I. Who is eligible

  1. Entrants must be pre-collegiate students registered in grades 4-12, from Illinois public schools or non-public schools including home schools, under age 19, who have not yet received a high school diploma or equivalent.
    1. Students can work singly or in teams 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. Entries must come from a recognized school or home school, even if the entrants are working on the entry in an out-of-school club.
    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.

II. Theme, "My Town, Illinois"

Map entries must feature a geographic story related to "Home Town, Illinois" with at least one original map created using ArcGIS Online.

III. Entry Requirements

  1. Entries must be from an ArcGIS Online Organization account. Any US K12 school (including public, non-public, or home school) can request from an ArcGIS Online Organization account for instruction for free.
  2. Entries must be an ArcGIS Online "presentation" or "web app" or "story map".
  3. Entries must focus on content within the state borders, however students may use data from outside Illinois to help tell their stories. For example, if the story is about how immigrants have changed the student's town, county or state they could use world maps to show how they got there. The map boundaries should be clearly defined and contained within the state of Illinois.  Students could even create their own boundaries for the focus of their project.
  4. Schools must announce their own internal deadlines, in time to complete judging and provide information to the state by April 24, 2018.

IV. Map analysis

Story map entries must include some analysis based on the information presented. The following are examples of ArcGIS Online tools and features that may be use for analysis.

    1. Enriched layers tool
    2. Data table statistics tool
    3. Comparing and contrasting layers
      For examples of analytic Story Maps on many topics visit:

V. Documentation

All research must be documented on the "details" page of the ArcGIS story map. All non-original materials need to be properly referenced. Include a description of how the original map was created and type of analysis performed

Documentation checklist

Documentation is clear and complete
 All non-original content (including images) in the presentation/ web  app/ story map are appropriately referenced and/ or linked so their sources are clear
 Original contents are described and/ or linked
Documentation identifies processes used to analyze the content
 Everyone who helped with the project is credited (keeping in mind PII)

VI. Judging Criteria

  1. Entries should be analytical in nature, map-centric rather than photo-centric.
  2. Entries must be visible without requiring a login. Entries engaging "premium data" (login required, such as Living Atlas) must set up the display to permit access without needing a login. See helpful note.
  3. Entries must be "original work by students," but may use data generated by outside persons or institutions, within guidelines of "fair use." (Students are encouraged to use appropriate professionally generated data, but the integration, treatment, and presentation must be original.)
  4. Entries must provide two links in "short URL" format (e.g., one linking to the item details page and one linking to the display page.
  5. The rubric for judging the state map submissions is based on the national scoring rubric. The rubric will apply to all entries regardless of grade band. (100 points)
  6. Link to Judging criteria and rubric

VII. Map Submissions

  1. Students can work singly or in teams 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. Student to school - Maps may only be submitted by an individual student or a team of two students.
  3. School to state competition - Each school is allowed to submit up to five student maps for the state competition.
  4. If there are more than five potential maps from a school, a judging panel at the school should select the top five to submit for the state contest. Teachers/ sponsors are encouraged to invite a GeoMentor to participate in the school judging. See GeoMentor map - tab 4
  5. The top five Illinois maps in each division (High School and Middle School) will be submitted to the Esri 2017 Map Competition for U.S Schools.
  6. The following forms are required for schools to submit maps to the state:
    1. Map submission Form
      Link to map submission forms provided to registered teachers. Click here to register.
    2. Permission Form
      Signed permission forms must accompany all map submissions. Link to permission form (.docx)

    Final maps must be submitted to state no later than Friday, May 1, 2017 5:00 pm Central Time

VIII. Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

  1. Schools should consider issues around exposing PII. See for strategies for minimizing PII. Teachers should help students minimize exposure of their own PII and that of others, including in map, image, and text.
  2. State competition 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 (home school 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.