Uruguay 2100: winner of the Open Climate Data Challenge that promotes the use of open climate data in Uruguay
The Open Climate Data Challenge kicked off in July and sparked 5 innovative projects in Uruguay
By Open Data Charter and Microsoft
To avoid the worst effects of climate change, governments and decision makers need access to reliable climate data. Democratizing access to data is critical, as it has the power to unlock adaptation and resilience projects so that available resources are directed to where they can have the greatest impact. Addressing and mitigating the effects of climate change requires a collective effort from industry, government, academia and civil society. For this reason, the Agency for the Development of e-Government and the Information and Knowledge Society (Agesic), the National System of Response to Climate Change and Variability (SNRCC) chaired by the Ministry of Environment, and the Open Data Charter launched in July of this year the Open Climate Data Challenge supported by the Inter-American Development Bank, the Open Data Institute and Microsoft. The call for proposals was addressed to citizens in general, students, developers, entrepreneurs, private sector, journalists and civil society organizations, inviting proposals focused on climate change issues in two categories: application development and data journalism projects and research. The launch was accompanied by a series of thematic talks, with the aim of inspiring and guiding teams and interested individuals.
Of the 12 proposals initially registered, 7 were selected to present to the selection panel and 5 finally advanced to the next phase. These teams each received support of USD 2,000 and participated in a two-month incubation process where mentors accompanied them in the development of a prototype project. As part of this process, all teams also participated in workshops on data ecosystem, data ethics and an artificial intelligence webinar.
The winning project was Uruguay 2100, which seeks to tell a story of how sea level rise will affect the Uruguayan coast by the year 2100. To do this, the team created maps showing the areas at risk of flooding in Montevideo by collecting and analyzing data.
The other finalists were:
- Leon Marino: focused on cyanobacteria, this project seeks to unify the scientific knowledge generated on the subject in Uruguay and analyze the available data to generate a diagram and then disseminate on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. This project shows the link between climate change and cyanobacteria blooms.
- V.E.R. Visualizador Estratégico de Residuos (by CEMPRE). using data from Montevideo’s recyclable waste collection circuits and reception infrastructure, this project seeks to create a map of waste generation in the city. The group analyzes recyclable waste recovery rates as a contributing factor to climate change mitigation.For more information: here
- Tendencias del Cambio Climático en Uruguay: this is a microsite that facilitates the visualization, understanding and comprehension of the main climate change indicators in Uruguay. They use the narrative technique of scrollytelling, favoring qualified decoded information sources.
- Uruguay Agroecológico: focuses on showing how food production (agriculture and livestock) impacts climate change. Through a portal, people can find information on the current agricultural process, as well as options of suppliers that use alternative and organic methods. For more information: here.
The Open Climate Data Challenge is part of the implementation of the Open Up Guide for Climate Action that the SNRCC and AGESIC, together with the Open Data Charter are promoting in Uruguay; a process that was also supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). As part of this implementation, in 2021, the report “Open Data for Climate Action in Uruguay: Towards an Openness Plan” and the publication plan of priority data to be opened in the sector, aligned to the national circumstances of data governance and climate priorities, were published.
“The climate crisis must be addressed and, to do so, a wide range of ideas and approaches must be considered. It is essential that we support and enable those living in climate-affected regions to be front and center in developing solutions. At Microsoft, we are committed to partnering and providing digital technology and resources, with the goal of closing the climate data gap and creating the climate solutions of the future,” said Juan Lavista Ferres, chief data scientist and director of the Microsoft AI for Good Research Lab.
Virginia Pardo, Director of AGESIC, emphasized that “this contest is part of a challenge that we have been building for some time. It is necessary to start analyzing data from specific sectors so that the analysis of these data becomes instruments that allow citizen control and accountability”. In addition, Virginia Sena, representing the Ministry of the Environment, expressed that “climate change is a priority in Uruguay and using open data to combat it implies understanding that it is necessary for all stakeholders to participate in building the world we want”.
For her part, Mercedes de los Santos emphasized: “from Open Data Charter we work so that the publication of data has a purpose and this project is a clear example that when we think about impact we achieve successful results”.
Encouraging the reuse of open data is a critical part of any open data policy and the Open Climate Data Contest, in addition to the results of the projects themselves, collaborated with the dissemination of the open data work that has been carried out by the Ministry of Environment and AGESIC for many years, encouraging new entries to the portal to learn about them.
This project has succeeded in bringing the open data and climate change communities closer together, publicizing the datasets that have been opened and also gathering information on the demand for data. The latter will inform the next actions in the open data policy for Uruguay, in order to continue promoting the use of data by responding to the data demands of the community.