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    Leo Camacho: Costa Rica Space App Champion Recognized by NASA

    By Bruce Callow

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    Learn about Space App CR 2020 coming up this October

    Meet multi award winning Costa Rican tech educator and innovator Leo Camacho. Leo grew up in San Jose and completed his elementary and high school education at Saint Claire and his university studies at the university of Costa Rica.

    Last May Leo participated in the COVID-19 Space Apps challenge 2020 in which 15,000 people from 150 countries tried to solve COVID-19 related challenges using data from NASA, the European Space Agency, and other space agencies. Leo’s COVID Atlas project was selected among the Global Finalists and received an Honorable Mention. This is only the latest in a growing list of tech awards he has received. Others have come from SW Korea, IMF, and the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon..

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    The COVID Atlas project is a risk measurement platform designed to assist populations and governments in making informed decisions on pandemic events by combining satellite imagery, economic data, statistics, and infection rate tracking in near real-time, to better predict risk levels in different areas. Since it’s beginning in 2012, NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge has grown into the world’s largest global Hackathon allowing thousands of people to develop innovative solutions for future challenges on Earth and in space.

    Most of Leo’s courses, talks, contributions and code repositories are available online on Github: https://github.com/leoaiassistant.


    Leo, what involvement have Costa Ricans had in past App competitions?

    In the past I have seen Space Apps challenges in our country organized by the Costa Rica Institute of Technology. This year since the global event was online, I participated in the competition and our submission received an Honorable Mention Award in the COVID19 Space Apps challenge.

    How did you get started in Space Apps competitions?

    I am the founder of Global Hackathons http://globalhackathons.co/ a global network of builders and developers interested in global competitions around the world. Here, I met my team for the COVID19 Space Apps challenge. Then I started getting more involved with the Space Apps program; and created open source projects and tutorials using NASA APIs services such as Satellite Imagery for accessing data such as earth air quality, temperature, storms, volcanic hazards, among many others.


    Please tell us a bit more about yourself.

    I’m a certified tech educator and studied at the University of Costa Rica. I specialized in  Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies, and I am also very passionate about virtual assistants, automation, and voice interfaces. During my free time, I love to write and create content for my channels such as Planeta Chatbot: https://planetachatbot.com/@BuildActions the largest magazine about artificial intelligence and virtual assistants for Spanish-speaking audiences.


    Any advice for young Costa Ricans interested in getting involved for the first time in SpaceApps competitions?


    We are living a historical moment through digital technologies. It’s the first time in human history that builders, thinkers, and doers have the possibility to build platforms, Apps, software, and other intelligent technologies by using NASA open-source resources to build custom developments, models, and many other impactful solutions. Don’t miss the chance to start learning about the most powerful technologies and specialize in the careers of the present and the years to come.  

    Space Apps CR 2020 is coming up next month! Here are the details.

    From October 2 to 4, Space Apps CR 2020: https://nasaspaceappscr.globalhackathons.co/ organized by Global Hackathons with the support of the CFIA Aerospace Commission, invites Developers, Entrepreneurs, Scientists, Designers, Creators and Technologists to the world’s largest Aerospace Hackathon in the world! Help solve global challenges that we face on earth and in space using NASA data and open source technologies. The event is free. Invite your family, friends, and colleagues, and learn more about the latest technological trends. Register your spot now they are limited: https://2020.spaceappschallenge.org/locations/san-jose/event/

    The competition will be supported by mentors and experts such as: Ronald Chang Díaz, the CFIA Aerospace Commission, Carlos Enrique Alvarado, Leo Camacho, Daniel Hernández,and Camilo M  among many others.


    The 2020 Global Challenges are:

    i) Observing the Earth using satellite technologies and make them accessible to decision-making scientists and the public,

    ii) Informing about new ways of aggregating scientific and historical information,

    iii) Creating a sustainable future for future generations,

    iv ) Raising awareness,

    v) Managing natural disasters and economic and social inequality,

    vi) Connecting people with space missions

    vii) Inventing your own challenge!

    Learn more about the challenges, registration, dates, resources, among other requirements by going to: https://nasaspaceappscr.globalhackathons.co/

    Bruce Callow

    Bruce Callow is a Canadian teacher and co-author of the book To the Stars: Costa Rica in NASA. He does space education outreach work on behalf of NASA.

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