Natural or man-made, disasters bring chaos. Be part of the rescue team by building Bluemix apps that shape and speed the recovery.

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The immediate and long term impact of any disaster, man-made or natural, is hard to quantify. Media coverage highlights the immediate aftermath as people and businesses directly affected by the event deal with their new reality. But after the journalists go home, recovery efforts remain. From the first few days to sometimes years afterwards, the people, businesses, communities, relief organizations continue struggling with the repercussions.

From the sidelines, watching news reports or following affected persons on social media, you can feel overwhelmed and helpless. How can you make a difference from hundreds or thousands of miles away?

Becoming part of the rescue team from miles away is what the Bluemixathon challenge is all about. You don’t have to be a trained professional or volunteer on the ground to make a difference. 

This challenge is to use your coding skills and Bluemix services to use communications to help prevent and manage disasters. Some of issues to address are obvious, like getting water and food to those affected by tsunamis or earthquakes. And some are less obvious, but just as crucial, like enabling refugee children to continue their education. But also consider how mobile applications can help reduce the likelihood of crisis, such as through identifying and communicating local risks, or providing information on key government services in advance of crisis.

We’ve focused this challenge on four distinct groups impacted by any disaster. Build an app, using at least one Bluemix service, to help one of the following groups:

  • Persons immediately impacted by the disaster. For example, people who have lost or had to leave their homes due to natural or man-made disasters. This group also includes people who lose their job because their place of employment was directly impacted.
  • Families, friends, colleagues of individuals impacted by the disaster. For example, individuals trying to contact or provide assistance to loved ones caught in the disaster.
  • First responders and backend support teams, including healthcare organizations. For example, firefighters, police officers, volunteer community teams, military personnel, etc., dealing with the immediate impact in the first few days after the event.
  • Groups and relief organizations dedicated to long term rebuilding activities. This includes businesses, government agencies, national/international relief organizations, church groups, etc.

Unsure how to begin? Just look at how Caitria and Morgan O’Neill stepped up in the face of disaster in their hometown. With the power of Bluemix services at your fingertips – how much more could you do?

Join the conversation with #bluemixathon. Follow @bluemixathon for latest details on events and updates.

View full rules


This challenge is open in the following jurisdictions only: USA, Canada (with exception of Quebec province), Hong Kong, China, Mexico, Germany, Japan, India, Israel, South Korea, United Kingdom, Australia, Netherlands, and France.

Entrants in these areas may compete if they are:

  • Individuals 18 and older; Teams of eligible individuals; Organizations (up to 50 employees)
  • Organizations with over 50 employees may compete for the non-cash Large Organization Recognition Award.

Note that government owned entities and IBM or Devpost employees are not eligible for any prize.


Main Requirement: Submit an app to solve or improve logistical problems for disaster relief encountered by one or more of the following user categories. Your app must use one or more Bluemix services.

User Categories:

  • Individuals immediately impacted by the disaster
  • Families, friends, colleagues of individuals impacted by the disaster.
  • First responders and backend support teams, including healthcare organizations.
  • Groups and relief organizations (businesses, government agencies, national/international relief organizations, church groups) dedicated to long term rebuilding activities

Supplemental Material: You must submit a demo video (hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or Youku) that walks through the main functionality of the solution via screencast or video. You must also submit at least one image/screenshot of your working solution.

New & Existing Solutions: Solutions may be newly created or pre-existing. If you are submitting an existing solution (developed prior to this competition), your solution must have integrated a new Bluemix service after the start of the submission period.


Gina Poole

Gina Poole
Vice President, Developer Outreach and developerWorks - IBM

Dirk Nicol

Dirk Nicol
Director, Practitioner Outreach and developerWorks - IBM

Peter Yim

Peter Yim
Senior Web application developer and architect - IBM

Rebecca Curzon

Rebecca Curzon
Senior Program Manager, Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs - IBM

Deborah Magid

Deborah Magid
Director of Software Strategy, Venture Capital Group - IBM

Stephen Russo

Stephen Russo
Director, Public Safety, Law Enforcement Solutions - IBM Safer Planet

Gary S Nestler

Gary S Nestler
Global Solution Sales Manager - Emergency Management - IBM

Arvind Gupta

Arvind Gupta
Investor and Mentor --- Social Enterprises and Start-Ups

Edward Domain

Edward Domain
Creator & Host of PBS show 'The Domain Tech Report' and CEO of

Judging Criteria

  • Quality of Idea
    Includes creativity, originality, and “wow” factor of the idea.
  • Implementation of Idea
    Includes how well the idea was executed by the developer and the extent to which Bluemix service(s) were utilized.
  • Potential Impact
    Includes the relevance and potential impact of the application on the intended persona group.
  • Completeness of the Solution
    Includes the extent to which the solution is relevant, complete, and functioning.


  • Communication
  • Social Good