Join our special edition of the Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contest – Urban Growth in Africa – with a focus to observe change detection and growth of urban area. The deadline has been extended until 5th September 2021. See details below!

Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contests

Remote sensing is making its way into more and more applications and fields. Tools like the Sentinel Hub EO Browser with its custom scripting allow all people to browse, analyse and visualise satellite data in almost real-time.

Together with our partners, the Euro Data Cube (EDC), the Copernicus EU Earth Observation programme and the European Space Agency we are looking for new and innovative ideas and scripts. Therefore, we have organised a series of the Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contests starting with the first one in Spring 2019 and following with the second one in Winter 2019/2020. In April and May we organised a special edition of the Contest - the Covid-19 Custom Script Contest. Its aim was to help the world facing huge challenges getting back to ‘normal’ after the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. The success of the series motivated us to continue with the third edition of the Contest in Summer 2020. To learn more about the results of our previous contests, visit the Past Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contests page.

Join the Urban Growth in Africa Contest!

This special edition of the Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contest started on 3rd May 2021 and will end at midnight on 5th September 2021. The objective of this activity is to demonstrate the power of a deep multi-temporal and multi-resolution data cube combined from Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and Landsat. The area of interest we are looking at is Africa. To make it even more interesting, we have selected Dakar, Senegal, and loaded it with even more data - Airbus Pleiades and SPOT, Maxar WorldView/GeoEye provided by European Space imaging, and PlanetScope. Take this opportunity to explore the depth and detail of so much commercial data and dense time series over a long period available for one location.

Contest Image Collection
A selection of visualisations created with the custom scripts submitted to the second round of the Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contest. Check also one of our blog posts for more information.


We want the Contest to be completely open. Therefore, all the submitted scripts will compete under one common category no matter which data collection (Sentinels, Landsat, commercial data, etc.) the scripts use. We are particularly interested in scripts for monitoring change detection and growth of urban areas.

You don’t have the skills to create a script? No problem, create a Story then!

How to Create a Script?

If you need some help and instructions on how to get started with custom scripting for the EO Browser we suggest you read:

If you are new to the custom scripting, we would suggest that you check out our friendly Custom Script Tutorial, which will guide you through the first steps and help you create simple custom scripts. For more information, watch also our webinars on Custom Scripts and Multi-Temporal Scripts and Data Fusion.

Attractive Prizes

We will award the best three custom scripts as follows:

First Prize

  • 1,000 EUR
  • 5,000 EUR worth commercial data (Airbus SPOT, Airbus Pleiades)
  • 1-year Enterprise Sentinel Hub account (worth 5,000 EUR)

Second Prize

  • 300 EUR
  • 3,000 EUR worth commercial data (Airbus SPOT, Airbus Pleiades)
  • 1-year Basic Sentinel Hub account (worth 1,000 EUR)

Third Prize

  • 1,000 EUR worth commercial data (Airbus SPOT, Airbus Pleiades)
  • 1-year Basic Sentinel Hub account (worth 1,000 EUR)

All winners will also get an opportunity to highlight their winning scripts in the Sentinel Hub blog, advertised by Sentinel Hub and ESA.

A special prize will be awarded to the best written story making use of the EO data by a professional Journalist.

Best Written Story prize

  • 5,000 EUR worth commercial data (Airbus SPOT, Airbus Pleiades)
  • 1-year Enterprise Sentinel Hub account (worth 5,000 EUR)
  • An opportunity to publish on the Sentinel Hub blog, advertised by Sentinel Hub and ESA

In addition to the above, another special prize will be awarded to the best Pin Story, which can also be a combination of a Pin Story and custom editing, i.e. combining several pin stories (locations) or bringing in other material. We would specially like to encourage the beginners and students to give it a try and submit their Pin stories.

Best Pin Story prize

  • 300 EUR
  • a box of goodies

The Pin Story and the Story by a professional Journalist will be judged differently. We want to see you use EO data available in the EO Browser, but the priority will be the story itself. In this case, writing a new custom script is not necessary, you can also use integrated visualisations as well as already existing scripts.


  • All scripts must run within the Sentinel Hub EO Browser.
  • All scripts have to be handed in as text files before 5th September 2021 (23:59 CEST).
  • Together with the script, you have to hand in a proper description of what your script can be used for and explain how it achieves the results produced. You can include the description in Jupyter Notebook or in a separate file.
  • By handing in a script, you confirm to be the sole author(s) of the script and to have the necessary rights to do so.
  • Every single participant or group can hand in up to three scripts.
  • All entries must be licensed under the Creative Commons BY license, so they can be added to the custom scripts repository and be used freely by all.

The Contest is open worldwide, with the exception of Iran and North Korea.

In addition to the general description of the script, the following information is required:

  • Scripts' applicability
  • False detection problems (if any)
  • Detailed description of how the script works
  • Representative cases / images with details
  • Visualisation in EO Browser (a link to a working script)
  • References
  • Credits - In case your script is based on other people’s work you have to make sure to include the necessary citations and links to relevant papers.

