The content of this page will be updated in the coming weeks as the situation develops. The main principles will remain as they are.
Check news section regularly.


COVID-19 Custom Script Contest by Euro Data Cube

For the past runs of the Custom Script Contest, go to this page.

The coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic has virtually paralyzed daily life as we know it. Even when the spread of this highly infectious disease has been halted, the world will face huge challenges getting back to ‘normal’.

European Space Agency (ESA), in coordination with the European Commission, is launching a special edition of the Custom Script Contest, focused on the support of space assets during the COVID-19 crisis, managed by Euro Data Cube group. Following a similar format, but further to looking for new algorithms, we are in the quest for ideas on how satellite data could help monitor and mitigate the situation for the upcoming months, while the world will organize to get back to business and will need to adapt from this crisis.

We are calling for remote sensing experts, machine learning scientists as well as the interested public. But anyone can contribute with an idea and make proposals.


Three focus categories were selected, for analysis of changes in:

  • economic operators’ activity (e.g. factories, supermarkets, transport networks, oil refineries, commercial ports),
  • human activity distribution (e.g. parked car distributions over urban areas, social distancing estimations),
  • agriculture activity (e.g. unattended fields and crops, disruptions due to supply chain issues, things that may contribute to mitigation of problems appearing in 6 months from now).

This initial focus does not prevent participants from elaborating other type of value-added information in relation with this challenge.

The focus geographical area is European Union, EEA, ESA member states and cooperating states.


In order to support you the Euro Data Cube team has specially prepared an environment where you will find:

  • High Resolution data sources in addition to our standard EO missions’ data offer. In partnership with Airbus and Planet we have made available Pleiades and PlanetScope data over several locations to support e.g. urban monitoring.
  • A plethora of Euro Data Cube Tools ready to be used for this purpose – starting from EO Browser, Sentinel Hub and xcube services, eo-learn, Jupyter Notebooks, EOxHub hosted JupyterLab and more, something for any skill level and for every analysis.
  • You can use Custom scripts to visualize satellite data. To get started, visit the beginner tutorial on basic custom scripts or visit our Evalscript documentation for more complex scripting options, such as multitemporal scripting. You can find many custom scripts ready to be used instantly on our custom script repository

Read more on how to get started with EDC services and what they offer here. If needed, we can add more and adapt to your requirements.


The contest will be running until end of May. However, due to importance of the matter we would like to see results as soon as possible. This is why we will be selecting the best ideas on a continuous basis and the grand prize at the end of the challenge. It’s not just about prizes – the best ideas will be presented to the European Commission in the context of the dossier ESA is preparing on space as a support to Covid 19 situation in the EU.

How can you contribute?

  • If you are a self-taught remote sensing enthusiast, check the data, play with it, come up with the idea, compile a presentation and send it through. Note that there does not necessarily need to be a script itself. A simple description of the idea supported by slides and exported images is sufficient.
  • Earth Observation experts can perform a detailed analysis, using various tools, demonstrating the patterns.
  • Machine learning experts can model agriculture activities and identify potentially abandoned areas, resulting in reduced yields in the harvest seasons.
  • Satellite data providers, do contribute additional data, so that people can perform even more interesting analyses. See details below.


Results should be submitted as soon as they are available, composed of:

  • PowerPoint presentation with images and the resulting analysis (mandatory)
  • Custom scripts/source code (desired)
  • Sample of the results (desired)
  • All results containing satellite data should be appropriately credited: “Contains modified <SATELLITE SOURCE> data processed by Euro Data Cube”


There will be several rounds of evaluation, each bringing these prizes:

  • Each end of the week, the best contribution coming to that date (from start of the contest to the cut-off date) meeting the quality threshold will receive a 1000 € prize.
  • Each end of the month a prize of 1000 € will be awarded for each of the three main categories (change in situation of economic operators, change in human activity, change in agriculture activity).
  • The best idea overall, exploiting European Data, meeting the quality threshold will receive a prize of 5000 €.

