2017 PA Middle School-High School ArcGIS Online Competition

March 10, 2017

2017 PA Middle School-High School

ArcGIS Online Competition

Overview and Guidelines:

The PA Alliance for Geographic Education along with PAMAGIC, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, PASDA (Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access) and ESRI are happy to announce the 2017 ArcGIS Online (AGO) map competition for middle school and high school students across the Commonwealth.  This competition allows students to demonstrate problem solving, map analysis, and storytelling with maps.  All Pennsylvania public, private, or homeschooled students are eligible to enter the contest.  Maps can be submitted individually or as a team of two students.  There is a limit of one entry per student (as an individual or as part of a team). For this year’s competition, students should develop an AGO: Story Map; Presentation; or Web App which addresses this year’s theme: “Pennsylvania: Past, Present, and Future.”

Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking about what kind of map you may want to design:

-Create a map to tell the story of how Pennsylvania was originally settled

-Create a map to tell a story of how the development of coal influenced the location of steel mills

-Create a map to tell the story of how the fracking industry is impacting different parts of PA

-Create a map to tell the story of how and why Hershey’s Chocolate located in Central PA

-Create a map to tell the story of PA’s Congressional Districts, gerrymandering, and possible solution

-Create a map that tells the story of how agriculture in PA has changed physical and/or cultural landscapes over time

-Create a map that explains how agriculture in PA has adapted to new environmental and/or economic issues

ArcGIS Online Requirement and Support:

The only requirement is that students must use ArcGIS Online to create an original story map, map app, or map presentation.  ArcGIS Online is available to any K-12 school in the United States free of charge from ESRI.  Go to https://esri.app.box.com/connectedpdf  to sign up for a free ArcGIS Online school organization account. Final maps must be created using the school organization account. Students may not use a public account.

All of the collaborating groups sponsoring this competition will be available to provide support to both teachers and students.  Current plans include providing online videos about the contest with details focusing on: how to set up an organizational account; how to create story maps and map presentations in AGO; and how to incorporate data from PASDA.  GIS professionals across the state will be volunteering time to mentor teachers. Potentially, those with appropriate clearances may be available to work with teachers and students in schools. Additionally, the groups hope to host a live webinar in early March for teachers interested in specific topics about AGO and the competition.

Judging Criteria:

Student maps will be evaluated by a team of GIS experts from across the state.  The maps will be judged using a common rubric with a focus on the topic, map presentation, cartographic design, data, geographic analysis, and documentation. Click below for the map evaluation rubric:

Map Evaluation Rubric

Prizes and Requirements of Winners:

All students who submit maps and their teachers will receive a participation prize from the PA Alliance for Geographic Education. The five maps judged the best in each division, also known as the“State Awardees” (middle school: division 6-8 and high school division: 9-12), will be awarded $100 gift certificates to Amazon.com. The “PA National Finalist” maps—one from each division from Pennsylvania will receive a grand prize and  will be submitted to the National AGO Mapping Competition.  The one US winning student/team from each division and their teacher will receive an all-expense paid trip to the ESRI Education User’s Conference in San Diego, California: July 8-11, 2017 where the students and teachers will be honored and their maps will be on display in the Map Gallery. The 10 State Awardees must insure that their winning maps remain visible to the public until April 20, 2018


The competition will be announced across Pennsylvania on February 1st, 2017

-Participating teachers need to register by April 10th, 2017

-The deadline for submitting student maps is April 20, 2017 11:59 p.m.

-State Awardees will be announced Sunday April 30th and those students and teachers will be invited to attend the PA GIS Conference May 15th in State College.  (All state awardees will be showcased at the conference regardless of their ability to attend.)

-The PA National Finalists (1 MS and 1 HS) will be selected and announced at the PA GIS Conference on May 15th, 2017

Check out this story map which further explains details about this competition.  ArcGIS Middle School and High School Competition

A printable flyer highlighting competition details can be found here:

2017 PA GIS Competition Flyer


Helpful Hints for ArcGIS Online Competition:

Helpful Hints for ArcGIS Online Competition

How to Build a  Map Tour App (Video Directions)


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