Mapping Your Story Competition

First Place

Ada Pezzuti Dyer - 6th grade

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Second Place

Tvisha Jani - 6th grade

Endangered Species

Third Place

Vivian Foutz - 6th grade

Covid Blue?

Honorable Mention

Alisha Jamal - 8th grade

Access to Fresh and Safe Drinking Water Across the Globe

Other participants


Arabella Horton - 6th grade - Visiting The National Parks...During a Pandemic

Audrey Sproule- 7th grade - California Vacation Destinations

Mihika Joshi -8th grade - How Solar Panels Reduce Energy Consumption

Nadia Kiani Cuenca -5th grade - Mapping using ArcGIS maps

Nishka Karki -6th grade - Biggest Natural Disasters of each State in the US

Sahaana Vasudevan - 6th grade - Can cancer death rates be reduced?

Sofia Garcia-Huidobro - 5th grade - Museums in Florida

Thuviksa Mathialakan - 5th grade - Where can you study next in the US?

Congratulations to all participants and winners ✨

Competition Details

Time to turn on your investigative thinking hats! Have you ever wondered how you could solve a problem in your community or the world through data and mapping? Are you curious about the impacts of Covid-19 or other events in your life, community, or the world?

Our Mapping Your Story Competition encourages girls to use a combination of online map-making tools and data to investigate a problem or event based on read world data. You will first learn how geospatial information can be used to solve problems and share an interesting story of your choosing through story maps using ArcGIS and data. Finally, you will combine your map, data and story map and submit this in our contest for evaluation to win an award. Please review the registration information, agenda, rules, and evaluation criteria below.

Important Dates

  • Registration : Closed

  • Kickoff meeting and mapping class: July 17 at 2pm EST

  • Mentoring sessions: TBD

  • Submission deadline: August 2 at midnight

  • Finalists presentations and award ceremony: August 7 at 2:30pm EST. (Note the changed time)

You will need

  • Software: ArcGIS online account - ArcGIS Online (free account) and StoryMaps.

  • Hardware: Computer (PC, Mac, or Chromebook).

  • Other: Internet connection.

More details about the competition is given below. Want to be part of it - register now using the button below. For any questions, please email

Contest Information

I. Eligibility

  1. Entrants must be middle school girl students, entering grades 5-9 at the time of project submission, from public schools or non-public schools or be home schooled.

  2. Entrants must work independently and can submit only one entry.

  3. All participants must have been registered online by a parent or guardian before the registration deadline.

II. Entries

  1. Entries must be from an ArcGIS online 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).

  3. Entries must focus on content specified in the instructions and from the approved entry form.

  4. All entries must be submitted August 2 by 11:59pm ET through the contest submission form. The submitted entry must include the StoryMap link.

III. Awards/Judging Criteria

  1. ORCSGirls will hold an awards ceremony on August 7, 2021 at 2pm ET.

  2. Three finalists will be selected and asked to present their map/story and that will determine places 1, 2 and 3.

  3. Because it is impossible to foresee all circumstances, awards are subject to change or elimination.

  4. Account: Entries must be from an ArcGIS Online (free account). This can be an Org operated by, e.g., the student's school or club. The entry must be able to remain visible publicly without login through at least June 2022 (one year past the close of this event), ideally longer.

  5. Login: 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 helpful note.

  6. Originality: Entries must be "original work by students," conceived, created, and completed entirely by the participant submitting the entry. Class projects turned into an entry by one student, and teacher-directed projects, are not acceptable. Projects may use data generated by outside persons or institutions, within guidelines of "fair use." (Students are encouraged to use appropriate professionally generated GIS data, but these must be documented, and the integration, treatment, and presentation must be original.)

  7. Visual Supports: Because this is meant to be a "map-centric" exploration, analysis, and presentation of a geographic phenomenon, use of "non-map visuals" should be limited. Storymaps containing more than three images (excluding popups on interactive maps) will incur a reduction in judging score. Including videos is discouraged.

  8. Data: All data sources used to create the maps need to be listed on the story map page with links as appropriate. Collecting your own data is encouraged and should be indicated on the page.

  9. Submission: Participants will need to submit the share link to their project and ensure their ARCGis Storymap or Web App are accessible to the public.

  10. Scoring: "We look for a clear focus/topic/question/story, good and appropriate data, effective analysis, good cartography, effective presentation, and complete documentation."

Project Tips

  1. This is a "map competition." Entries should address an identified issue/ puzzle/ challenge, 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 judging. The project must emphasize student work; professionally generated GIS data generally does not detract from 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.

  2. Good projects gently help even a viewer unfamiliar with the region will quickly know 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. Remember, often simple is better.

  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. Popups are not required.

  6. Take note of all data sources you are using and make sure they are referenced in your story map. Often the power of the story comes from combining data from different sources for the same location.