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 has ended on 5th September 2021. See results here and 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.

Urban Growth in Africa Contest

This special edition of the Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contest started on 3rd May 2021 and ended at midnight on 5th September 2021. The objective of this activity was 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 were 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. Participants explored 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.


The results of the Fourth Custom Script Contest - Urban Growth in Africa - can be found at the following link:


Congratulations to all the winners and we hope to see your entries in the next Contest.


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

If participants didn’t have skills to create a script, they could use EO data provided to either write a matching story or create a pin story!

We were 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

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 provided a range of tools suitable for each skill level.

EO Browser

  • Participants got free access to all features of EO Browser, a powerful tool for exploring satellite data collections.
  • To get started quickly with EO Browser, we recommended 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 could 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). Note that you could also select other areas in Africa to display your pin story, not just Dakar. While we only provided the high-resolution data over this specific location, you could 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 provided 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 could select other areas in Africa to display the functionality of your script, not just Dakar. While we only provided the high-resolution data over this specific location, you could demonstrate the functionality of your script over other areas with open data collections. To get access to EDC tools you needed an EDC account.

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.