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ArcGIS Online Competition

University of North Georgia (UNG) - IESA, Kennesaw State University (KSW), and the University of West Georgia (UWG), in collaboration, with the Georgia GIO, GeoTAC (state geospatial technical advisory committee) and ESRI, coordinate a GIS Competition program for students in grades 4 through 12. If you are a teacher of students in grades 4-12 and wish for your school to participate in this program, please email Dr. Katayoun Mobasher at with your school, class, and contact information with any questions or to announce your intent for your student(s) to participate in the competition. Visit the GeoNet discussion forum for more information.

Teachers may request a copy of the scoring rubric for feedback to share with students. Students or parents may not request feedback directly, but seek assistance from the teacher who mentored the student.

Georgia State Leadership Team

  • Katty Mobasher, UNG-IESA
  • Uli Ingram, KSU
  • Jung Eun (Jessie) Hong, UWG

Competition Process Timeline



August – December 

  • Notify state competition coordinator of your school’s intent to participate by email.
  • Acquire school software licenses needed and establish user accounts for participants in the competition. See Creating School Organization Account with ESRI info.
  • Students should begin the research portion of their custom project and submit to their teacher with any school forms required.


January – February 

  • Students should begin the mapping portion of their custom project with their teacher serving as a mentor. If an external mentor is needed, contact the state competition coordinator.
  • Students in grades 4-12, in teams of 1 or 2, do a custom project, then create a web app or story map about their project, and submit it to school.
  • Here are simple steps to learn how to get started on creating your Story Map.


  • Students should present their project to the school for consideration in the school based competition.
  • The school selects the five best student projects and submits to the state coordinator on the School Entry Form (excel) by the end of March.
  • Teachers at each school choose the school's 5 best and submit them to the state coordinator by March 31, 2021.


  • Teachers with submissions to state competition should be in contact with the state coordinator to resolve any issues or to respond to inquiries from judges needed to be able to fully consider the student project.


  • State winners are determined by first week in May.
  • The 1st place in the High School Category and the Middle School category will proceed to national competition.
  • Information on all state winners will be sent to ESRI.


  • National competition takes place. ESRI will make a participation map  on their web site to showcase all of the states with submissions and determine the top high school and top middle school team for national prizes.
  • Top high school and top middle school go to Esri Education GIS Conference and present their map in ESRI UC Map Gallery. 
  • ESRI provides a travel stipend for the winning student, 1 parent, and/or 1 teacher to attend the national competition in California. 


  • Certificates and award payments of $100 per project will be sent to the school for disbursement to student winners.
  • Individual project winners will receive $100; group projects will split the $100 evenly.
  • Schools may need to complete paperwork with the university business office for payment allocation. Teachers, please stay in contact with the state coordinator to process paperwork.
  • When schools receive payment and certificates, the school will be responsible for deciding when and how to disburse to students.

ESRI Education GIS Conference, Redlands, CA 

Creating School Organization Account with ESRI

The ArcGIS for Schools Bundle is available at no cost for instructional use to individual US K–12 schools, school districts, and states direct from Esri. Beyond the United States, the bundle is available to schools worldwide through ESRI's network of international distributors. Every public, private, home school, and youth-serving club is eligible. 

Each school who wants to participate in the geospatial competition will need to create an organizational account and then add all teachers and students participating in the competition as users.

Protecting Personal Identity

Protecting Personal Identity (PPI) is a concern for many students, families, schools, districts, and general citizens. ESRI seeks to minimize the PPI in this competition. ESRI's Implementation Roadmap for Schools (PDF) provides info about minimizing use of PPI. AGO Org admins are encouraged to use generic usernames, profiles, and emails. Content made public should be transferred to a "showcase login" in the Org.

In this competition, teachers should help students avoid exposing their own PII in logins, profiles, map layers, map products, and documentation. Teachers should also guard against students sharing inappropriately any PII of other people, in map layers, photos, popups, and so forth. ESRI seeks from states only the names of the 1HS+1MS entries to the national level challenge. All other entries going from state to ESRI will be identified generically.

In submitting entries from school to state, schools should use generic identifiers unless you have signed approval by the student (or, if a minor, by the student's parent/guardian). Students should be listed as "[ST]_[SchoolName]_EntryCode" unless an appropriate permission slip is provided. Schools should keep any such permissions safely on file. See forms for state winners for copy of blank permission slip.

Forms for Competition Entries

All students should submit the Permission and Release Form (PDF) and the Student Entry Form (excel) to their teacher. The teacher may be requested to submit a copy to the state coordinator at a later date. Schools should submit all entries on the School Entry Form (excel) by the advertised deadline.

Once notified by the state coordinator that you are a finalist in the state competition, your teacher will inform you about when prizes and awards will be dispersed at your school.

Schools – Public or Private: Your school will receive a check for the total dollar amount of prizes earned by students attending your school and certificates. The school is responsible for dispensing funds and passing out certificates per your school system policy.

Homeschoolers: You will need to complete and return a Supplier Registration Form and UNG Check Request Form before any prizes can be dispersed. You do not need to submit these forms until requested by the state coordinator.

Frequently Asked Questions

For FAQ, ESRI has created an online discussion forum for all teachers and students. This is a great place to ask for “how to” help or to find more information. 

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