Win a trip to the GIS-Pro & NWGIS 2015 Conference*! (Deadline has passed, but check out the semi-finalist abstracts here:

The GeoTech Center and URISA are pleased to announce the 2015 Undergraduate Geospatial Technology Skills Competition! The intent of the competition is to showcase the geospatial technology skills of U.S. undergraduate students. Competing students will create a project that utilizes geospatial technology to address a real-world problem. The student will then present the project and the resulting deliverables as a video that not only highlights their use of geospatial technology, but also demonstrates their communication and presentation skills. 


Applicants must meet all of the requirements below to qualify for the competition (questions regarding eligibility can be directed to either Tom Mueller or Scott Jeffrey):

  • Applicants must be the age of 18 or older;

  • Applicants must be enrolled during the Spring 2015 term in a geospatial technology course (e.g., geographic information systems, remote sensing, GPS/GNSS, etc.) or geospatial technology program at an accredited 2-year or 4-year U.S. institution (undergraduate status);

  • Applicants must reside in the U.S.;

  • All work and cartographic output must be the original work of the applicant;

  • Only one entry allowed per student; and

  • Only individual student submissions allowed (no group projects).


The initial round of the competition will be judged by a panel of experienced geospatial specialists, and the combined scores from all judges will determine the top five (5) student finalists**. These finalists will receive an all-expense-paid* trip to the GIS-Pro & NWGIS 2015 international conference in Spokane, WA on October 18-22, 2015, where they will be required to present their project during the final round of the competition.


The goal of this round of the competition is for students to demonstrate their capabilities in applying geospatial technology (geographic information systems, remote sensing, and global navigation satellite systems, etc.) to address a real-world problem. The scope of the project is open to the student’s discretion, but must be clearly defined and adhere to the following guidelines:

To enter the competition, students must submit the following along with their entry form:

  • a 150-250 word abstract that describes their project, demonstrating their knowledge and proficiency of geospatial technology and

  • a no-longer-than 10 minute video.

    • Video Tips & Requirements:
      • Make sure the video focuses on the maps and/or project items and that individual details can be clearly seen.
      • Consider recording a video of your on-screen presentation (PowerPoint, web app, mobile app, etc.) and then adding either a voice-over or a corner inset video showing yourself as you present (Screencast-O-Matic is an easy-to-use, free software option to do so, but not required of applicants to enter the competition). 
      • Videos must be submitted as a link to a video you have uploaded to either your YouTube channel, your Dropbox account, or your Google Drive account (if you choose Dropbox or Google Drive, please make sure to add in the share settings). Please direct any questions regarding video upload to
Projects will be judged on categories including project design, organization, analysis, and overall presentation quality. An official rubric has been made available. All materials must be submitted no later than midnight Eastern Time on Friday, June 19, 2015 (note: deadline has passed and the competition finalists were notified on July 22, 2015).


Four (4) competition finalists* will be chosen and notified no later than July 21, 2015. Finalists will have until August 7, 2015 to accept and commit to attending and presenting during the final competition round at the GIS-Pro & NWGIS 2015 international conference in Spokane, WA on October 20, 2015 (all travel expenses will be covered**). Finalists will begin the final competition round with a blank slate (i.e., scores will not be carried over from the initial round). Presentation order will be determined by random drawing, and the time limit for each student presentation is 15 minutes (10 minute presentation followed by a 5 minute question and answer period). A judging panel of experienced geospatial specialists will determine the competitors’ final place ranking.

*Paid expenses include airfare, vehicle mileage, hotel, meals (set per-diem rate), travel to/from hotel and airport, and other travel-related items approved in advance by the GeoTech Center Director. Students must follow the Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC) travel regulations and use JCTC’s official travel agent. Advanced approval of travel, along with all required travel forms, must be received 30 days prior to the event. Complimentary conference registration will be provided by URISA.

**It is anticipated that two (2) of the student finalists will be from two-year colleges and two (2) from four-year institutions. The exact split will depend upon the number of students who enter the competition and the quality of the work submitted (judges also reserve the right to invite fewer student finalists). Student finalists are required to present on October 20, 2015. They may attend the rest of the conference at no charge, if their schedule allows.