Imagine Cup Official Blog

Microsoft Imagine & NASA Introduce Imagine Cup Earth Global Student Contest

Of all the worlds in our vast universe, none matters more to us than Earth. Advances in space science have paid off right here at home, as the latest satellite imaging technology can not only bring us the surface of Pluto but reveal the intricate complexities of Earth itself.

Students ages 6-18 worldwide are invited to explore this exciting and vital area of scientific research in Imagine Cup Earth, a new coding competition for students. Whether you have never coded before and would like to learn, or if you’re already studying coding and want to take on a new challenge, all skill levels are welcome to dream big, build creatively, and boldly bring your ideas to life.

Microsoft Imagine and NASA have partnered to bring this contest to the world. Every year millions of students worldwide participate in Microsoft Imagine’s student-coding programs ranging from young students using our free coding kits to code their first project in half an hour all the way to college students using our free Microsoft Azure student subscription to develop for the cloud. NASA brings an impressive array of content and data in the service of their earth-science mission to use the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future. Together, we have created Imagine Cup Earth to inspire the next generation of thinkers, dreamers, and future programmers to learn the basics of coding and explore the latest science about our precious home.

During our 2015-16 Imagine Cup Earth season, a total of 18 winning students will share $36,000 in prizes for their earth-science coding projects. Students who choose our Beginner category can create games, apps, and simulations using Microsoft’s free learn-to-code tools including Kodu Game Lab, Microsoft Touch Develop, and Project Spark. More advanced students can create web apps using HTML5/CSS/Javascript, Python, or other web languages of their choice.

Students can get started by visiting our Imagine Cup Earth contest page to learn more about the requirements and read the official rules. Because school schedules vary from country to country around the world, Microsoft Imagine is providing three contest rounds each with their own deadlines and prizes. Students are welcome to compete in any or all of these as is most convenient for them – each round stands alone. All deadlines are given in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

First Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT December 15, 2015

Second Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT March 31, 2016

Third Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT June 15, 2016

Each round will have six prizes:

Beginner Category

Intermediate Category

For the best earth-science themed game, app, or simulation using Kodu Game Lab, Microsoft Touch Develop, or Project Spark.

For the best web app exploring an earth-science topic using actual NASA data and imagery.

1st Prize: $3,000

1st Prize: $3,000

2nd Prize: $2,000

2nd Prize: $2,000

3rd Prize: $1,000

3rd Prize: $1,000


Microsoft Imagine and NASA look forward to seeing what our global community of students creates with the power of programming and the excitement of earth science. Our greatest adventure is happening right here on Earth – let’s go!

Comments: 12

Simran Singh Tue, 25 Aug 2015
I have some concerns regarding this, on this page : they have given link to data file, is it necessary to use that file only? If yes then in what format is the data, the file has many numerical fields but it has not been specified which field is for what, for example latitude, longitude..etc

John Scott Tynes Tue, 25 Aug 2015
Hi Simran, We will be adding more data and publishing a blog all about it later this week! You got started fast. :)

Ahana Basu Tue, 25 Aug 2015
i am 19 years old cant i take part in this contest ?

John Scott Tynes Tue, 25 Aug 2015
Hello Ahana, I'm sorry but Imagine Cup Earth is for younger students. However I suggest you take a look at our Big Idea contest as well as our Games, Innovation, and World Citizenship competitions since you are the right age for any of those!

Jim Butts Tue, 25 Aug 2015
Why does it say students 6-18 when the rules and even registering to add a comment require you to be 16?

Tyriah Allison Wed, 26 Aug 2015
I would like to register, but I am not yet 16. It says the Imagine cup is for 6-18 year olds, but to register you have to be 16.

John Scott Tynes Wed, 26 Aug 2015
Sorry for the confusion! We are about to update our profile page to remove that 16+ checkbox. You can just ignore it. The IC16 Official Rules are referenced by some of our contests for older students, but they do not apply to Earth. I'll update the Earth rules to clarify that -- thanks for the catch.

Tushar Garg Thu, 27 Aug 2015
If not interested in given project, then how can i participate in this contest...

SARWAN NIZAMANI Sat, 29 Aug 2015
Kindly tell me how i will submit my project?

Simran Singh Sat, 29 Aug 2015
Head to where you will find more detailed description about this, scroll down, find "How do I get started?", then click on "Register now for Imagine Cup", after clicking register by filling in fields provided. After you have completed registration click on "Dashboard" on top right corner just beside Sign out button. After clicking on dashboard you can see "Submit" buttons for intermediate and beginner level given that you are logged in and registered correctly.

Husn Bano Sat, 29 Aug 2015
You have to be 16-18 as of...?

allassane kone Tue, 1 Sep 2015
Imagine Cup is a really great competition for us Windows code lovers