Eco Hackathon

Saturday April 20, 2013

LAB 107

10:00 am - ?



Sponsored by CSU SEEDS & BetterCloud


The mission of our Eco Hackathon is to explore and develop approaches to improve urban stream restoration in the Georgia Piedmont, our home region.  This Eco Hackathon is a hybrid of traditional scientific approaches to problem solving (i.e., research) and a tech or hackers approach that promotes synergistic and open thinking.  

Some of the events that are planned are:

·         Explore and build apps that can be used to promote awareness of stream and watershed issues and for use in fieldwork

o   George Tang, Director of Quality at BetterCloud, will lead an introductory workshop on app building using MIT’s App Inventor. This will allow participants to better understand the powerful computers they hold in their hands and allow them to construct simple apps.

·         Education Outreach activities

o   CSU SEEDS regularly participates in outreach events such as school visits, science days, and festivals to promote awareness of local and global ecological issues.  We would like to produce an activity that integrates technology with stream ecology related activities.

·         Improving Restoration practices in the Georgia Piedmont

o   Participants will explore and deconstruct current techniques used to “restore” degraded urban streams. Using current ecological knowledge and preliminary research results, participants will be free to explore and develop new approaches to restore our degraded streams.

·         Flash Talks

o   At the conclusion of our Eco Hackathon, participants will give short 5 minute talks about what they’ve learned, developed, and produced during the hackathon. 

CSU SEEDS is a campus chapter of the ESA SEEDS program (Ecological Society of America-Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity, and Sustainability).  Our mission is to diversify and advance the profession of ecology by promoting opportunities that stimulate and nurture the interest of underrepresented students (all students) in ecology.




The Eco Hackathon was a complete success.  What was stunning about this Hackathon was that participants had no experience with MIT App Inventor, in fact, almost all participants had no programming experience whatsoever.  Yet, as you can tell from the results below, they produced working apps which would traditionally take quite a bit of programming skills to produce. Hackathon participants created ecology apps for use in field work and in education and outreach.  Impressive.  

Thank you BetterCloud and George Tang for supporting our CSU SEEDS Eco Hackathon event!


Developing apps already!

Identify Stream Health app allows users to identify causes of poor urban stream health.

Relative Humidity Calculator calculates relative humidity and displays and announces the result.

Stream Clean Whack the Trash game is a variation of Whack the Mole, except users "clean the river" by whacking garbage. 

Water Cycle and Pollution app, still in development, reviews the water cycle, pollution, and provides information on what users can do to prevent water pollution.


GPS Plant Database, still in development, allows users to input gps coordinates to plants and associates data to gps location.

George gave us a few tasks for everyone to complete
before we were off developing our own apps.

Dr. Boudell giving her Identify Stream Health flash talk.

Japhia describes her Relative Humidity Calculator.

Japhia built a second app, one that asks the
essential question,"Does Soft Kitty Hate You?"

Monique describing her water pollution app.

Justin demonstrating his Stream Clean game app.

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