Snowcast Showdown: Evaluation Stage Hosted By Bureau of Reclamation
SUBMIT HERE FOR 2022 PREDICTIONS AND PRIZES! Seasonal snowpack is a critical water resource throughout the Western U.S. Help the Bureau of Reclamation estimate snow water equivalent (SWE) at a high spatiotemporal resolution using near real-time data sources.
About the project
View of a SNOTEL site from U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.
This challenge uses remote sensing data, manual snow measurements, and climate information to estimate SWE at a high spatiotemporal resolution. New and improved SWE estimates built upon existing ground, air, and space-based technologies will improve water supply forecasts, helping reservoir operators to manage limited water supplies and respond to extreme weather events.
Ground-based measurements of SWE
Ground-based methods measure snow in a single location or in a small area. Most ground-based methods use basic technologies like a stick or tube to physically measure snow depth. While these measures are considered highly accurate, they typically require a person to visit a location that may be difficult to access on a regular basis. For over 80 years, a network of in situ instruments managed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) called snow courses have been used to monitor snowpacks.
In the late 1970s, manually measured snow courses were augmented by automated snow and weather stations (most notably the NRCS SNOTEL stations network). SNOTEL stations measure SWE using a technology called a snow pillow, which uses a flexible bladder filled with antifreeze to convert fluid pressure into weight. These stations provide continuous readings throughout the snow accumulation and runoff seasons, but are spatially limited and can face challenging maintenance issues. Volunteer networks of weather observers around the US help to supplement this data using low-cost tools to map and measure precipitation.
Air and space-based measurements of SWE
The Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) methodology, developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and now commercially available (ASO, Inc.) uses an aircraft-based imaging spectrometer to measure differences between snow-covered and snow-free surfaces. ASO combines lidar-derived snow depth with albedo estimates to model SWE at a high level of accuracy, though flight timing and coverage is not guaranteed.
Polar-orbiting sensors have become invaluable for monitoring seasonal snowpack because they provide rich information where ground measures are unavailable. Remote sensing techniques derive characteristics of snowpack by measuring the spectral signature, or reflectance and variation, of electromagnetic radiation. Per-pixel snow coverage, or fractional snow-covered area (fSCA), is an important snow measure that can be retrieved from multispectral satellite imagery. Despite the many advantages of satellite data, corrections are required in shallow snowpack, forested areas, and complex terrain. For more information on space-based remote sensing for snow monitoring, we suggest checking out this helpful journal article.
About the Bureau of Reclamation
Reclamation employees deliver reliable water and hydropower for the western United States.
Established in 1902, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is best known for the dams, power plants, and canals it constructed in the 17 Western U.S. states. These water projects led to homesteading and promoted the economic development of the West. Reclamation has constructed more than 600 dams and reservoirs including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and Grand Coulee on the Columbia River.
Today, Reclamation is the largest wholesaler of water in the country. It brings water to more than 31 million people, and provides one out of five Western farmers (140,000) with irrigation water for 10 million acres of farmland that produce 60% of the nation's vegetables and 25% of its fruits and nuts. Reclamation is also the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the US. Its 53 power plants annually provide more than 40 billion kilowatt hours generating nearly a billion dollars in power revenues and produce enough electricity to serve 3.5 million homes.
Reclamation is a water management agency with a Strategic Plan outlining numerous programs, initiatives and activities that will help the Western U.S. meet new water needs and balance the multitude of competing uses of water in the West. Its mission is to assist in meeting the increasing water demands of the West while protecting the environment and the public’s investment in these structures. Reclamation emphasizes fulfilling water delivery, water conservation, water recycling and reuse, and finding ways to bring together interests to address the competing needs for limited water resources.
Reclamation operates and maintains water and power projects in 17 Western U.S. states:
You can learn more here:
Snowcast Showdown: Evaluation Stage: Rules and Terms of Data Use
DrivenData Competition Rules
One account per participant
You cannot sign up to DrivenData from multiple accounts and therefore you cannot submit from multiple accounts.
