Five teams were rewarded in KvarkenSat Innovation Challenge 2022 – Team Gaenseliesel won the hackathon

The KvarkenSat Innovation Challenge on sustainable forestry was held in March 2022. The idea of this hackathon was to combat the climate change in sustainable forestry with help of space-based data.

This hackathon was open for students, startups, and researchers. The organisers searched for solutions for four different themes:

  1. The need for more timely estimations of soil moisture.
  2. Changes in species habitats: prevent damage caused by spruce bark beetles.
  3. How to reduce forest ground caused by forest machines.
  4. New digital concepts for the forestry value chain.

12 teams joined the hackathon, and nine of them stayed until the end and proposed their solution to the jury.  27 mentors from different organisations were helping these competing teams in their efforts.

And the winners are…

The jury of the KvarkenSat Innovation Challenge had a tough job when choosing the winning teams. In the end, they decided to give five prizes instead of only three.

  1. The 1st place went to Team Gaenseliesel (team 8). Their proposal was the overall best on.
  2. Team 5, OmaForest, took the 2nd They made the best progress during the hackathon.
  3. Team number 12, TreePlanter XY, won the 3rd place with their very good commercial potential.
  4. Team Katam (number 9) had the most mature proposal. They got the 4th
  5. The 5th place went to team Routify (6) since they had the most innovative use of data sets.

Thank you

The Kvarken Space Economy team is very thankful to all the sponsors and project partners for the support received during the hackathon planning process and the hackathon weekend!

The golden sponsors were Metsä Group, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skogstekniska Klustret (The Cluster of Forest Technology), University of Vaasa, and Stora Enso.

The silver sponsors were IBM Finland, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA), Metsäteho, Holmen Skog, and Linnaeus University.

The bronze sponsors were Sveaskog, Umeå Universitet Holding AB, Bitcomp, VASEK, and National Forest Data Lab.

The supportive partners were Metsäkeskus (Finnish Forest Centre), LUKE (Natural Resources Institute Finland), ESA Business Incubation Centre Finland (ESA BIC), ESA Business Incubation Centre Sweden (ESA BIC), and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

We want to thank all the teams and participants and our hackathon organizer Ultrahack.

The recording of the pre-hack webinar is available, as well as the recording of the ForestryTEP technical briefing.

All the presentations from the weekend are also available online.

This was said during the hackathon

Among all the other things, for example this was said during and after the hackathon weekend:

“The hackathon was ‘challenging’ to say the least, but also a lot of fun. The limited-time period required us to work effectively as a team – which we did. We were able to divide responsibility amongst ourselves, splitting the respective tasks in accordance with our individual strengths. Along with great mentoring, we were able to align our efforts with the problem description of the challenge quite effectively and ended up creating an innovative solution and a neat pitch presentation.

Marian’s previous research projects already focused on the prediction of soil moisture, e.g. by using topographic indices and early investigations of spatiotemporal soil moisture models. In their solution, the spatial shortcomings of satellite retrieved soil moisture data and the temporal shortcoming of static soil moisture maps were overcome by in fact combining the merits of both. The high temporal resolution of the satellite data was integrated with the high spatial resolution of a static map.”

– Team Ganseliesel


“This hackathon experience is like a study journey where people get to know the forest step by step. The mentors were great. The mentors interpret many details about the current satellite-based forest growth detection -technique and provide useful feedback on their idea. The mentors gave us almost lecture-type Q&A sessions patiently, and a lot beyond expectation. They solved our confusion and completed our ideas with their expertise in the area. The data provided by F-TEP was useful and enlightening. The most important thing is we learned a lot by talking with mentors and forest care professionals, and that is also how we build the fundamentals of our idea.

We are all from a Computer Science background. The challenge allows us to utilize satellite data. We rarely have access to this kind of data. This challenge was a good opportunity to gain knowledge. As developers, we would also like to have the experience to develop an application in this area. Therefore, we wish to figure out a clearer customer journey for future potential customers, to dig out the benefits to raise the attention and arouse the forest owner’s interest to take care of their forest. This is what we tried to do in OmaForest’s website design. We wish all information including the profits estimation is available with a few clicks. Besides, protecting nature is always beneficial.”

– Team OmaForest


“The experience was interesting and fruitful considering the development and digital transformation of forest services. I obtained information about the hackathon from my colleague, and as the hackathon fit my research profile and mission, I considered the task relevant through my ongoing project OpenForData. Considering the transfer of research knowledge, tackling the challenges and bottlenecks of forestry, as well as finding new solutions for them, the event may be regarded as beneficial.”

– Ville Kankaanhuhta, Mentor & Theme 4 leader, LUKE


“The events like these are a good way to spread information and knowledge of the (Forestry TEP online processing) platform in academia and start-ups, among mentors, early professionals, and students. These types of events help to stay updated on the main interest areas in Earth Observation-based forest monitoring in academia and private companies. During the events, we get good feedback on the usability of the platform and further development need.”

– Jukka Miettinen, Mentor, VTT