Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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May 21, 2021
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Seeks Enhancements in Predicting Overhead Geopose

OULDER, Colo.National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), and NASA today announced their crowdsourcing competition, the "Overhead Geopose Challenge", which is being implemented by DrivenData, and HeroX. The Challenge seeks solutions that make overhead images more useful for time-sensitive applications like security and disaster response. Participants are competing for a prize purse of $50,000.

The Challenge seeks to build computer vision algorithms that can effectively model the height and pose of ground objects for monocular satellite images taken from oblique angles.

Overhead satellite imagery provides critical time-sensitive information for disaster response, navigation, and security. Most current methods for using aerial images assume that the images are taken from directly overhead. However, the first images available are often "oblique" or taken from an angle. These camera orientations complicate useful tasks like image alignment and change detection that are needed to ensure that maps are accurate in dynamic environments

Solvers will transform RGB images taken from a satellite to accurately determine each object's real-world 3D structure or "geocentric pose". Geocentric pose is an object's height above the ground and its orientation with respect to gravity. Calculating geocentric pose helps with detecting and classifying objects and determining accurate object boundaries.

NGA is continuously seeking novel concepts for assured positioning, navigation, and timing, said NGA Research Chief Scientist John Main, PhD. "We think the broader innovation community can help us support disaster response operations more effectively by exploring novel ways to understand where things are happening - or even better where things will be happening - during an emergency event. This is NGA Research's goal and the reason we tap scientific and technical talent and ideas from national labs, universities, and businesses."

"This is a hard computer vision problem that will benefit from the diverse approaches that a machine learning challenge can bring to bear," said Greg Lipstein, Co-Founder and Principal of DrivenData. "This is a great opportunity to bring together a fascinating dataset with a passionate community of experts to generate innovative solutions for disaster response and other time-sensitive needs"

"Our global network of problem-solvers is perfectly suited to support the advancement of state-of-the-art methods for using and understanding satellite imagery," said Christian Cotichini, CEO, HeroX. "Having great minds come together for an initiative like this will help us more quickly and more effectively support people in times of need."

Eligibility to Compete and Win Prizes:

The challenge is open to anyone aged 18 or older not affiliated with DrivenData or the challenge sponsor and permitted to compete under the laws of the US and their local jurisdictions. Finalists will be determined by performance on a private test set of historical measurements, and bonus prizes will also be awarded for qualifying scores that reflect innovative approaches. All prize-winning approaches will be shared under an open source license for learning and use by the community.

To accept the challenge, and for more information, visit


DrivenData is a social enterprise dedicated to bringing the data tools and methods that are transforming industry to the world's biggest challenges. As part of that work, DrivenData's competition platform channels the skills and passion of data scientists, researchers, and other quantitative experts to build solutions for social good. These online machine learning challenges are designed to engage a large expert community, connect them with real-world data problems, and highlight their best solutions.


HeroX is a social network for crowdsourcing innovation and human ingenuity, co-founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur, Christian Cotichini and XPRIZE Founder and Futurist, Peter Diamandis. HeroX offers a turnkey, easy-to-use platform that supports anyone, anywhere, to solve everyday business and world challenges using the power of the crowd. Uniquely positioned as the Social Network for Innovation, HeroX is the only place you can build, grow and curate your very own crowd.


NGA delivers world-class geospatial intelligence that provides a decisive advantage to policymakers, warfighters, intelligence professionals and first responders. NGA is a unique combination of intelligence agency and combat support agency. It is the world leader in timely, relevant, accurate and actionable geospatial intelligence. NGA enables the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of Defense to fulfill the president's national security priorities to protect the nation. For more information about NGA, visit us online at, Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, SoundCloud or YouTube.


JHU/APL solves complex research, engineering, and analytical problems that present critical challenges to our nation. The nation's largest university affiliated research center provides U.S. government agencies with deep expertise in specialized fields to support national priorities and technology development programs.

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