2021 ArcGIS StoryMaps Challenge for Restoring Our Ocean

06-15-2021 06:00 AM
Esri Regular Contributor
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Esri recently announced the 2021 ArcGIS StoryMaps Challenge for Restoring Our Ocean. This challenge officially opens August 16, 2021 and is in partnership with the National Geographic Society to increase awareness and inspire action on our ocean's most pressing problems. This challenge encourages youth and educators to use GIS and storytelling on a deeper level and connect to a larger #GenGeo movement. 


Who's Eligible to Participate? 


The 2021 ArcGIS StoryMaps Challenge for Restoring Our Ocean is globally open to submissions through two tracks:

  • Track 1: High school students, precollegiate ages 14-18
  • Track 2: Higher education students enrolled in or accepted to a two- or four-year institution or individuals 18-24 years old

High school students are required to submit their stories through a school or club leader through the official entry form.

Students in higher education must be enrolled in or accepted to an accredited institution.

Other individuals 18-24 must create and submit their stories from one of four accounts ArcGIS Creator or Professional, ArcGIS for Personal Use, or a free account available during the 2021 ArcGIS StoryMaps Challenge only. 


Theme and Focus Areas


The theme for this challenge is to explore, protect, and conserve our oceans. Story submissions must be original and highlight any topic related to ocean health. Here are some topics to get you started:

  • Highlight changemakers in ocean conservation.
  • Address global warming, pollution, habitat protection, over-harvesting or poaching, local waterway management, or effects on water quality.
  • Create unique visualizations of threats to the ocean.
  • Amplify the seven Ocean Literacy principles.
  • Address United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: To conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas, and marine resources.


Meet Our Guest Judges 


This year we have an incredible group of judges eager to review your impactful story about ocean health:

  • Dawn Wright, Esri Chief Scientist
  • Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri K12 Education Manager
  • Sandra Turner, National Geographic Certified Educator
  • Alex Tait, The Geographer at the National Geographic Society
  • Shelby O’Neil, National Geographic Young Explorer  




Winners Receive Recognition


The Esri StoryMaps team will select 10 finalists from each track where a first and second place winner will be chosen. All winners will receive recognition in the form of a certificate titled 2021 Esri Storyteller of the Year and featured on the Esri website. 

The first-place winner, however, will have the unique opportunity to participate in a networking meet-and-great with a National Geographic Young Explorer. 

Judges will review your submission and choose a winner based of the following criteria:

Judges will evaluate each story based on:

  • Overall design, impact, and originality.
  • Effective use of GIS and ArcGIS StoryMaps.
  • Effective communication about ocean restoration, protection, or conservation.


Challenge Resources


Find inspiration on the #myoceanstory hub. This site provides you with short activities that will take you step-by-step through the basics of GIS. You'll also find short videos by Ashley Du, StoryMaps team member and your summer guide through ten weeks of ocean exploration.

Check out this recent interview with Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist of Esri and esteemed guest judge, as she discusses what the challenge means to her.



Stay connected with the challenge by following these accounts on Twitter:


Ready to get started? Visit the submission page.