Private sharing of code
Privately sharing code or data outside of teams is not permitted.
Winner License Type: Open Source License
Winning solutions need to be made available under The MIT License (an open source software license commonly described at http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT) in order to be eligible for recognition and prize money if offered.
Documentation for winning solutions
Winning solutions must be documented using the Winning Model Documentation Template provided to top-ranking participants in order to be eligible for recognition and prize money if offered.
The number of submissions per day is restricted to a fixed value on a per-competition basis. Any attempt to circumvent this limit will result in disqualification.
External data is not allowed unless otherwise approved explicitly on these competition pages. Participants agree to make no attempt to use additional data or data sources not provided on these competition pages.
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Selection of winners
This Competition is a challenge of skill and the final results are determined by evaluating a combination of quantitative and qualitative factors, as more fully described on the Competition Website. For that portion of the Competition evaluated quantitatively, the results will be determined solely by leaderboard ranking on the private leaderboard based on an objective statistical evaluation metric published on the Competition Website prior to commencement of the Competition (subject to compliance with these Competition Rules). Participants' scores and ranks on the Competition Website at any given stage of the Competition will be based on the objective statistical evaluation metric described on the Competition Website, as determined by applying the predictions in the Submission to the ground truth of a validation dataset whose instances were a fixed set sampled from the Data. Scores displayed on the public leaderboard while the competition is running may or may not be the same as the final scores on the private leaderboard, depending on how samples from the Data are used for evaluation. For that portion of the Competition evaluated qualitatively, the results will be determined by a panel of judges, as more fully described on the Competition Website. As more fully described on the Competition Website, the Competition may have a quantitative winner, a qualitative winner, a combined quantitative and qualitative winner, or all three.
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- disqualify your Submission(s); or
- require that you remediate within one week any issues identified in your Submission(s) (including, without limitation, the resolution of license conflicts and confirmation of the fulfillment of all obligations required by software licenses). DrivenData is under no obligation to alert you of any issues with your Submission or permit you to remediate any identified issues.
A tie between two or more valid and identically ranked submissions will be resolved in favor of the tied submission that was submitted first.
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Prizes and conditions
If the Competition has a prize, the Prize Winner(s) will be notified within 10 days of the end of the Competition on the Competition Website. The Prize Winner(s) will receive their prizes awarded as a check or electronic transfer from DrivenData.
If a Team wins a prize, all Team members must submit a single written statement describing how the prize is to be allocated among the Team members. If the Team fails to submit such statement within 10 days after DrivenData requests it, then DrivenData will distribute the prize among Team members in equal shares and will have no further obligation to winning Team members.
As a condition of receipt of a prize, winner must deliver their solution’s code and documentation to DrivenData. The source code must contain a description of resources required to build and run the solution, and should be able to sufficiently reproduce winning results and generate predictions on new data samples with and without retraining. The accompanying documentation should be consistent with DrivenData’s Winning Model Documentation Template, which will be provided to winners after the competition.
The prize may be awarded to an alternate winner if required documentation is not returned within fifteen (15) days after mailing to winner, if prize notification letter/email or prize is returned as undeliverable, if winner does not respond to an email or other communication from DrivenData within seven (7) days of the date sent, or if the winner, in DrivenData’s judgment, does not respond to reasonable requests for information related to prize delivery or is otherwise unable or unwilling to coordinate prize delivery within fifteen (15) days after prize notification. Allow thirty (30) days for prize delivery. By accepting any prize/award, Winner agrees to allow DrivenData and/or the Competition Sponsor to disclose Winner’s first name, first initial of last name, and city of residence, as well as prize information to the extent required by law, and if so required by law, Winner agrees to the disclosure of additional personal information, all without additional compensation.
