Terraform | Trace Invaders

Chicago, IL

Awards & Nominations

Terraform has received the following awards and nominations. Way to go!

Local Peoples' Choice Winner
Global Nominee

The Challenge | Trace Invaders

Develop a tool to trace invasive species in your neighborhood over time!


Track Invasive Species - Gather citizen-submitted data for your research study using our platform.


To track an invasive species, you want to empower citizens to mark a sighting. However, this can be logistically difficult to organize the submitted data and ensure its integrity. In addition, recruiting participants is a challenging endeavor and requires manual invites.

This problem is consistent across many types of research studies that track nature - migratory patterns, invasive species, landslides, etc.

Our approach is to provide a platform to run the technology behind conducting a field study with citizen participants. A principal investigator (PI) need not worry about setting up any technology as our platform will work out of the box. Instead, their focus is on analyzing the data collected.

In addition, our tool provides "insights" into the data collected. We analyze images to detect patterns and pull in historic environmental data. With this data, a scientist can uncover and determine the root cause of observed behavior.

On our platform the key features include:

  • Create an account and start a new study
  • Determine the data to be collected by participants
  • Invite participants via email
  • Participants download a mobile app and are linked to a study
  • Participants can submit observations, which automatically includes meta data (e.g. latitude, longitude, date, etc.) in addition to the user-submitted data like a photo or a description of the sighting.
  • Researcher can view observation details with system generated "insights"
  • Researcher can view all observations for a study and filter results
  • Researcher can export data in multiple formats (CSV, JSON)

Check out our platform here.

For this hack-a-thon, our team used the following tools:

  • Squarespace (marketing site hosting)
  • GitHub (code collaboration)
  • Heroku (app hosting)
  • Xcode (Native iPhone app)
  • Slack (team communication)
  • Rails (researcher application and API)
  • Postgres (database)

SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.