Crowdsourcing has been used to help make everything from movies to music recordings, and now it just might help figure out how best to avoid icebergs. The Centre for Cold Ocean Research Engineering and Norwegian energy company Statoil recently kicked off the Iceberg Classifier Challenge to find an "algorithm that automatically identifies if a remotely sensed target is a ship or iceberg." According to the competition home page, in areas with extremely harsh weather, aerial reconnaissance and shore-based support systems may not be feasible, meaning companies and organizations must rely on satellites to identify objects in the water. The group that comes up with the best way to identify icebergs on satellite images will win $50,000, CBC reports.
More than 1000 teams signed up even before the competition was made official last week. Many of the teams hail from China, Russia, and Silicon Valley. "We are absolutely flabbergasted. We were expecting maybe a couple hundred teams," said Desmond Power, C-CORE's vice-president of remote sensing. (Read more icebergs stories.)