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As a further condition of receipt of a Prize, each winning Participant thereby licenses their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission according to the Winner License/Assignment Type specified above (note: if no Winner License/Assignment Type is specified above, the Winner License/Assignment Type is deemed to be Non-Exclusive License).
NON-EXCLUSIVE LICENSE. If the Winner License/Assignment Type for the Competition (see Winner License/Assignment Type above) is a Non-Exclusive License then each Winner by accepting a Prize thereby:
- grants to Competition Sponsor and its designees a worldwide, non-exclusive, sub-licensable, transferable, fully paid-up, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right to use, not use, reproduce, distribute, create derivative works of, publicly perform, publicly display, digitally perform, make, have made, sell, offer for sale and import their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission, in any media now known or hereafter developed, for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without further approval by or payment to Participant; and
- represents that he/she/it has the unrestricted right to grant that license.
OPEN SOURCE LICENSE. If the Winner License/Assignment Type for the Competition (see Winner License/Assignment Type above) is Open Source License, then each Winner by accepting a Prize thereby:
- licenses their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission under the MIT License (an open source software license commonly described at http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT); and
- represents that he/she/it has the unrestricted right to grant that license.
ASSIGNMENT TO COMPETITION SPONSOR. If the Winner License/Assignment Type for the Competition (see Winner License/Assignment Type above) is Assignment to Competition Sponsor, then each Winner by accepting a Prize thereby:
- grants all right, title, and interest in and to their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission, and all intellectual property rights therein, to the Competition Sponsor or their designee;
- represents that he/she/it has the unrestricted right to make that assignment; and
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CHEATING. Participating using more than one DrivenData account is deemed cheating and, if discovered, will result in disqualification from the Competition and any other affected Competitions and may result in banning or deactivation of affected DrivenData accounts.
DrivenData reserves the right to request information associated with our investigation of suspected cheating. Failure to respond to these requests (including failure to furnish the requested information) within ten (10) days is grounds for disqualification.
RECEIVING PRIZES. After verification of eligibility, if prizes are awarded, each Prize winner will receive the prize in the form of a check or electronic transfer from DrivenData made out to the Prize winner (if an individual, or to the individual Team members if a Team). Allow 30 days from final verification and confirmation for Prize delivery. Winners may receive an IRS 1099 form or W-8BEN, as applicable, from DrivenData in the amount of their prize at the appropriate time. Prize winners are responsible for any taxes, fees or other liability resulting from their receipt of a Prize.
Except where prohibited by law, entry constitutes permission to use winners’ names, hometowns, images, statements and likenesses for online posting, and/or any advertising and publicity without additional compensation. Winners may also be required to sign and return a release of liability, declaration of eligibility and, where lawful, a publicity consent agreement, as conditions of receiving a prize. Failure to comply with the aforementioned conditions shall be grounds for forfeiture of a prize.
Data use and code sharing
DATA. "Data" means the data or datasets linked from the Competition Website for the purpose of use by Participants in the Competition. For the avoidance of doubt, Data is deemed for the purpose of these Competition Rules to include any prototype or executable code provided to Participants by DrivenData or via the Competition Website. Participants must use the Data only as permitted by these Competition Rules and any associated data use rules specified on the Competition Website.
Unless otherwise permitted by the terms of the Competition Website, Participants must use the Data solely for the purpose and duration of the Competition, including but not limited to reading and learning from the Data, analyzing the Data, modifying the Data and generally preparing your Submission and any underlying models and participating in forum discussions on the Competition Website. Participants agree to use suitable measures to prevent persons who have not formally agreed to these Competition Rules from gaining access to the Data and agree not to transmit, duplicate, publish, redistribute or otherwise provide or make available the Data to any party not participating in the Competition. Participants agree to notify DrivenData immediately upon learning of any possible unauthorized transmission or unauthorized access of the Data and agree to work with DrivenData to rectify any unauthorized transmission. Participants agree that participation in the Competition shall not be construed as having or being granted a license (expressly, by implication, estoppel, or otherwise) under, or any right of ownership in, any of the Data.
