The Settlers | Dictionary of Earth

Space Apps Napoli

The Challenge | Dictionary of Earth

Develop a creative way for the public and scientists alike to learn the definitions of Earth-related scientific and technical terms, using the power of crowdsourcing.

Project EarthBase

An open-source framework to create cross-platform apps to read, submit and share entries explaining NASA findings on Earth without having to worry about formatting text or explaining terms and acronyms

The Settlers

Our team was born from the shared experience of being students of the iOS Developer Academy of Naples and a common, shared love for the mysteries of the cosmos. Also, and even more importantly, a willingness to test ourselves in this totally new experience and push ourselves beyond our current limits. Of course, we aimed for victory but improving ourselves is equally important for us.

After the team came together, we threw around a lot of ideas before choosing the "Dictionary of Earth" Challenge as one we would tackle during this event. We chose it because we were interested in the aspect of learning about the many, many mysteries of space and Earth that NASA uncovered since its foundation.

Our proposed solution is an API meant to let developers create, on any sort of mobile devices, an "ad-hoc" client meant to interface itself with a shared database on a remote server which will store all entries created by the users through the apps which make use of the API itself.

The API will allow to organise users hierarchically and to let only those users who have a proper level of competency (ascertained by the database admins from the data submitted by the applicant itself through a specific form) to add/edit new entries: the rest of the registered users will have to wait until their submission is reviewed and approved by the certified ones and/or the admins themselves before it will be inserted in the database.

Moreover, the entries inputted through apps using the API will be auto-formatted, thus sparing the user this further encumbrance.

Aside from that we also included two ways to manage NASA acronyms and make them more understandable by the general public: the first is to include the function to "tag" acronyms in the entries themselves so that, when the user taps/hovers on them, a pop-up appears, showing their meaning to the user. The API also handles the disambiguation between acronyms during the entry creation/editing phase.

The second one is, at the same time, a proposal: a QR Code Scanner which will allow to scan QR Codes, created from all acronyms and assigned in a first moment to tools and materials connected to them, in order to know in real time the meaning of a specific acronym or technical expression.

Lastly, we used MySQL to create the database, PHP to manage it and JSON to take care of the data exchange between client and server.

All the code was written using Swift because of it being both lightweight and incredibly safe from a "code safety" perspective.

Hopefully our proposal could allow data gleaned from NASA researches on Earth to be more easily understood by a wider public.

Used resources:





Adobe Photoshop





SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.