By participating in the Contest, the participants confirm that they have read and agreed with the Terms and Conditions of the Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contest as well as with the Sentinel Hub’s Terms of Service.


We are especially interested in the scripts covering one of the following:

  • change detection
  • built-up area on multi-source imagery
  • data fusion on multi-resolution imagery
  • development of the urban area, when submitting a Pin Story (for beginners) - see our Pin Story guide here

Please note that if your script is a really cool one and does not meet the above guidelines, we will still consider your script and evaluate it under the same conditions as the rest.

Dakar in all its wavelengths, seen from Sentinel-1 & 2 satellites
Dakar in all its wavelengths, seen from Sentinel-1 & 2 satellites.


In order to support participants, we provide a range of tools suitable for each skill level.

EO Browser

  • Participants get free access to all features of EO Browser, a powerful tool for exploring satellite data collections.
  • To get started quickly with EO Browser, we recommend the EO Browser web page and EO Browser webinar.
  • For more about pins in the webinar see Pin basics and Pin story.
  • If you would like to save pins in EO Browser, you need an EO Browser account. You can sign up for a free account here.
  • EO Browser also supports the use of custom scripts to visualise satellite data.
  • To help you get started with custom scripting, we provide a beginner’s tutorial on basic custom scripting, Evalscript documentation for more complex scripting options such as multi-temporal scripting, and a custom script repository with numerous custom script examples that can be used immediately.
  • To help you get started, we have prepared a Pin Story guide describing the steps to register, how to get more data, create/export your pins, create a pin story and submit it.

To create your pin story, you can either use open satellite data collections, including Sentinel-1 GRD, Sentinel-1 CARD4L, Sentinel-2, and Landsat 8, or even high-resolution commercial data collections such as Pleiades, SPOT, PlanetScope and WorldView/GeoEye data (available over Dakar, Senegal). If you would like to get access to high-resolution data, you will need a Sentinel Hub account. See this page for more information about a free Sentinel Hub trial account and descriptions of dedicated data collections for the Contest.

Note that you can also select other areas in Africa to display your pin story, not just Dakar. While we only provide the high-resolution data over this specific location, you can show your pin story over other areas with the open data collections mentioned above.

Euro Data Cube tools for data scientists (registration required)

EDC team will provide each participant with access to a complete processing environment:

  • Hosted Jupyter Lab environment with standard Python libraries pre-installed for EO data processing and analysis, as well as computation and storage resources.
  • Access to xcube, a data cube toolkit for creating and processing data cubes from the provided data catalog.
  • Satellite data catalog including Sentinel-1 GRD, Sentinel-1 CARD4L, Sentinel-2, Landsat 8 and high-resolution commercial data collections. In partnership with Airbus, Planet and European Space Imaging we provide Pleiades, SPOT, PlanetScope and Maxar’s WorldView/GeoEye data over Dakar, Senegal.
  • To help you get started, we have prepared a Jupyter Notebook describing the steps to access all provided data, including basic processing examples.

Note that you can select other areas in Africa to display the functionality of your script, not just Dakar. While we only provide the high-resolution data over this specific location, you can demonstrate the functionality of your script over other areas with open data collections. See descriptions of dedicated data collections for the Contest here.

To get access to EDC tools you will need an EDC account. If you don’t have one yet, do create a free trial account here (and accept the EOxHub terms and conditions).

Registration and Submission


Register for the Contest by filling out the registration form. Completion of the form is mandatory for all entrants who would like to submit their custom scripts or pin stories. Read more about how to get started here.

If you are a journalist and you would need access to commercial data collections for your written story, you also need to register.

Registration form

Submit your custom script, pin story or written story

To submit a custom script, pin story or written story, you need a Gmail account. If you don’t have one, a new Gmail account can be created by following the instructions published here. With a Gmail account you can submit your script, pin story or written story by filling out the forms available at the following links:

Submit Custom Script Submit Pin Story Submit Written Story

Our Jury

Amanda O'Connor

Amanda O'Connor is a graduate from the University of Colorado with an M.S. in geology. She studied cross correlation of AVIRIS hyperspectral imagery and Landsat data for High Plains Vegetation Analysis in her thesis. Following graduation, she worked at Stennis Space Center on calibration projects, sensor noise simulations, and the commercialization of remote sensing. After her stint in Mississippi, she headed west to Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology based at Stanford University working for Greg Asner on tropical ecology projects using AVIRIS, Landsat, Hyperion, and LiDAR. There she became an expert at vegetation remote sensing and using imagery to extract robust scientific results combining multiple data sources. She has been with Harris Geospatial for 15 years in a variety of roles supporting government, commercial, and educational customers working on hard to solve remote sensing problems. Amanda took a brief break in 2019 and joined Teledyne Brown Engineering as the Director of Geospatial Solutions 2019 to support the DESIS hyperspectral mission on the International Space Station. She served as an IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society Distinguished Lecturer. Her latest spectral passion has been with marine debris detection and using spectral imagery in aquatic environments, but really any project which can be enhanced with spectral data will find her scheming a solution.

