1PM Area 151- 1st floor

Evening activities

5PM - 12AM Area 151- 1st floor & Cafeteria - 2nd floor



8AM - 10AM Area 151- 1st floor


12AM - 12PM


11AM - 1PM Area 151- 1st floor

Judging ceremony

1PM - 6PM Tannery Event Center

Space Apps sponsors

Each year, our sponsors help our hackers solve some of this world's most important challenges. They are the glue holding this event together, and by glue, we mean coffee.

Lead sponsor


Secondary sponsors

 Interested in sponsoring? Email us to find out more.

Meet our judges

Dinah Davis

Dinah Davis is the Vice President of R&D at Arctic Wolf Networks, responsible for the development of the AWN CyberSOC product. Dinah holds an M. Math in cryptography from the University of Waterloo. She has over 17 years of experience in the tech industry with time spent as a Security Software Developer at the Communications Security Establishment Canada and BlackBerry, and as a manager at TrustWave and D2l prior to Arctic Wolf Networks. She is also the founder of  Code Like a Girl, a publication, whose goal it is to change society's perceptions of how women are viewed in technology.

Dr Nadeem Ghafoor

Dr. Nadeem Ghafoor is the Vice President of Space Exploration at Canadensys Aerospace, a Toronto-based space systems and services company focused on accessible space, where he leads the space exploration and space education business areas for government and commercial space applications. Dr. Ghafoor is the project lead across a wide range of space projects at Canadensys, with particular emphasis on game-changing technologies that enable smaller, faster and more affordable missions that can survive for longer durations in deep space and planetary environments, in an effort to unlock the space frontier and accelerate the pace of national and commercial development. He previously spent 9 years at a large Canadian space robotics company managing new exploration initiatives and prior to this worked for 5 years in the UK space industry supporting the development of 5 different microsatellite missions. Dr. Ghafoor is a firm advocate for cooperation and collaboration across the space sector, and a longstanding proponent of space education and its potential to engage and inspire.

Kelly Mc Gregor

As a recovering entrepreneur, Kelly knows the ins and outs of getting a company off the ground and growing. After spending 10 years working with startups, including 4.5 as co-founder, Kelly joined Communitech in 2017 to help other founders succeed - and not make the same mistakes. Kelly is the Program Manager at Rev and Fierce Founders. The Fierce Founders programs are shattering glass ceilings with bootcamps, accelerators and smart women who kick some serious ass. 

No stranger to supporting women in technology, she was also part of the team that grew Ladies Learning Code’s community outside of Toronto. When she has down time you'll likely find her curled up with a good book and animals in her lap, or rocking out at a Foo Fighters concert.

Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith is the Co-Founder and CEO of ThinkData Works Inc., a Toronto-based technology company whose platform is used by some of the worlds’ largest organizations to process and refine data into usable products. They host one of the worlds’ largest repositories of publically available data and enable their clients to significantly increase the amount of information they use to run their business.

Prior to founding ThinkData, Bryan worked for the Canadian Government as a Sr. Policy Advisor to the President of the Treasury Board of Canada where he helped implement the Government’s “Value for Money Ethic”, leading to over $7B in annual savings and the first transition from deficit to surplus in the past 20 years.

He is a strong supporter of skilled-worker immigration, sponsoring many engineers and their families seeking Canadian citizenship – ThinkData employees speak over 10 different languages and hail from countries all over the world. He has also introduced a “Returnship” program at ThinkData targeted at helping women re-enter the workforce after extended leave – A program he has challenged all startups and technology companies to adopt.

étienne Low-Décarie

Étienne has an unquenchable curiosity about how nature operates and relishes every opportunity to investigate and understand the world around us, but also wishes to contribute to solving important global problems.  He is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist by training, a teacher by passion, a data geek by necessity. He is an exploration scientist in the Astronauts, Life Sciences and Space Medicine of the Canadian Space Agency.  Prior to joining CSA, he was an assistant professor (Lecturer) at the University of Essex where he taught on and conducted research in aquatic ecology and microbiology.  He co-founded the Montreal R-User group and has taught R and data analysis in a diversity of settings.  “I am so excited to see what wonderful solutions will arise from the Space Apps challenges!”

Frequently Asked Questions



The NASA Space Apps Challenge is an intense 48-hour international hackathon hosted simultaneously in over 180 cities around the world. Last year’s Space Apps produced more than 2,000 solutions created by more than 25,000 participants from all corners of the world, using NASA’s open data to improve life on planet Earth. 

Who can participate?

Space belongs to all. We welcome all and everyone. Whether you are a coder extraordinaire, a rocket scientist, or simply a student with an affinity for space, you have a place here. 

What is the minimum age for participants?

There is no minimum age for participation in Space Apps, and many youth and children have participated in past events. We only note that participants under 13 must have a parent or guardian register for them and attend with them. 

Do I register as an individual or as a team?

Participants will need to register as individuals, not teams. Participants will form project teams at Space Apps events and teams will submit their projects by creating a project page.

Can I join more than one team?

Yes, participants can join one team per challenge. There are multiple challenges available to all participants.

How many people can be on a team?

There is no set requirement. The sweet spot for teams is typically 4 to 5 - if it gets too big, it can be hard to focus, if it is too small, you may not have all the skills/knowledge needed. Teams can be formed before or during the event.

How much does it cost to attend?

Admission is completely free. If you do not have accommodations in the area and/or if you like coding all night, you can even stay overnight on Friday and Saturday.

How do I get to THE HACKATHON?

The Communitech Hub is located at the Tannery, 151 Charles Street West, Suite 100, in Kitchener. The Tannery is a short 5-min walk away from the Kitchener Bus Terminal, the Kitchener train station, and Kitchener downtown.

Nearest bus stops

King / Victoria - 7   //   Victoria / Joseph - 20   //   King / Francis - 22   //   Victoria / Joseph - 200   //   Water / King - 204

Nearest GO stops

U of Waterloo - 25 GO Bus  //  Victoria/King - Kitchener GO 30 Bus  //  Kitchener - Kitchener GO Train  //  Kitchener - Malton GO Train

Is there parking on-site?

There are multiple parking lots in Kitchener downtown, close to Charles Street and Victoria Street that offer free parking on the week-end.



What if I've never been to a hackathon before?

Welcome! Participants of all skill levels will be there. We’ll have talks, mentors and workshops to help you with your project; hackathons can be a great place to learn new skills in a short amount of time. Just be eager to learn, and excited to meet lots of awesome people.

Is the event limited to just software development?

Absolutely not, Space Apps projects don't have to be apps. We need people with all types of skills to participate! Teams need project managers, designers, artists, educators, writers - anyone who can help advance the cause. You can contribute! Participants in the event will collaborate to build software, open hardware, data visualization, and citizen science platform solutions that contribute to solving global challenges that focus on improving life on earth. In fact, most teams will benefit from having non-programmers working with them.

Can I start working on my hack before the event?

No. In the interest of fairness, participants should not be working on their projects before the hackathon begins and we do not allow participants to work on pre-existing projects. However, you can familiarize yourself with all the tools and technologies you intend to use beforehand! 

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If your question is not listed here, please feel free to email us or join our Slack group.

View past events hosted by SkyWatch