EXTERNAL DATA. Unless otherwise expressly stated on the Competition Website, Participants must not use data other than the Data to develop and test their models and Submissions. Competition Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any Participant who Competition Sponsor discovers has undertaken or attempted to undertake the use of data other than the Data, or who uses the Data other than as permitted according to the Competition Website and in these Competition Rules, in the course of the Competition.
CODE SHARING. Participants are prohibited from privately sharing source or executable code developed in connection with or based upon the Data, and any such sharing is a breach of these Competition Rules and may result in disqualification. Participants are permitted to publicly share source or executable code developed in connection with or based upon the Data, or otherwise relevant to the Competition, provided that such sharing does not violate the intellectual property rights of any third party. By so sharing, the sharing Participant is thereby deemed to have licensed the shared code under the MIT License (an open source software license commonly described at http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT).
OPEN-SOURCE CODE. A Submission will be ineligible to win a prize if it was developed using code containing or depending on software licensed under an open source license:
- other than an Open Source Initiative-approved license (see http://opensource.org/licenses); or
- an open source license that prohibits commercial use.
Participant warranties and obligations
By registering, you agree that (a) your Account is complete, correct and accurate and (b) your registration may be rejected or terminated and all Entries submitted by you and/or your Team may be disqualified if any of the information in your Account is (or Competition Sponsor of DrivenData has reasonable grounds to believe it is) incomplete, incorrect or inaccurate. You are solely responsible for your Account. All registration information is deemed collected in the United States.
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- was not previously published and has not won any other prize/award.
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Reservation of rights
DrivenData, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process, the operation of the Web site, the competition process, or is otherwise in violation of the Competition Rules. DrivenData reserves the right at any time to disqualify a Submission from a Competition where, acting in good faith, it believes there are reasonable grounds to warrant disqualification. For example, DrivenData’s determination that the Submission does not provide the functionality described or required, or the Submission appears to be purposely designed to circumvent these Competition Rules or the spirit of the Competition would be grounds for disqualification. DrivenData reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify the Competition if it is not capable of completion as planned for any reason, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort. If DrivenData determines (at any time and in their sole discretion) that any Participant is engaging in behavior that DrivenData deems obnoxious, inappropriate, threatening, illegal or that is intended to annoy, abuse, or harass any other person or entity, DrivenData reserves the right to disqualify such Participant (and Participant’s Team, if applicable).
By entering the Competition, you release and discharge the Competition Sponsor and DrivenData from any liability whatsoever in connection with the Competition or with the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize including, without limitation, legal claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages, demands or actions of any kind (including, without limitation: personal injuries; death; damage to, loss or destruction of property; rights of publicity or privacy; and defamation or portrayal in a false light). The Competition Sponsor and DrivenData will not be responsible for typographical, printing or other inadvertent errors in these Competition Rules or in other materials relating to the Competition. Additionally, you hereby agree to indemnify the Competition Sponsor and DrivenData from any and all losses, damages, costs, expenses, rights, claims, demands and actions (including attorney's fees and expenses for litigation and settlement), which may be brought against any one or more of them by anyone claiming to have suffered loss or damage as a result of your participation in the Competition.
Limitations of liability
By participating in the Competition, each Participant agrees that: (1) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or in connection with the Competition, or any prize awarded, shall be resolved individually without resort to any form of class action; (2) any claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Competition, but in no event attorney's fees; and (3) under no circumstances will a Participant be permitted to obtain any award for, and each Participant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than damages for actual out-of-pocket expenses.
