This is a guest post by Kevin Yang, a student in the Honours Earth and Environmental Sciences program at McMaster University, who recently won third prize in the Ocean category of the Esri Global Content Challenge held last fall.

For my global content challenge, I wanted to utilize the capabilities of ArcGIS to study a major environmental issue which is climate change in Earth’s polar regions. To begin with, I wanted to learn more about the issue myself so I began with reviewing literature. I believe research is pivotal because the content challenge itself was focused on compelling scientific stories. In addition, I believe that you should dedicate a significant amount of your time with your research, because what you learn eventually turns into the story you want to tell. I think this message captures the tone of my project, as I included many relevant citations throughout the text. Next, I started to search for data that I could use. Eventually, I found suitable data that I could perform analysis with using ArcMap. This turned into the slide “Sea Ice in the Arctic 1979 – 2015” in the final product, which I would say is the backbone of my project. I found that being able to show the changes in sea levels over time using what I have learned at school was both powerful and effective.

As for aesthetics, I tried to stick with blue, frozen colours that bring out the theme of the project. Hand-selecting pictures is definitely an aspect that I feel is important, because if done well it can definitely bring out the visual aspect of your project. Overall, I hope I was able to spread awareness and educate about climate change occurring in Earth’s polar regions, encompassing both land and ocean.

I would like to thank Esri for holding this contest, Pat De Luca for teaching me how to utilize GIS, and my friends and family.

View Kevin’s final submission online: Climate Change in Earth’s Polar Regions