New HeroX Big Ocean Button Challenge Seeks Data Apps to Turn Vast Amounts of Ocean Data into Useful Products and Services

Crowdsourcing Competition to Award $100,000 for Big Ocean Mobile App Innovations

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - November 10, 2016) - HeroX today launched the Big Ocean Button Challenge -- a crowdsourcing competition to find breakthroughs that transform big ocean data into useful mobile applications. Sponsored by XPRIZE and a follow-on to the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, the Big Ocean Button Challenge announced at BlueTech Week in San Diego hosted by the Maritime Alliance, utilizes the HeroX Challenge Platform to seek new solutions for organizing and broadcasting ocean data with application innovations in five categories: Fishing, Shipping and Trade, Ocean Acidification, Public Safety and Exploration.

"Terabytes of data are collected everyday by the ocean community, but only a small fraction are shared with the public through useful apps and services," said Matt Mulrennan, manager of XPRIZE's Ocean Initiative. "With billions of people around the world relying on ocean resources from seafood to shipping to recreation, unlocking this wealth of data to catalyze a multibillion-dollar blue economy in ocean data products and services will radically transform how we connect with and protect our precious seas."

"We are on the edge of an exciting emergence of a new blue economy, one that's based on information and environmental intelligence," said Dr. Rick Spinrad, Chief Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "As with the growth of commercial weather services, the development of value-added information about the ocean is bound to become a fruitful economic sector, supporting such diverse communities as public health, transportation, emergency services, and energy."

"There is a tremendous gap between available ocean data and the market for products that can make use of that vital information," said HeroX CEO, Christian Cotichini. "The Big Ocean Button Challenge has so many potential and important business and social outcomes. HeroX will apply its powerful crowdsourcing strategy: Using social media to mobilize bold thinkers, empower their collaboration and drive incredible solutions. This challenge could lead to new industries that tackle some of the world's most daunting problems."

Prize Amounts and Categories

$15,000 will be awarded to winning Big Ocean Button Challenge competitors in each of the following ocean data application prize categories:

  • Fishing -- sustainable use and management of fishing, seafood traceability, species identification, combating illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing, or enforcement of marine protected areas.
  • Shipping & Trade -- ship tracking, efficiency of trade routes, citizen science, port information, available docks, uses for empty shipping containers.
  • Ocean Acidification -- Apps related to an early warning/alert system about changing pH levels and the potential impacts to local biology and marine resources. This is a follow on to the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.
  • Public Safety -- public health and recreation, water quality, tsunami/tide warnings, jellyfish blooms, beach closures.
  • Exploration -- bathymetry (seafloor maps), bio-prospecting for medicines, education, species discovery, and biodiversity.

Bonus prizes will also be awarded for:

  • Best conservation app -- $5,000
  • Best education app -- $5,000
  • Best app integrating multiple data sets -- $5,000
  • Judge's Pick -- $10,000

This challenge was first announced at the gala dinner of BlueTech Week in San Diego, hosted by the Maritime Alliance, an event of leaders in the blue economy to highlight case studies of collaboration in blue technology clusters from around the world.

The Big Ocean Button Challenge is open to competitors worldwide beginning today through March 31, 2017. Winners will be announced by early 2018. For more information about the Big Ocean Button Challenge, please visit To learn more about XPRIZE's Ocean Initiative, please visit:

About HeroX

Founded in 2013, HeroX exists at the intersection of crowdsourcing, competition and collaboration, using each to drive positive change. A suite of tools and services to help spark and build awareness for new solutions to social and economic challenges, the HeroX incentive prize platform connects funding companies and individuals with problem solvers.

Twitter: @Iamherox



XPRIZE is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world's grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowd-sourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies as a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. XPRIZE's philosophy is that -- under the right circumstances -- igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu and Naveen Jain XPRIZE. For more information, visit

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