Driven Data, HeroX Launch Crowdsourcing Challenge to Improve Air Quality Data to Enhance Public Health Applications

HOUSTON, Jan. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — DrivenData and HeroX today launched the NASA Air-athon to improve air quality estimates so people can make informed decisions about their exposure to pollutants.

Air pollution is one of the greatest environmental threats to human health. Currently, no single satellite provides ready-to-use, high resolution information on surface-level air pollutants. This gap in information means that millions of people may not be able to take daily action to monitor air quality and manage their exposure to protect their health.

The goal of this challenge is to generate daily estimates of surface-level NO2 and PM2.5 across 5-kilometer grid spacing across three urban areas: Los Angeles South Coast Air Basin, United States; Delhi, India; and Taipei, Taiwan. NO2 refers to nitrogen dioxide, which lasts less than a day in the atmosphere, but can lead to respiratory and asthma issues and the formation of other harmful pollutants, such as ozone and particulate matter. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size. It can last days to weeks in the atmosphere and penetrate deep into human lungs, resulting in major health concerns.

Existing ground monitors are expensive and have large gaps in coverage. Models that make use of widely available, low-cost sensor data and satellite imagery have the potential to provide local, daily air quality information to hundreds of thousands of people.

"This is a difficult problem where better data tools can provide timely information to millions of people to help them protect their health," said Greg Lipstein, Principal at DrivenData. "The challenge will test solutions from a global community of experts, with the best approaches automatically rising to the top of the leaderboard."

"This effort prioritizes the health of entire communities," said Kal K. Sahota, CEO, HeroX. "I am eager to see the innovative ways the crowd can improve air quality data collection and enhance public health."

The Challenge:  NASA Air-athon requires solvers to use satellite imagery, low-cost sensor data, and meteorological data to develop models for estimating daily levels of PM2.5 and NO2 with high spatial resolution

The Prize: Top ideas will share a total prize purse of $50,000

Eligibility to Compete and Win Prize(s):  The prize is open to anyone aged 18 or older participating as an individual or as a team. Individual competitors and teams may originate from any country, as long as United States federal sanctions do not prohibit participation (some restrictions apply).

To accept the challenge, 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 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 participants with real-world data problems, and highlight their best solutions.

See our past competitions and learn more at

HeroX is a platform and open marketplace 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.

Explore the latest challenges at

Media Contact:
Alexandra Pony


SOURCE DrivenData; HeroX