Track growth and mowing of aquatic plants in real-time

Primary challenge owner: Province of Groningen

Secondary challenge owner(s): None



Blauwestad is a unique piece of the Netherlands in a special part of Groningen. What was once farmland is now a great residential area surrounded by Oldambt Lake. With an area of 800 hectares and a water volume of 14 million cubic meters, the Oldambtmeer is one of the larger lakes in the Netherlands. The Oldambtmeer is on average 1.30 meters deep, making it particularly suitable for (open) sailboats and smaller motor yachts. At many houses and residential lots, there’s room for a private harbor or jetty. Residents can step straight from their terraces into their boats and sail directly onto the lake.

Water plants also grow in the Oldambtmeer of course, and they can grow up to 10 cm per day. Starting in May, as many as three mowing boats ensure that the Oldambtmeer remains passable for pleasure boats. The lake is large and it’s not possible to remove plants everywhere all the time. Using GPS, the mowing boat crews can see where cutting is needed. And then it’s really just a matter of making lanes. Some pleasure boats sail outside these freshly mowed channels or along sections where the water plants are (again) too high. As a result, they could get plants in the propeller or cooler or get stuck. This is partly because recreational boaters don’t know the exact mowing routes and/or cannot see where plant growth has been particularly rapid.


The question/challenge for startups

Develop a solution that allows real-time visibility of mowing boat routes and aquatic plant growth for recreational boaters on Lake Oldambt.



  • The solution should make clear in real-time where pleasure boats can and cannot sail, with regards to aquatic plants.
  • The solution should create no (or very little) extra work for the mowing boat operators.


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