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Sprints are 12-week product development cycles where we bring together tech teams and collaborators to build digital products using open data.

2020 Earth Sprints


This year, teams are leveraging technology and open data to solve challenges related to the natural and built environment, such as disaster response, sustainable energy and communities, the blue economy, and more.


Natural Environments Sprint


This cohort focuses on challenges related to the natural environment, including reducing plastic pollution and developing markets for recycled materials.

Federal agency partner(s). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The challenge. Develop innovative digital solutions that connect domestic recycling facilities with manufacturers to enhance recycling markets and increase the use of recycled materials.

Target audience. U.S. recycling facilities and manufacturers looking to produce, sell, and buy quality recycled materials; rural or tribal communities; organizations and state and local governments striving to improve their recycling facilities and infrastructure.

Federal agency partner(s). U.S. Department of State & The Wilson Center

The challenge. Create open data sets and engaging digital tools that complement existing citizen science plastics data, to help the public understand the amount of plastic on local beaches and in the ocean, where such plastic comes from, and actions that can be taken to alleviate the problem.

Target audience. Engaged citizens passionate about reducing plastic pollution, rural or tribal communities, as well as policymakers, advocates, and researchers

Federal agency partner(s). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The challenge. Create tools to help communities understand how transportation-caused pollution contributes to emissions, local air quality, and health, as well as the actions available to lessen these impacts.

Target audience. Engaged citizens and the general public, especially those at higher risk for respiratory illnesses (e.g., individuals over 65, children, those with respiratory ailments), urban populations and communities (e.g., high transportation traffic areas), rural or tribal communities, and motorized vehicles users.

Federal agency partner(s). U.S. Department of Agriculture

The challenge. Create digital tools that provide farmers, ranchers, and researchers with timely access to National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) data to help them make important agricultural and planning decisions.

Target audience. Farmers, ranchers, engaged citizens, rural or tribal communities, emergency managers, state and local government, federal agencies, university researchers.


Built Environments Sprint


This cohort focuses on challenges related to the built environment, including increasing families’ economic self-sufficiency and rural economic development.

Federal agency partner(s). U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development

The challenge. Create digital collaboration platforms that enable low income families to holistically assess their needs and connect with the best federal, state and local programs to equip and empower them toward self-sufficiency and economic mobility.

Target audience. Low to moderate income heads of households; case managers; guidance counselors; life coaches; community and ministry leaders; service providers; philanthropic organizations; federal, state and local government service program managers, policy makers, legislators

Federal agency partner(s). USA for UNHCR

The challenge. Create a tool that connects resettled refugees with resources and vital services, such as access to medical care and mental health treatment, English language learning, job training, education, etc. These resources might be available through government agencies, nonprofits, community based organizations, private sector actors and the like.

Target audience. Resettled refugees in the United States, nonprofits that provide help to refugees

Federal agency partner(s). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The challenge. Create digital tools that help rural communities access and use data to implement solutions to economic, environmental, and human health challenges, taking care to reach places that have limited professional capacity and small budgets.

Target audience. Local officials or other local decision makers; regional planning groups; rural or tribal communities; communities that have been impacted by recent pandemic outfall, loss of key industry, and/or extreme weather events are suggested.

Federal agency partner(s). Office of Management & Budget

The challenge. Create digital tools and resources to track federal financial assistance award spending starting from Federal awards and flowing down to state and/or local spend in response to one or more emergencies and disasters (e.g., COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters)

Target audience. American public, researchers, engaged citizens, state/local communities, rural or tribal communities, grant/loan recipients, small businesses, managers of disaster funds, appropriators

lecture hall


University sprint


This cohort focuses on the same challenges from the natural and built environment sprints but primarily includes university-based teams.






2020 Census Sprint


Create digital tools and resources to help get out the count during the 2020 Census. Challenges include: Bridging the digital divide, Increasing digital literacy, Promoting 2020 Census jobs, and Reaching hard-to-count communities.

Catalyzing Investment in Opportunity Zones


Teams from companies, universities, and more sign up to build digital products that use federal open data to help solve these challenges.

Modernizing Talent Discovery for High Growth Entrepreneurship


Create digital tools or open sourced data to transform talent discovery, matching, and retention in mid-size cities across the country, to help them achieve innovation and regional economic growth.

