2023 ArcGIS Online Competition

for Delaware High School and Middle School Students


e are pleased to announce the opening of the 2023 ArcGIS Online Completion for US High School and Middle School Students. Delaware’s Geospatial Education community is partnering with Esri to challenge ALL high school and middle school students (whether onsite, online, or hybrid) to create and share WebApp projects that capture some aspect of life in Delaware

Esri’s 2023 ArcGIS US School Competition is open to high school (High School “HS”, grade 9-12) and middle school (Middle School “MS,” grade 4-8) students in the US who have learned how to analyze, interpret, and present data via an ArcGIS storymap or web app.

Delaware’s top 5 MS and top 5 HS submissions will be awarded a cash prize and receive state and national level recognition for the work! Delaware will select one MS and HS entrant to compete nationally. Winners at the national level will each earn a trip to the 2023 Esri Education Summit in San Diego, CA.

Interested students are encouraged (but not required) to ‘pre-register‘ by February 28, 2023.

Important Dates

Esri Competition Winners

Additional Details and Resources

  1. Entries for the state level competition are due no later than 5 pm on May 1, 2023.
  2. Entries must be from an ArcGIS Online Organization account (not a “public account”). Any K12 school (public, non-public, or homeschool) or formal youth club can request for free an ArcGIS School/Club Bundle (includes an ArcGIS Organization account). For assistance in creating an organizational account contact the Delaware Contest Team at maps@doe.k12.de.us.
  3. Entries must be in the form of a ArcGIS StoryMap (“new” template), or a Classic Story Map (any of the “classic” templates), or an ArcGIS web app (via template or builder). Entries must be visible without requiring a login. Entries engaging “premium data” (login required, such as premium content from Living Atlas) must set the display to permit access without needing a login. See this helpful note.
  4. Entries must focus on something about Delaware. The project may reference data outside Delaware “for context”, but may not extend the focus of the study beyond issues and topics connected to Delaware. For example, broader patterns of environmental characteristics or demographic movements may be referenced for context, but the focus must be on phenomena within the state.
  5. Winners of the Delaware competition will be announced on May 15, 2023. One winner at the MS level and one winner at the HS level will be submitted to ESRI as Delaware’s entrants to the National Competition. National competition winners will be announced by Esri on May 30, 2023.
  • Entrants must be pre-collegiate students, registered in grades 4-12 at the time of project submission, from public schools or non-public schools including home schools, who have not yet received a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Entrants must reside in the state of Delaware or be attending a Delaware based school.
  • Students can work alone or in a team of two, but can participate in only one submitted entry. Teams with one student in middle school (grades 4-8) and one in high school (grades 9-12) must be considered as a high school team. Student teams of two from different schools will be counted according to the school of the first student listed.
  • Entrants may work on the challenge through a school, a club, an “educational pod”, or independently, but entries must be submitted to the state from their primary school of record (a recognized school or home school).
  • Any school or home school program can submit to the state a maximum of five (5) entries total.
  • Each school can submit up to 5 entries – Individual Students or a Team (maximum of 2 students/team).
  • All entries will be judged by GIS professionals in the State of Delaware based on a rubric.
  • The top 5 entries in each level (Middle School and High School) will be awarded $100 for the State level competition.
  • Those top State entries (5 MS and 5 HS) will be submitted to ESRI with the Top entry from each level (MS & HS) being entered into the National Competition.
  • Prizes for national winners will be posted here when announced.
  1. Entries must be from an ArcGIS Online Organization account, not a “public account”. Any K12 school (public, non-public, or homeschool) or formal youth club can request a free ArcGIS School/Club Bundle (includes an ArcGIS Organization account).
  2. Entries must be in the form of a ArcGIS StoryMap (“new” template), or a Classic Story Map (any of the “classic” templates), or an ArcGIS web app (via template or builder). Entries must be visible without requiring a login. Entries engaging “premium data” (i.e., password login is required, such as premium content from Living Atlas) must set the display to permit access without needing a login. See this helpful note .
  3. Entries must be “original work by students”, conceived, created, and completed entirely by the student(s) submitting the entry. Class projects turned into an entry by one student, and teacher-directed projects, are not acceptable
  4. Entries are expected to be a “map-centric” exploration, analysis, and presentation of a geographic phenomenon. The use of “non-map visuals” (images and videos) is limited. Exceeding the limits means a “progressive reduction in judged score”. The limits are:
    1. total of up to 60 seconds of video, and
    2. total of up to two images not created by the project author (e.g., 1 historic portrait photo plus 1 historic landscape photo), and
    3. total of up to five images created by the project author (replication of project maps as smaller/thumbnail images, and items visible as popups within interactive maps, do not count against these image limits).
  5. Entries must provide to the school/state/Esri two links in “short URL” format (e.g. “https;//arcg.is/1A2b3xyz”), where
    1. one link goes to the primary display page (the app or storymap), and
    2. one link goes to the item details page (the metadata page for the app or storymap). (A link to the item details page of a shared app will require a login if the Org does not permit anonymous access and the link uses the form “.maps.arcgis.com/etc”. To avoid this, change the link to the form “www.arcgis.com/etc” before creating a short URL. Ad hoc short URLs can be generated at http://bitly.com.)
  6. The element by element analysis in the 2020 national results presents good examples of what is sought in a project.
  7. Student Privacy: Schools should consider issues around exposing Personally Identifiable Information (PII). See ArcGIS Online Organizations for Schools & Clubs for strategies for minimizing PII. Teachers and club leaders should help students minimize exposure of their own PII and that of others, including in map, image, and text. If you have questions about the level of PII required for your Delaware project please email maps@doe.k12.de.us with ArcGIS Competition PII in the subject line.
  8. To enter the contest:
    1. Download and complete the “School to State” spreadsheet form, obtain signed permission forms from each student, and submit via email with the subject line “ArcGIS Competition”.
    2. Entries must have a completed and signed permission form attached for each participating student.
    3. Please carefully read the ‘before entering’ tab and ensure all fields of the entry form are completely filled out before submitting your entry for state judging.
    4. If you have questions, please send an email with the subject line “ArcGIS Competition”.
    5. Winners will also need to complete the Esri Permission and Release Form.
    6. Entries due no later than 5 pm on Monday May 1, 2023

