2018 ArcGIS Online Competition

 2018 Map Competition for Utah High School and Middle School Students

Basic Information

  • Theme:
  • Deadline:
  • Eligibility: All Utah public, private, or homeschooled students are eligible to enter the contest. Maps can be submitted individually or as a team of two students. Limit of one entry per student or team.
  • ArcGIS Online Requirement: You must use ArcGIS Online to create an original map that features an interesting story about your hometown. The map you submit must be a story map in one of the following formats:
    • Story Map Journal
    • Story Map Series
    • Story Map Tour
  • ArcGIS Online is available to any K-12 school in the United States free of charge from Esri: Go to https://esri.app.box.com/connectedpdf to sign up for a free ArcGIS Online school organization account. Your final map must be created using the school organization account. You may not use a public account.
  • Prizes:  The five maps judged the best in each division will be awarded a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.com. All students whose maps are submitted and their teachers will also receive Map Competition T-shirts.



  • Each school is allowed to submit up to five student maps for the state competition.

All qualified entries need to meet the following guidelines for topic and map construction:

  • Your final project may include images and videos but must be primarily based on the data on your original map.
  • Your mapped story must include some analysis based on the information presented. Some examples of analysis are:
    • Use the ArcGIS measure feature to determine the size of an area shown on your map.
    • Create symbols for your map using Map Notes to show important locations.
    • Create a layer using a csv file to show the geographic distribution of some type of feature, and include your explanation of the distribution as a part of the story map.
    • Create a layer using a csv file with numerical information that can be displayed using the ArcGIS “Counts and Amounts” feature.
    • Compare two or more imported layers and explain the patterns you find.
  • All of your research must be documented on the Details page of your ArcGIS tory map. All non-original materials need to be properly referenced. Include a description of how your original map was created and how you did your analysis.

Map Construction Guidelines

  • You must use ArcGIS Online to construct your map.
  • Your map must address the theme for 2018.
  • Your map must be original and not created using only layers of data already available either online or from Esri.  To meet that criteria, you must have created at least one layer of your own data.
  • Your final map for submission must be one of the following:
    • Story Map Journal
    • Story Map Series
    • Story Map Tour

Maps can only be submitted by an individual student or a team of two students.


Judging Criteria




Sean Fernandez named NGS Geodetic Coordinator for Utah

Sean Fernandez, Utah Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC), and Bill Stone, NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS), are pleased to announce that Sean is now serving as the NGS Geodetic Coordinator for Utah. In this voluntary role (in addition to his day-to-day AGRC responsibilities), Sean will assist Bill, the NGS Southwest Region (UT, AZ, NM) Geodetic Advisor, with various aspects of outreach and interface between Utah’s geospatial community and NGS. The volunteer State Geodetic Coordinator program augments the NGS Regional Geodetic Advisor program by providing a single point of contact within participating states to assist in supporting users of the National Spatial Reference System. For further information, including full contact information for Sean and Bill, see: https://geodesy.noaa.gov/ADVISORS/index.shtml. Feel free to direct any questions to Sean (sfernandez@utah.gov) and/or Bill (william.stone@noaa.gov).

Congratulations to the 2017 Map Gallery winners!

Last week’s conference saw an impressive turnout of map gallery entries, and we all really enjoyed viewing all the maps. The choice was tough for conference attendees who voted for one entry in each category. Congratulations to the winners below:

Map as Art

Stan McShinsky



Citizen Engagement

Is Your Community at Risk From Wildfire?

Utah Forestry, Fire, and State Lands and Timmons Group

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Reflections on the 2017 NSGIC Midyear Meeting

NSGIC’s State Caucus Meeting

Annapolis, MD: Josh Groeneveld and Kasey Hansen (UGIC Board Members)

The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) held its Midyear Meeting in Annapolis, MD from February 27th – March 2nd.  Representatives from 27 states and the District of Columbia were in attendance to collaborate, share best practices and learn about the latest geospatial advancements, particularly in the federal space.  

