Skip to main content
News article11 October 2022BrusselsDirectorate-General for Informatics

UN, EC and OpenStreetMap hackathon on sustainable cities

The United Nations, the European Commission and the OpenStreetMap community have started a month-long hackathon, inviting software developers to come up with apps and features to help manage complex urbanization processes. Developers can win one of four awards of EUR 1000, 2.500, 3.500, and 5.000. 

OSS4SDG sustainable smart cities


The three organisations pre-defined seven challenges to choose from Challenge #1, for example, is to use OpenStreetMap (OSM) geolocation data to develop a visual way to track what happens in a city, for example, waste management, pollution, or even city policies.  Challenge #2 is about combining OSM with high-value datasets like those from Copernicus, the European Union's Earth observation programme, to create scientific and technical applications on the environment, on energy or on climate change. Other challenges focus on disaster risk management and on ways to improve OSM, including translation, enhancing the website, and other technical improvements. 

It is the second time that the UN and EC have organised a hackathon together with an open-source community. OpenStreetMap was selected because it is broadly used by services and project teams in the United Nations and European Union. 


The great thing about hackathons is that they allow us to connect with open-source communities", said Thomas Gageik, Director of Business Solutions at DIGIT. "The enthusiasm of the community is very motivating, and by doing this together with OICT, we reinforce the working-together spirit between the two institutions". 

OpenStreetMap is used by the Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, the Joint Research Centre, and the Commission's science and knowledge service, and also feature in some of the projects funded by the Commission. Specialists in these Commission services are involved in the organisation and mentoring of the teams participating in the hackathon. 


In this complex, interconnected and dynamic world, we need innovative solutions to tackle emerging challenges. Initiatives such as OSS4SDG play an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. OSS4SDG hackathons embody the promise to “leave no one behind” through innovative partnerships and new ways of collaborating. By working together—open source communities, enthusiasts and specialists in areas across the 17 SDGs—I believe we can build the tools that will ensure the world is a better place for all. 

Mariano Junior, Bernardo – Assistant Secretary-General and Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO), Office of Information and Communications Technology, OICT.

All information, including instructions to participate as well as evaluation criteria, are available on the Hackathon page

The first hackathon, held in conjunction with the software developers of Moodle, the learning management system, took place in May.  The UN and EC intend to organise a series of such events, entitled "OSS4SDGs - Open Source Software for Sustainable Development Goals", to promote the use of free and open source software to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


Publication date
11 October 2022
Directorate-General for Informatics