Submissions will be judged on the clarity in which the chosen topic is presented, the use of good and appropriate data, effective analysis, good cartography, effective presentation, and complete documentation.

The rubric used for state level judging criteria, based on the 100 pt national rubric, is as follows:

  • The topic is clearly identified, meets [nation’s/state’s] criteria, focuses on content within state borders (5 pts)
  • Overall presentation within the app or story map is effective in informing about the topic (10 pts)
  • Cartography is effective — the composition, visualization, and interplay of layers (display scale, transparency, classification, symbolization, popups, charts, tables, labels, filtering, legend appearance) facilitates the viewer’s grasp of individual elements of the topic and story (20 pts)
  • Data used is appropriate — engages an adequate volume and array of clearly significant elements, does not exclude clearly significant elements, does not include irrelevant elements (20 pts)
  • Geographic analysis (classification, filtering, geoanalysis) is evident, appropriate, and effective; the “map product” is not “essentially uniform dots/lines/areas on a map”, nor “primarily pictures” (20 pts)
  • Documentation in the item details page is clear and complete; all non-original contents (including images) in the presentation/ web app/ story map are appropriately referenced and/or linked to their sources are clear, and original contents are described and/or linked; documentation identifies processes used to analyze the content, plus any persons who assisted in project (including specifying if no one did) (25 pts)
  1. Look at previous national winners and honorable mention projects. This is a “map competition”. Entries should address an identified issue/puzzle/challenge/discovery, not just documenting what’s where, but looking at “why it’s there,” and “so what.” Entries should be analytical in nature, map-centric rather than photo-centric or relying on too much text. Use of videos or static images generated by anyone other than the team members must be carefully documented, and such media should be used sparingly; outside content generally detracts in national judging. The project must emphasize student work; professionally generated GIS data generally does not detract from national scores this way. A good way to judge project balance quickly is to identify the amount of time a viewer would spend consuming the entire project; map-based time and attention should be at least two thirds.
  2. Good projects gently help even a viewer unfamiliar with the region know quickly the location of the project focus. Requiring a viewer to zoom out several times to determine the region of focus detracts from the viewing experience. (Pretend the viewer is from a different part of the country, or a different country.)
  3. Maps should invite interactive exploration by the viewer, not be static (“images”). The presentation should hold the attention of the viewer from start to finish.
  4. Maps should demonstrate “the science of where” – the importance of location, patterns, and relationships between layers. There is an art to map design; too much data may feel cluttered, but showing viewers only one layer at a time may limit the viewers’ easy grasp of relationships.
  5. Care should be taken to make “popups” useful, limited to just the relevant information. They should add important information, and be formatted to make the most critical information easily consumable. These popups can include formatted text, key links, images, data presented in charts, and so forth.
  6. Document the project thoroughly. Previous awardees highlighted for documentation, and preceding national winners, show good documentation – organized and thorough.

The following resources are provided by Esri and have been published in their GIS Newsletter.

  • GeoProjects: Ready-to-use, no-login projects for learners
  • Pick a Project with GIS for the Holidays: The Esri K–12 team put together a list of some of their favorite classroom projects that use GIS. Many of the projects can be done in 15 minutes of seat work, while some require going outside
  • GIS on Chromebook: The biggest tech constraints on K–12 students in schools and homes are (a) access to a device and (b) bandwidth, not device horsepower. The magic of a Chromebook (and similar devices) is putting a capable device with a solid browser into kids’ hands day after day

Is this competition limited to certain subjects? NO! Students can create maps that focus on anything related to Delaware. Map submissions can talk about Delaware’s history, education, transportation, civics, famous people, funny stories…all topics are possible!

Choosing a Topic: Your project topic should be something that can be easier to understand or explain utilizing a map. When considering a topic think about how a map could identify or clarify a geographic pattern. Hint: Check out previous years entries to get ideas of the topics and focus selected.

Getting Started:

Review previous year winners from other states. To see other state’s previous year winners visit the ESRI School Competition page

For general inquiries about the competition, contact: maps@doe.k12.de.us

For more information or additional support, please contact maps@doe.k12.de.us