My California GIS Mapping Exhibition and Competition – Contest Rules

I. Eligibility:

  1. Entrants must be pre-collegiate students registered in grades 4-12, from public schools or non-public schools including home schools, under age 19, who have not yet received a high school diploma or equivalent
  2. Entrants must reside and be in school in the state of California.
  3. Students can work singly or in a team of two, but can participate in only one entry. Teams with one student in middle school (gr.4-8) and one in high school (gr.9-12) must be considered as high school.
  4. Entrants may work on the challenge through school, via a club, or independently, but entries must be submitted to the state from a recognized school or home school.
  5. Any school or home school program can submit to the state a maximum of five (5) entries total, counting the sum of middle school and high school entries.

II. Entries:

  1. Entries must be from an ArcGIS Online Organization account (not a “public account”). Any K12 school (public, non-public, or home school) or formal youth club can request for free an ArcGIS School/Club Bundle (includes an ArcGIS Online Organization account).
  2. Entries must be an ArcGIS Online “web app” or “story map“.
  3. Entries must focus on content within the state borders. The project may reference data outside the state “for context,” but may not extend the focus of the study beyond the state borders. 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.
  4. Upon registration, the entry form will be emailed to the contact person on the School registration form available from
  5. Schools must announce their own internal deadlines, in time to complete judging and provide entries to the California Geographic Alliance by midnight on Monday, April 10, 2020.

III. Awards

  1. The California Geographic Alliance will announce the state award winners by 5pm Pacific Time on Friday, May 22, 2020.
  2. Esri will announce its awards decision by 5pm Pacific Time on Monday, June 1, 2020.
  3. Esri will provide a travel grant to one HS team and one MS team, each team consisting of the student(s) and at least one parent/guardian (could be teacher/rep). Awardee teams must agree to attend the Esri Education GIS Conference (“EdUC”), arriving by 10am PT Sat July 11, and staying through at least 4pmPT Tue July 14, 2020. Awardees will be responsible for handling any tax implications, be personally identified including name and photograph, and post a graphic in the Esri User Conference (“UC”) Map Gallery on Mon. Awardees will be recognized at EdUC and UC Map Gallery on Mon, and may have additional attention.
  4. Because only the top 1HS+1MS nominees from a state will be considered for the national competition, states should ensure that, if selected, their top nominees are willing and able to accept the award and attend.

IV. Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

  1. Schools should consider issues around exposing PII. See 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.
  2. Entries submitted to Esri for the top national prize (i.e. 1-HS and 1-MS) must agree in advance to expose student names, school names, and school city/state (homeschool students would be identified to closest city/town name).

V. Judging Criteria

This rubric will be utilized by the state and national competition judges:

Criteria Points Possible
Topic is clearly identified, focuses on content within state borders 5
Overall presentation within the app or story map is effective in informing about topic 10
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
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; of the 20 “total data points possible,” 5 are reserved for rewarding the creation, documentation, and inclusion of one’s own data [0=none, 1=little/weak, 2=some/modest, 3=satisfactory, 4=much/good, 5=most/excellent] (so an otherwise ideal project that contained no user-generated data could receive at most 15 points) 20
Geographic analysis (classification, filtering, geoanalysis) is evident, appropriate, and effective; the “map product” is not “simply uniform dots/lines/areas on a map” nor “simply pictures” 20
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 so 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