Resources to Unleash American Entrepreneurship


Develop tools to empower entrepreneurs and innovation ecosystem builders to find and navigate the variety of resources available across the federal government.

Helping the American Workforce Leverage Multiple Pathways for Career Growth


Create digital tools that help American workers to consider and take advantage of the multiple pathways available to find or advance in careers, from making alternative pathways more attractive to making opportunities more discoverable

Promoting Access to and Interest in STEM Fields


Develop tools for parents and students that promote students’ interest in STEM and empower them to pursue STEM education locally.

Helping States Develop Education Report Cards


Develop parent-friendly, scalable approaches to communicating data about public schools that drive insight and engagement—and meet the requirements of a recent federal law.

Using AI to Connect Veterans with Registered Apprenticeships


Develop tools that use artificial intelligence algorithms or natural language processing technology to match veterans to registered apprenticeship programs.

Increasing Government Accountability by Connecting Federal Spending and Performance Data


Develop public facing tools that link federal spending and performance (or outcome) data to provide comprehensive insight into the use of federal taxpayer dollars across programs.

Improving Access to and Management of Federal Grants


Develop tools that expand on existing systems to help grant recipients manage the entire grants lifecycle, helping grant managers and recipients search for opportunities, streamline reporting, and assess risks.

Using Geospatial Data to Help People Prepare for Disasters


Create digital tools that use data to help individuals and community leaders gain a better understanding of national and community hazards and threats and enable the public to take appropriate preparedness actions.

Harnessing Data and Leveraging Digital Tools to Combat the Opioid Crisis


Create digital tools and data sharing capabilities to support decisions across stakeholders responding to the opioid crisis, such as public health, public safety, law enforcement, community groups, the private sector, and individuals.

Helping Tribal, State, and Local Governments with Local Address Data Collection


Develop resources that help tribal, state, and local governments to create and maintain open address point data.

Identifying and Strengthening Civic Environmental Stewardship


Develop tools that visualize and provide access to the patterns, overlaps, and gaps in environmental stewardship efforts in order to identify groups that support community quality of life and strengthen community resilience.

Making Federal Grants Data User-Friendly for Local Leaders


Create digital tools for Federal financial assistance that help local leaders navigate and manage Federal grants.

Engaging Communities in the Census


Create digital tools that enable individuals and communities to see and experience the value of the Census in order to increase participation in the Census.

Youth Homelessness


Digital tools that better our understanding of where our homeless pre K-12 students are enrolled and how well we are serving them.

Veterans Homelessness and Employment


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is focused on ensuring that we end homelessness for our veterans and support them in the most effective way possible.

Increasing Safety and Mobility Across the Nation


Community advocates often have a difficult time synthesizing/disseminating complete information about issues their neighborhoods are facing. Without good data, these advocates have a hard time effectively engaging with their local governments to drive meaningful change in their community.

Supporting Decision-making for Student Sub-populations and their Families


Certain mobile or disconnected student populations entering or reentering the community could greatly benefit from data and resources to support their wellbeing and success.

Identifying Equity Scores and Gaps


Develop tools that leverage data to help stakeholders understand where educational inequities exist.

View of a city skyline at night

Ending Homelessness


Develop tools to connect potential landlords with the providers of Rapid Rehousing services to the homeless.

Promoting Health and Wellbeing Nationwide


Parents and community leaders could benefit from evidence-based tools that provide information regarding Emotional Well-Being and cultivate individual and community-level EWB.

Accessing Apprenticeships


Job seekers who are looking for apprenticeship opportunities within their communities or in specific areas are currently unable to identify Registered Apprenticeships (RA) training/job openings.

Connecting Americans to Skills and Jobs


Unlocking workforce data can make it easier for Americans who are chronically unemployed or underemployed to find and access new training and job opportunities.

Small Town Resource Guide


Many small towns lack the capacity/human capital to take advantage of programs (e.g. grants and low cost loans for broadband, health facilities, water systems, businesses, housing) for which they are eligible.

Summer Food Programs


During the academic year, many students rely on school meals for breakfast and lunch. In the summer, students and families seek a reliable alternative, but information on summer meals sites is often lacking.