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Challenge Agricultural Field Delineation from Satellite Imagery

Agricultural Field Delineation from Satellite Imagery

STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 143
Posted: Oct 24 2018
Challenge ID: 9933930
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The Seeker desires ideas for a system that can rapidly, accurately, and automatically delineate agricultural field outlines from multiple satellite imagery sources every year, storing the results in an efficient data structure for year to year comparison and aggregation into common land units (CLU). The proposed system should be applicable to large homogenous fields typical of the Midwestern United States as well as heterogeneous fields typically found in sub-Saharan Africa

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.

Approved for Public Release, 19-021


World agricultural output must continue to increase to meet the demand of the growing population. Remote sensing, especially from satellite resources, has been of tremendous value in tracking agricultural productivity and estimating farm yields by observing changes in plant health. However these techniques only inform us of plant health and its correlate to productivity, and not the more complex farming and crop system practices. Field boundaries, as seen as a unit of production, could provide this insight into how farm practices are changing. This information though is only valuable at regional to continental scales, and if done repeatably. So far many studies have focused on small geographic areas, with only a few tackling large scale areas. These approaches are also biased to either extreme of agriculture field size – the large homogenous fields of the Midwestern US or the heterogeneous fields of sub-Saharan African.

The Seeker for this Challenge, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), is soliciting ideas for a system that can rapidly, accurately, and automatically delineate agricultural field outlines from satellite imagery. The proposed system must ideally be applicable to large homogenous fields typical of the Midwestern United States as well as heterogeneous fields typically found in sub-Saharan Africa.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $15,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $1,000.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on November 19, 2018. 

Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.


Participation in this Challenge is open to individuals and private entities.  Entries may only be submitted by a registered participant.

  • May not be a Federal entity
  • May not be a Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.  Federal employees may not pursue an application while in the Federal workplace or while on duty.
  • Employees of NGA and NGA support contractors directly supporting the development or execution of this challenge, including their spouses and dependents for tax year 2018, are not eligible to participate.
  • Federal grantees may not use Federal funds to develop challenge applications unless consistent with the purpose of their grant award.
  • Federal contractors may not use Federal funds from a contract to develop challenge applications or to fund efforts in support of a challenge submission.
  • May not be a judge of the Challenge, or any other party involved in the design, production, execution, or distribution of the Challenge or the immediate family of such a party (i.e. spouse, parent, step-parent, child, or step-child).


The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) delivers world-class geospatial intelligence that provides a decisive advantage to warfighters, policymakers, intelligence professionals and first responders. Anyone who fights wars, locates targets, sails a U.S. ship, flies a U.S. aircraft, makes national policy decisions, responds to natural disasters, or even navigates with a cell phone relies on NGA. NGA enables all these critical actions and shapes decisions that impact our world through the indis­pensable discipline of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). NGA is a unique combination of intelligence agency and combat support agency. It is the world leader in timely, relevant, accurate and actionable GEOINT. NGA enables the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of Defense (DOD) to fulfill the president’s national security priorities that protect the nation. NGA also anticipates its partners’ future needs and advances the GEOINT discipline to meet them. NGA is the lead federal agency for GEOINT and manages a global consortium of more than 400 commercial and government relationships.

Approved for Public Release, 19-021

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

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