NSGIC promotes the philosophy of “make it once, use it a bunch”.  There is so much value to all involved in terms of time and effort saved if we can share existing solutions and best practices.  When we have to explain what GIS is to a non-professional, we often hear things like, “Hasn’t everything already been mapped?”  

Not at all!  It was apparent at the Midyear Meeting that there are still challenges creating data in a timely fashion and sharing it with stakeholders across all levels of government. Many national data programs have been implemented for the purpose of addressing these challenges. For first-timers at NSGIC, the sheer number of programs can feel a little overwhelming (not to mention the abundance of federal acronyms!), however the purpose and goal of each program was discussed thoroughly at the meeting.  Even so, while many GIS professionals may be willing to share data, some are under legal constraints to not share data because of privacy concerns.  There are also concerns of some “shared” datasets where the authoritative agency can submit their data into a database and then never see the resulting product.  Some of the hot-button topics at the meeting were Next-Generation 911, the USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), open data, and the GIS Inventory.  

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Maps on the Hill 2017 Recap

Thank you to everyone who participated in Maps on the Hill 2017! It was a great day for the GIS community to participate in telling the story of how geospatial technology can improve efficiency, support decisions, and communicate complex topics. Be sure to check out the photos of the event and Maps on the Hill 2017 Book. AGRC also compiled a video of the event being announced on the house and senate floors (along with great praise), and a time lapse of the morning.

In an effort to reward the best work at Maps on the Hill, a judged contest was added to this year’s event in the capitol rotunda. Recognition and small prizes (Utah AGRC wall maps and ESRI press books) were awarded to the map displays that best conveyed the value of GIS-based solutions.

A four judge panel, consisting of Beth Overhuls (Salt Lake County CIO), Evan Curtis (Governor’s Office of Management and Budget), Lance Newman (Dean, Westminster College Arts & Sciences), and Mike Hussey (State CIO), rated the map displays for overall effectiveness, visual appeal, data integration, and innovation.


This year’s winners are:

UGIC 2017 Maps on the Hill – Best of Show

  • Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands (FFSL) – Wildfire Risk (11*)

UGIC 2017 Maps on the Hill – Awards of Excellence

  • City of West Jordan – Sewer and Sidewalk Infrastructure (18, 31)
  • Division of Wildlife Resources – Wildlife Tracking (10,41)
  • Salt Lake City Public Utilities – Infrastructure Mapping (26-28)
  • Utah State Remote Sensing/GIS Lab – Sage Grouse Habitat (13,36)

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The Cool Kids

Be like the cool kids… come to Maps on the Hill 2017.

Where: Capitol Rotunda (350 State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah)
When: Wednesday January 25th, 2017 from 10:00am to 1:00pm
Why: Even if you didn’t register a presentation for Maps on the Hill, if you are interested in the Utah geospatial community it is a great event to attend.  The focus of the event is the application of geospatial technology.  Many Utah GIS folks will be in attendance and it will be a great chance to network and see what others are doing.  So please attend, even if you didn’t register a map for display.  All the COOL KIDS are doing it!

Maps on the Hill 2017

Maps on the Hill, sponsored by the Utah Geographic Information Council (UGIC) and AGRC, will be held on January 25, 2017. This event, in its sixth year, is a good opportunity for students and professionals to share maps, mapping tools, and mapping projects with elected officials, fellow practitioners, and the public. This year’s theme is “How to Tell the Story of GIS”. We hope to highlight how GIS improves quality of life, increases our understanding of the world, and helps us make better decisions.

New this year will be a competition, with a five-judge panel awarding honors to the best map displays. Bring your best and leave with bragging rights and some prizes!

Who should participate:
Individuals: Anybody who makes a map through their work or education.
Organizations: An organization that has worked on multiple mapping projects.

Maps on the Hill Event:
The map display event will be held during the 2017 Legislative session, in the Capitol Rotunda, from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, with setup time beginning at 9:00 am. We request that at least one participant is present to discuss each map entry throughout the display event.

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ESRI UC 2016

Many UGIC members make the trip to San Diego each summer to attend the ESRI International Users Conference.  This year was no different as Utah was well represented at the UC.

