2020 ArcGIS Online New Hampshire State School Map Competition

GIS in NH Schools

The state of NH has many teachers using geospatial technologies in their classrooms. Students across the state conduct exciting field investigations and create their own maps online as part of their research. We are happy to be able to once again offer this competition as a great way for teachers and students to showcase all of the exciting GIS projects taking place in schools across New Hampshire. For help getting started with GIS in your school visit the NH Educational GIS Partnership.

Competition Details

Schools may submit up to five school finalists to NHEdGIS which will be judged by professionals using GIS. There will be five high school and five middle school state finalists chosen. Thanks to a grant from Esri, managed by NHSTE, each of these finalists will receive a prize of $100. One finalist in both the high school and middle school categories will be submitted by NHEdGIS to enter the national competition. Winners of the national competition will receive a paid trip to Esri's Education GIS Conference in San Diego, CA, to present their maps in the conference's main Map Gallery.

The state competition will follow the competition guidelines established for the national competition. For details regarding eligibility, entry guidelines, awards, judging criteria and student privacy concerns please refer to the national competition guidelines. There is no state theme. Any map project related to the state of New Hampshire that meets the eligibility requirements may be submitted.

Enter the contest

1. To register your school for the competition complete the New Hampshire State School Map Competition 2020 form by Friday, April 3, 2020. Registration is not mandatory, however only registered schools will be receiving updates and notifications regarding the state contest. Pre-registration is also required in order to receive an early mentoring review from one of our judges. If a student would like an early mentoring review, their competition draft map must be submitted by Friday, April 17th, 2020.

2. School entries need to be submitted by 12 noon on Friday, May 8, 2020. To submit school entries to the state, teacher/s at each school will enter the information for each of the top 5 student entries into the "SchoolToState" sheet and send it to rebecca.l.lilja@usda.gov .


  1. 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.
  2. 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, their primary school of record in case of engaging in activities at more that one school.
  3. 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.
  4. Entries must be from an ArcGIS Online Organization account (not a "public account"). Any K12 school (public, non-public, or homeschool) or formal youth club can request for free an ArcGIS School/Club Bundle (includes an ArcGIS Organization account).
  5. Entries must be in the form of a StoryMap ("new" template), or a Story Map (any of the "classic" templates), or an ArcGIS web app (via template or builder).
  6. Entries must focus on content within the state borders. States may choose to refine the focus further, but the geographic scope of the project must be within the state. 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.
  7. All School Entries must be submitted by 12 noon on Friday, May 8, 2020 using the "SchoolToState" sheet and send it to rebecca.l.lilja@usda.gov . State finalists will be announced on May 20, 2020.
  8. Esri will announce its awards decision by 5pm Pacific Time on Monday, June 1, 2020.
  9. 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 Summit ("EdUC"), arriving by 10amPT 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.
  10. Because only the top 1HS+1MS nominees from a state will be considered for the national competition, states must ensure that, if selected, their top nominees are willing and able to accept the award and attend.

Early Mentoring

  1. Schools are allowed to submit their student entries to the State leadership group for early for review and feedback prior to official judging. The NH "Early Mentoring" deadline is Friday, April 17th, 2020. Entries submitted to the state leadership group by the deadline will be review and comment (but not scoring), so students might benefit from learned guidance. Students are responsible for incorporating any feedback and resubmitting the final map by the State deadline of 12 noon on May 1, 2020.

Design/Judging Criteria

  1. Account: Entries must be from an ArcGIS Online Organization account, not a "public account." This can be an Org operated by, e.g., the student's school or club, the district, the state GIS Education Team, or similar group.
  2. Login: Entries must be visible without requiring a login. Entries engaging "premium data" (login required, such as Living Atlas) must set the display to permit access without needing a login. See helpful note.
  3. Originality: Entries must be "original work by students," conceived, created, and completed entirely by the student(s) 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.)
  4. Visual Supports: Because this is meant to be a "map-centric" exploration, analysis, and presentation of a geographic phenomenon, "non-map visuals" (images and videos) are limited to
    1. total up to 60 seconds of video, and
    2. total up to two images not created by the project author (e.g. 1 historic portrait photo plus 1 historic landscape photo), and
    3. total up to five images created by the project author (replication of project maps as smaller/thumbnail images, and items visible as popups within interactive maps, do not count against these limits).
  5. Short URL: Entries must provide to the school/state/Esri two links in "short URL" format (e.g. "http;//arcg.is/1A2b3xyz"), where
    1. one link goes to the primary display page (the app or storymap), and
    2. one link goes to the item details page (the metadata page for the app or storymap). (A link to the item details page will require a login if the Org does not permit anonymous access and the link uses the the form "<my_org>.maps.arcgis.com/etc;" to work around this, change the link to the form "www.arcgis.com/etc" before creating a short URL. Ad hoc short URLs can be generated at http://bitly.com.)
  6. Scoring: The state competition will be using the same rubric and standards as the national competition with one exception. We have created a separate category regarding data used. While it is not required to use original data in the national competition, projects that do use original data tend to be better. Therefore, we have separated 5 pts in that category dedicated to original data. NH School Map Competition Rubric.

Project Tips:

    1. Look at previous national winners and honorable mention projects. This is a "map competition." 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 national judging. The project must emphasize student work; professionally generated GIS data generally does not detract from national 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 should be at least two thirds.
    2. Good projects gently help even a viewer unfamiliar with the region know quickly 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.
    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 be easily consumed. These popups can include formatted text, key links, images, data presented in charts, and so forth.

VI. Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

  1. Schools should consider issues around exposing PII. See http://esriurl.com/agoorgsforschools 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. States must help potential entrants understand the level of PII required. 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).
  3. Esri will not seek, collect, or accept student names for any entrants other than the national prize entrants (1-HS and 1-MS per state). These and only these will have names exposed by Esri.
  4. All State Finalists will need to fill out the Permission and Release Form.


  1. The five maps judge the best in each division will be awarded a $100 prize.
        • Middle School Division (gr 4-8)
        • High School Division (gr 9-12)
  2. Teachers who submit student maps will be entered into a $100 Cash Raffle.

Questions? Contact Rebecca Lilja

Download the 2020 NH Map Competition:



2019 NH State Winners!

2019 High School State Winner titled Ash Trees, Emerald Ash Borer, and Plymouth Fire Risk.

2019 State High School finalist titled Ash Trees, Emerald Ash Borer, and Plymouth Fire Risk

Middle School State Finalist Map Titled The New Hampshire State Dog

2019 State Middle School finalist titled The New Hampshire State Dog

Need Help?

Visit http://www.nhedgis.org to learn about free professional development offered regarding using GIS in your classroom.