Evaluation will be performed by the European Space Agency. Each contribution can get one prize for each of the above (e.g. one weekly, one monthly and one overall). The results are published here.

Submit Your Idea

By participating in the Contest, you confirm that you have read and you agree with Terms and Conditions of the Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contest - COVID-19 Edition as well as with the Sentinel Hub's Terms of Service.

A selected sample of the proposed ideas will be invited to the parallel contest, focused to bring these ideas to life in a form of the European Dashboard. Prizes up to 10 000 EUR! Read about it here.


  • 6th of April to 31st of May 2020 with possible continuation.
  • At the end of each week evaluation, prize is picked among the ones received to the milestone (including the entries from the previous week, if not yet having received an award).
  • Due to the urgency of the situation results will be evaluated as soon as they arrive, and if they meet the the quality criteria, also shared with the public.

Where to Start

If you want to use non-open data (e.g. PlanetScope and Airbus Pleiades) or some of the additional Euro Data Cube resources, fill the participation form.

Perhaps the easiest way is to check the available data in EO Browser. Once done, make yourself familiar with the other tools available:

If you do not yet have an account create one here. If you need more privileges or throughput for the contest, contact us.

One way or another, do participate! The occasion and crisis is too important to ignore and just about anyone can help.

Stay home, stay healthy and contribute to this humankind challenge!



  • 2020-04-05: List of currently available locations with VHR data. This list will be expanded in the coming weeks as we load more and more data.
  • 2020-04-06: Added possibility to ask for additional Euro Data Cube resources, sponsored by European Space Agency.
  • 2020-04-10: The list of locations with VHR data (PlanetScope, Pleiades or both) is available was extended significantly.
  • 2020-04-15: European Space Imaging kindly contributed additional VHR satellite imagery
  • 2020-04-16: Picterra joined the momentum with their own challenge powered by Euro Data Cube. Check their automated machine learning tools.
  • 2020-04-21: Sample Jupyter Notebook to access the data was expanded to include Pleiades and PlanetScope data.
  • 2020-04-24: A follow-up Contest was announced, supporting the best ideas to be transformed into operational services. Read about it here.
  • 2020-05-05: Additional data was provided by European Space Imaging, in areas of Port of Gent, Ford plants in Romania, Madrid Tres Cantos park and ride, Dagenham Ford Car Production Plant/Asda superstore and Klosterneuburg industrial/commercial area.



Weekly Winning Ideas

Monthly Winning Ideas - April 2020


Information for Data Providers

If you are a data provider and you have the EO data, that could benefit the society in this situation, do contribute! You can do this by uploading data on the object storage (we can host the bucket in order to spare the costs) and then using “Bring Your Own Data” API to ingest it in Sentinel Hub.

Some rules do apply:

  • You can define your own license but it should allow any use for non-commercial purposes related to COVID-19 until end of the year.
  • The data will be shared through Euro Data Cube as well as directly through S3 in order to maximize its use.
  • Data with the resolution sufficient to allow identification of individuals is not permitted.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I find data of better resolution than Sentinel-2 provides?
    • Some data is already loaded in the system and available for consumption. Find the list of locations here. To get access to these data, fill this form. If you have an idea, which would require data in other regions, send us an e-mail, specifying the location. Keep in mind that these data cost so make sure you limit the AOI to exactly what required, ideally not exceeding a couple of km2.





About the Copernicus Sentinels: The Copernicus Sentinels are a fleet of dedicated EU-owned satellites, designed to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to the European Union's Copernicus environmental programme. The European Commission leads and coordinates this programme, to improve the management of the environment, safeguarding lives every day. ESA is in charge of the space component, responsible for developing the family of Copernicus Sentinel satellites on behalf of the European Union and ensuring the flow of data for the Copernicus services, while the operations of the Copernicus Sentinels have been entrusted to ESA and EUMETSAT.