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’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are co-presenting this contest for students around 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 publicly accessible content and data through its earth-science missions, using 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’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory 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 (64)

  1. Simran Singh says:

    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

    1. John Scott Tynes says:

      Hi Simran,

      We will be adding more data and publishing a blog all about it later this week! You got started fast. 🙂

      1. Piotr Hardy says:

        Hi! Can I get a link to the said blog and the specific article explaining the contents of the data file? I can’t find them.

  2. Ahana Basu says:

    i am 19 years old cant i take part in this contest ?

    1. John Scott Tynes says:

      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!

  3. Jim_B says:

    Why does it say students 6-18 when the rules and even registering to add a comment require you to be 16?

  4. Tyriah Allison says:

    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.

  5. John Scott Tynes says:

    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.

  6. Tushar Garg says:

    If not interested in given project, then how can i participate in this contest…


    Kindly tell me how i will submit my project?

    1. Simran Singh says:

      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.

      1. Thanks for the helping hand Simran!

  8. Husn Bano says:

    You have to be 16-18 as of…?

    1. From the rules: You are between 6 and 18 years of age at the time of registration and are actively enrolled as a student at an accredited educational institution that grants K-12 (or equivalent) degrees (including home schools) as of January 1, 2015;

  9. allassane kone says:

    Imagine Cup is a really great competition for us Windows code lovers

  10. Trường Giang Vũ says:

    Hi. I have a project and my team loves to do it, but you don’t accept team submission. So can I submit it on behalf of my team?

    1. Truong – Imagine Cup Earth is and individual competition. You can submit as an individual and prizing can only be given to individuals.

  11. ananta BASTOLA says:

    i am 17 years old from Nepal.
    i have programmed apps for android.
    But my intrest is in microsoft.
    i will surely take part and try to win.
    Can you please give me some kickstart about cloud gaming.
    Tutorials 😀 waiting for your reply sir..

    1. Ananta – you can find all kinds of tutorials on – good luck!

  12. Saad kamran says:

    I am currently 18 but i will be 19 years and 1 month by your first deadline am i eligible if i register now

    1. Saad – from the rules: You are between 6 and 18 years of age at the time of registration and are actively enrolled as a student at an accredited educational institution that grants K-12 (or equivalent) degrees (including home schools) as of January 1, 2015;

  13. Jacky Sah says:

    Can i have some more info on how to do projects and what to do further in that?

  14. umer aadil says:

    where i have to register for imaginecup

  15. Ankit kumar says:

    I registered my team consisting of 3 members but by mistake I signed in both one was Code with nasa and other one was Games so I want to take part in games but I am not able to cancel the registration of Code with nasa so pls help me out….

    1. Ankit – no need to cancel the IC Earth registration, it will expire when the contests ends.

  16. Piotr Hardy says:

    I still don’t know what to do with the data file provided at:
    Do I have to figure it out myself? Or am I missing something? Is there any info on this topic somewhere?

  17. Simran Singh says:

    This comment for those who still haven’t figured out format of data file. Firstly, looks like that the link to data file changed now there is a new data file on that topic so be sure to download that one. Link to new one :
    Here is the image which will help you understand format of file :

    1. Piotr Hardy says:

      Thanks! I didn’t know what to do, you helped me more than Microsoft.

  18. Adnan Roshid Shawon says:

    How can I submit kodu game lab project?

  19. ushna khan says:

    i am 15 and i and i am participating , there were four topic given by nasa .. can’t we choose something else?

    1. Ushna, you have to chose from the four topics given. Good luck!

  20. tarang dwivedy says:

    Hi , i had recently registered . Can anyone guide me for how to start my project please

    1. Please check out the resources on the Imagine Cup Earth competition site as well as – good luck!

  21. Mateusz Niemiec says:

    Game ( KINU ) must by like this in “Earth” page ? ( Make a game about animals finding a new migration route ) Can I create game in other topic but like this original ? ( Zebras without borders )

    1. Mateusz Niemiec says:


      1. Mateusz – I’m not sure I understand your question, can you please e-mail us at ?

  22. Trường Giang Vũ says:

    Hi. I have a Kodu game, but I can’t upload it to Kodu community. So can I upload .kodu2 file to OneDrive or anywhere else?

    1. If you can’t upload it to the Kodu community, please put it in OneDrive and provide the URL for your project, thank you!

  23. anup reni says:

    I’m 18 yr old and enrolled in a undergraduate college. Am I eligible to take part in this contest ?

  24. yusuf uzundere says:

    Hi John I’m yusuf I’ m from Turkey

  25. Trường Giang Vũ says:

    When will you have result for the first deadline?

  26. Fariha Chowdhury says:

    Hello.who are the winners of imagine cup Earth of the first deadline.?

  27. yusuf uzundere says:

    Joseph and I wonder whether I’m asking for this competition finished this contest?

  28. Stephen Raymundo says:

    are we allowed to join in both beginner and intermediate categories? 🙂

  29. Tanay Yeole says:

    Can i Participate for multiple Topics?

  30. David Gonzalez says:

    Hi The file has many numerical fields but it has not been specified which field is for what, for example latitude, longitude..etc

  31. Tanay Yeole says:

    How do I use the data file?

  32. Osamah Mandawi says:


    1. Osamah Mandawi says:


  33. Hello Imagine Cup Earth participants!! The judges are currently analyzing the submissions and we expect the announce the results before the end of the month. The holidays made it a busy time for all, but we will have results posted soon. Thank you for your patience and good luck!!

  34. Tanay Yeole says:

    How do I use the Data File???

  35. Trường Giang Vũ says:


    1. Osamah Mandawi says:

      I agree. They should really post the results by now…

      1. Winners will be posted next week, sorry for the delay. Stay tuned!!

  36. Vukheta Maluleke says:

    When will the results for the second round be published?

    1. Daniel González says:

      Waiting for them, too. Really excited

  37. Omar Shaikh says:

    Is there an approximate date as to when the results for the second round will posted?

  38. Daniel González says:

    Can we know how many entries were submmitted for either the first or the second round, please?

  39. ana clara says:

    Hi! I’m in the Intermediate Category, may I know what topics about earth-science may we do the web app about?

    1. Simran Singh says:

      The topic is algae AFAIK.
      You can find full details here :

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