A few major themes coming out of the conference included:

  • 3D GIS – 3D is becoming mainstream functionality within ESRI’s products.  From desktop software and analytics to sharing maps in 3D in the web browser, 3D is a major focus of ESRI’s development efforts.
  • Big Data – ESRI is providing tools to leverage ‘Big Data’.  Visualization of very large datasets is made possible by massively scaleable computing infrastructure provided as a service.  This capability expands what is possible and brings Big Data computing to geospatial workflows.
  • Insights for ArcGIS – Insights is a new web application that allows users to visualize data (both spatial and non-spatial) in creative and interactive ways.  The app provides ‘cards’ consisting of maps, charts, and tables that are all linked to each other and symbolized in a consistent manner.  The Insights application is very flexible and configurable even for non-technical users.  Insights for ArcGIS is focused on exposing patterns in data that may not be otherwise accessible or apparent.
  • Drone2Map – Drone2Map is an application that leverages the new and exciting UAV technology to easily produce ultra high resolution ortho-imagery as well as DSM’s, point-clouds, and 3D models.
  • Free eLearning – ESRI is offering access to 100’s of self-paced eLearning courses at no additional cost for users who are current on maintenance.  ESRI  President Jack Dangermond said, “We are happy to offer organizations the opportunity to train more people in their workforce in how to use Esri ArcGIS at no additional cost.
  • GIS Evolution – ESRI see’s ArcGIS as a unified technology platform that supports multiple types of systems (system of record, system of engagement, system of insight).  Technologies such as web services, distributed computing, real-time data, configurable templates and apps, smart mapping, story maps and Big Data analytics are replacing older patterns such as client/server, static databases, and proprietary application development.
  • Field GIS Tools – ESRI is providing tools such as Workforce, Navigator, Collector, and Survey123 to better support GIS field operations.  We were able to see much of this technology first-hand from Chris LeSueur at the UGIC Conference in May.
  • Living Atlas – ESRI is providing 1000’s of ready to use datasets, layers, and basemaps (as well as millions of user contributions) through the living atlas.  In addition, ESRI announced a new partnership with DigitalGlobe to provide current high quality aerial imagery for the entire world offered through the living atlas.
  • Real-Time – There continues to be emphasis on integrating real-time data including geo-fencing, citizen and customer engagement, and many other examples of ‘high velocity data streams’.
  • ArcGIS for Adobe Creative Cloud – ESRI announced a new add-in that allows users to import ArcGIS Online map data into Adobe Illustrator (as vectors) to take advantage of the high end graphics design capabilities of the Adobe Suite of products.
  • ArcGIS Shared Code – For those of us who have been in the industry for a while, we remember a super useful little website called ArcScripts.  This site was loaded with cool scripts, tools, and ideas that were freely shared among GIS users.  Now that concept has been resurrected into a site called ArcGIS Code Sharing (codesharing.arcgis.com).  Users can log in and share their development work as well as browse and use the work of the collective.  This site which was recently launched is bound to be a valuable tool for many of us.

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The Importance of the UGIC Board Elections

As you may already know voting is now open for several positions on the UGIC Board.  You can review the candidates here.

Serving on the UGIC Board is a big responsibility that requires a real commitment.  Of course serving on the Board is a volunteer position.  Many of you may see the work that the Board does at the UGIC conference.  But, serving on the board is much more than just running around at the conference.  It takes a lot of effort from the Board year round to make UGIC work.  We are focused on facilitating connections within our community, supporting public outreach efforts, and acting as a unified voice for geospatial professionals in Utah.

Producing a successful UGIC conference is a major undertaking that keeps the Board busy for months.  There are a thousand details to work out.  If you have an enjoyable conference, it’s largely because the UGIC Board spent hours planning and working to make things run smoothly.

UGIC is really fortunate to have a lot of great candidates willing to serve on the Board.  So it is important for the UGIC membership to vote in this election.  Please take a few minutes to read through the candidates and vote.

It’s important.

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