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Hacking the world’s freshwater laboratory – ELA Hackathon 2023

Want to hack one of the longest unbroken environmental datasets in the world? Sure, you do…!

In a collaboration with our friends at IISD Experimental Lakes Area are inviting all students and young professionals (ages 18 to 30) with coding experience and an interest in freshwater science, data science, or web and software design, to join us in an exciting new hackathon.

You will work alongside like-minded peers to use a dataset that has been tracking the health of Canada’s freshwater for over 50 years to build solutions to real environmental issues – and help protect Canada’s precious freshwater supplies.

You’ll learn how to build a data product from start to finish, collaborate with a team, and work with established experts in the field who spend their days tackling issues from pollution and biodiversity loss to climate change.


  • Freshwater Health Assessment App: Help communities to leverage their data so they can better understand the health and immediate threats to their freshwater systems.
  • Water Sampler’s Targeting App: Help water monitoring groups to combine and compare information from different datasets so they can identify gaps in local knowledge.
  • Water Data Dashboard Builder: Enable citizen scientists to ask questions, visualize the answers, and share their insights with other environmental advocates.


Interested? Here are the dates you need to know:

The 2-week virtual hackathon event will run from October 23 to November 6, 2023.

In-person opening events will be held at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Winnipeg on October 23, 2023 (virtual attendance will be made available for participants in other parts of Canada).

The deadline for registration is October 8, 2023.

Capacity is limited, so be sure to register soon if you think you have what it takes to hack the world’s freshwater laboratory!

The winning teams will have their solutions shared online (with full attribution) as open-source code for public use.

Participants of the winning teams will also be offered one of the following:

  1. an expenses-paid trip to ELA or a participating water monitoring program of your choice
  2. a camera-equipped drone, or
  3. outdoor, camping, or science equipment.


Want to find out more and register?  Visit or e-mail