DrivenData, Inc., Competition Sponsor, and the employees, officers, directors, shareholders, agents, representatives, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising, promotional and legal advisors thereof (collectively, the “Released Parties”) are not responsible and shall not be liable for: (i) late, lost, delayed, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, illegible, or unintelligible entries; (ii) telephone, electronic, hardware, or software program, network, Internet, or computer malfunctions, failures, or difficulties; (iii) errors in transmission; (iv) any condition caused by events beyond the control of the Released Parties that may cause the Competition to be disrupted or corrupted; (v) any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind caused by a prize or resulting from acceptance, possession, or use of a prize, or from participation in the Competition (however (but only if required by law in your jurisdiction), this release and hold harmless commitment does not apply to cases of bodily injury or loss of life to the extent that any death or personal injury is caused by the negligence of DrivenData, Competition Sponsor, or other third parties, where liability to the injured party cannot be excluded by law); or (vi) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Competition.
Disclaimer of Warranties
You understand that we cannot and do not guarantee or warrant that the Data or other files available for downloading from the internet or the Competition Website will be free of viruses or other destructive code. You are responsible for implementing sufficient procedures and checkpoints to satisfy your particular requirements for anti-virus protection and accuracy of data input and output, and for maintaining a means external to our site for any reconstruction of any lost data. RELEASED PARTIES WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE CAUSED BY A DISTRIBUTED DENIAL-OF-SERVICE ATTACK, VIRUSES OR OTHER TECHNOLOGICALLY HARMFUL MATERIAL THAT MAY INFECT YOUR COMPUTER EQUIPMENT, COMPUTER PROGRAMS, DATA OR OTHER PROPRIETARY MATERIAL DUE TO YOUR USE OF THE WEBSITE OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE OR TO YOUR DOWNLOADING OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON IT, OR ON ANY WEBSITE LINKED TO IT.
YOUR USE OF THE COMPETITION WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT AND ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE AND RECEIPT OF ANY PRIZES IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. THE WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT AND ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS, WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, BEYOND ANY NON-EXCLUDABLE GUARANTEES (DEFINED BELOW). NEITHER THE RELEASED PARTIES NOR ANY PERSON ASSOCIATED WITH RELEASED PARTIES MAKES ANY WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION WITH RESPECT TO THE COMPLETENESS, SECURITY, RELIABILITY, QUALITY, ACCURACY OR AVAILABILITY OF THE COMPETITION WEBSITE. WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, NEITHER RELEASED PARTIES NOR ANYONE ASSOCIATED WITH THE RELEASED PARTIES REPRESENTS OR WARRANTS THAT THE COMPETITION WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE WILL BE ACCURATE, RELIABLE, ERROR-FREE OR UNINTERRUPTED, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, THAT OUR SITE OR THE SERVER THAT MAKES IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS OR THAT THE COMPETITION WEBSITE OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE WILL OTHERWISE MEET YOUR NEEDS OR EXPECTATIONS.
NOTHING IN THESE COMPETITION RULES LIMITS, EXCLUDES, OR MODIFIES OR PURPORTS TO LIMIT, EXCLUDE, OR MODIFY ANY STATUTORY CONSUMER GUARANTEE OR ANY IMPLIED CONDITION OR WARRANTY, THE EXCLUSION OF WHICH FROM THESE COMPETITION RULES WOULD CONTRAVENE ANY STATUTE OR CAUSE ANY PART OF THESE TERMS TO BE VOID (“NON-EXCLUDABLE GUARANTEES”). SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS IN THE PRECEDING SENTENCE AND TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY ANY MANDATORY PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE LAW, THE RELEASED PARTIES HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, STATUTORY OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT AND FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
THE FOREGOING DOES NOT AFFECT ANY WARRANTIES WHICH CANNOT BE EXCLUDED OR LIMITED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction
DrivenData shall be the sole interpreter of these Competition Rules.
All matters relating to the Competition Rules or the Competition and any dispute or claim arising therefrom or related thereto (in each case, including non-contractual disputes or claims), shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the internal laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts without giving effect to any choice or conflict of law provision or rule (whether of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any other jurisdiction).
The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Competition Rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these Competition Rules shall otherwise remain in effect and be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision was not contained herein.