Join the public event and vote for Waste Watchers.

Update 7 November 2023: Waste Watchers won two awards, the award for best professional project and the public award. Read the news item here.

River Cleanup and VITO are proud to announce that Waste Watchers has been nominated for the Geospatial Awards 2023. The Geospatial Awards are organized by FLAGIS and AM/FM GIS Belux in collaboration with Trefdag Vlaanderen Digitaal. Waste Watchers is nominated in the category for the best professional project launched or completed in 2022 or 2023.

Waste Watchers is a unique research project that enables citizens to use small drones and Artificial Intelligence to detect litter. Over the past months, Waste Watchers has engaged citizens from all of Belgium to collect as many aerial images of the banks of the river Scheldt by using drones. Using AI, these images are processed and converted into a user-friendly waste dispersal map that will clearly show how much litter is present and where the waste is piling up. Thanks to this map, cleanup campaigns can be organized more easily.

Last summer, Waste Watchers organized five public flight days at five different locations (Dendermonde, Wichelen, Ghent, Oudenaarde, and Avelgem). In addition to the public flight days, citizens were encouraged to provide as much drone data as possible of the banks of the river Scheldt. More than 200 people participated and gathered approximately 8,000 photos, covering 40 km of the banks of the river Scheldt. The participants not only received information about the project and drone regulations, they also learned how to operate a small drone from take-off to landing and how to collect suitable and high-quality drone images. Thanks to the large amount of drone images, the AI algorithms to provide reliable and user-friendly (waste) dispersal maps can be further improved.

All the nominees for the Geospatial Awards will present their projects online on October 19, 2023. During this public event, everyone can also vote for the "People's Choice Award" in which Waste Watchers is also competing in the category for professional projects. The Geospatial Awards 2023 will be awarded during the Trefdag Vlaanderen Digitaal on October 26, 2023.

Join the online public event on 19 October 2023 (14:00-17:00 CEST) and vote for Waste Watchers.

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