Putting satellite data to work on identifying informal settlements in South Africa

A collaboration between Zindi, Amazon Web Services and the South African National Space Agency has yielded a machine learning model that can identify informal settlements from satellite imagery. This tool will help the South African government with planning, providing essential services, and preventing crime in underserved communities across the country.

The image on the left shows the type of satellite data used in the competition; the image on the right shows the models’ pediction of informal settlements (blue). Image credit: Zindi.

Employing the experts

In June 2020, Zindi hosted a hackathon using SANSA data and AWS virtual machines. We invited more than 150 of our best users — Zindians with proven computer vision expertise and success in previous competitions — to take part in this prestigious weekend-long event. They were competing for $1000 USD and a chance to make the world a better place, using virtual machines sponsored by AWS for the computing power needed for machine learning engineering.

Putting data to work

Zindi and SANSA are working together to put these models into practice.

Zindi is a competition platform hosting a community of data scientists dedicated to solving Africa’s toughest challenges through machine learning & AI