Benjamin Koetz

An Exploitation Engineer for European Space Agency - ESA’s Earth Observation programme, developing new applications for images taken of the Earth.

Douglas Mbura

Douglas Mbura is the CTO of Nairobi-based location Intelligence consulting company Geo-Appsmith. With a background in Environmental Engineering and 7 years of experience in GIS & Remote Sensing he is dedicated to building simplified solutions that provide meaningful insights. His current focus is on deploying intuitive solutions that meet the needs of under-served communities.

Edward Boamah

Edward Boamah works as the Technical Manager for Digital Earth Africa, where he supports institutions and countries within Africa to make use of the Earth Observation data for impact and decision making.

Harel Dan

Head of Remote Sensing and GIS at 4M-Analytics, a sub-surface utility mapping company. His skills are satellite and aerial imagery interpretation and analysis, as well as long-term surface trends, landcover and landcover change delineation, and a general interest in anything that can be observed from above, natural or man made.

Jessica McCarty

Dr. McCarty is an Assistant Professor of Geography at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, USA and has more than 15 years experience in applications of remote sensing and geospatial science to quantify wildland and human-caused fires, fire emissions, air quality, climate, agriculture and food security, and land-cover/land-use change. She is a NASA-funded PI and author or co-author of more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, 3 data citations, and 1 NASA Technology Transfer. Dr. McCarty has worked with international teams in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Rwanda, including as a technical expert in climate smart agriculture for the UN Environmental Programme's Climate and Clean Air Coalition and via NASA Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Sciences projects.

Krista West

Krista West is a San Diego State University/University of California, Santa Barbara Joint Doctoral Program student. She uses remote sensing technologies and imagery to learn more about landscapes and communities at risk of wildland fire. She is passionate about finding ways to help first responders.

Miha Kadunc

Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Sinergise

Wim Zwijnenburg

Wim Zwijnenburg is project leader Humanitarian Disarmament at the Dutch peace organisation PAX and is contributor to the open-source investigative journalism collective Bellingcat. His works focusses on environmental monitoring of armed conflicts through earth observation and open-source data collection to work towards improving humanitarian response and policy solutions on environment, peace and security. He is big fan and avid user of Sentinel Hub’s platforms since its genesis to demonstrate the utility of open earth-observation data for a wider audience and how this can empower affected communities, journalists and researchers in environmental monitoring.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Originality
  • Scientific relevance
  • Global applicability (scripts that can run on different parts of the world rank better)
  • Business/Commercial potential
  • Visual appeal

Burned areas after fires
Burned areas after fires - multi-temporal script showing places where NBR changed significantly before and after a fire. View script in Sentinel Playground.


  • How can I get access to commercial data that I can use for the purpose of this Contest?

    • To get access to commercial data with higher resolution, you will be asked to fill in a form which will be available at the beginning of the contest.
  • When and how will I be informed about results?

    • We will announce the winners of the Contest on this web page latest on 12th October 2021. However, everyone will also be informed by e-mail within 3 working days after the announcement.
  • Can I base the script on a publicly available research paper?

    • Yes, of course. We believe there is a lot of useful research available in the EO domain and it should be used to all its extent. You should however appropriately credit the work in the accompanying document.
  • Do I need to subscribe to Sentinel Hub to participate in the Contest?

    • No. EO Browser is a free tool. In case you need some advanced features (e.g. time-lapse, comparison, etc.), you can create a free account. If you would actually require Sentinel Hub web services to fine-tune your script, you can use a 30-days free trial option or simply send us an e-mail and we will ensure you can do your work.
  • My script stops working after it becomes too long.

    • There is indeed a technical limit on number of chars, which can be passed over HTTP. But no worries, there is a simple way to solve it.
  • I am more interested in sharing knowledge than a monetary prize. Should I still participate?

    • Of course, this is the main objective of this Contest. If you do not want to receive the prize, you can name a philanthropy organisation of your choice and we will donate the amount to them.
  • Can I submit scripts that just look nice?

    • The main goal of this action is to share knowledge. However, art is important as well and we all need to be aware of the beauty of our Planet, so go ahead!
  • If I do not win the prize, will my script still be added to the Custom Script repository?

    • We plan to add all the scripts that seem sound to the repository. We will also be publishing a stream of short blog posts about all interesting scripts.
  • I have submitted a script but now I want to correct it. What should I do?

    • No problem. Simply submit a new version of the script and state very clearly at the beginning that this submission is replacing a previous one.
  • Where can I get more information?

    • Ask a question on our Forum and we will respond ASAP.

See also Terms and Conditions of the Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contest for more details.