Mobile Taivaanvahti Challenge


Emma Herranen
Taivaanvahti technical contact, challenge mentor, database wizard @ Affecto Finland
tel.: 040-7389119

Marko Pekkola
Taivaanvahti project manager, challenge judge
tel.: 050-3687468


Taivaanvahti is a database for gathering amateurs’ observations of astronomical and atmospherical phenomena. It combines Finnish observations of storms, northern lights, galaxies, fireballs, halos, comets and planets under one single website available for everyone interested in space and meteorology:

The system is maintained and developed by Ursa Astronomical Association. Taivaanvahti receives approximately 9 000 observations a year.

Challenge description

Many of the gathered phenomena can be captured with rather simple cameras like the ones in mobile devices. Auroras, storms and halos have created an active community of enthusiasts, who chase these rare events. The chasers often report their findings directly from the field. These on-site reports are documentative, but also work as alerts to other observers.

The goal of this challenge is to create an application, which can send an observation to Taivaanvahti by using a mobile device.

Taivaanvahti currently has several individually made mobile clients for browsing the observations, but none for sending those.

Functional specification

The application can be a mobile client or a mobile-optimized HTML5 submission form UI for the system. The application should be focused on gathering observations from the area of Finland.

The solution can concentrate on some single phenomenon or enable gathering of all phenomena included in Taivaanvahti. If the application focuses on one single phenomenon, it should contain some kind of alert-feature for the same phenomenon. Applications able to send observations of all observation categories don’t need to implement the alert functionality.


Taivaanvahti has an open API for external applications. It provides data of existing observations and enables sending new ones to the system.
The interface supports JSON and XML -formats. The observation programs/forms are available only in Finnish.

The interface is documented in:

Test version of the interface can be used for sending the observations:

The teams participating the challenge should contact Emma for further information of how to access the test version of the Taivaanvahti system.


We can’t promise you a space flight, but the team developing the best application will get a real old-school alternative: a flight with a hot air balloon.

The development teams participating on the challenge should have maximum of six members.