For the past few years, Esri has challenged ArcGIS users and developers to create something great, from a “100 Lines or Less” app to Climate Resilience and Human Health and Climate Change apps, to a Data Visualization app. This year, Esri launched the Global Content Challenge (GCC) for students at colleges and universities around the world. The mission: tell a compelling story using the Esri Story Map Journal app and land, ocean and population layers from Esri’s Living Atlas of the World.

Canadian students won big in the challenge, with six students from McMaster University and one student from Carleton University receiving awards. Both universities are part of the Esri Canada Centres of Excellence program, which encourages innovation in GIS research and promotes teaching excellence. One of the reasons for the high participation and success rate of McMaster students is that Patrick DeLuca, GIS specialist, instructional assistant and lecturer at McMaster, decided to make the GCC part of the “Special Topics in GIS” course this fall as a way to provide extra motivation to his students. The course introduces students to web mapping, mobile apps and 3D GIS using the ArcGIS platform.

The students had to produce a story map and a paper describing the processes they followed and their reasoning for the course. More than two-thirds of the students also chose to enter their story maps in the GCC, and according to Pat, “They were all pumped at the chance to participate.”

Read some of the students’ own thoughts about the GCC in ECCE Student Associate blog posts by Matt Brown, Spencer Elford and Karl Chastko.

Danielle Derrick, an undergraduate student in biology at Carleton University who received an honourable mention in the Land category for her story map about tiger conservation, is also an ECCE Student Associate. Danielle heard about the GCC from her professor, Dan Patterson, who is the director of the ECCE at Carleton. Although she had been using GIS for a few years, she had never heard of Esri’s story maps and thought the GCC would be a great way to test them out – and maybe win some funds for grad school.

Danielle is interested in conservation management and says, “I believe one of the most influential factors affecting conservation is public education. If we can create webpages or ‘features’ that are interactive and can hold someone’s attention, then we have the chance to impart a huge influence on how conservation strategies can continue. I thought the Esri story map was a great way to get a conservation method across to an audience that may not be knowledgeable in the GIS field or the Science field, but may still want to know what’s going on and how they may be able to help.”

You can find Danielle’s story map and the winning apps from McMaster students in the Canadian Global Content Challenge Winners gallery.

Congratulations to all the winners!