Online STEM Competition Not Impacted by COVID-19: 2020 ArcGIS Online Competition Open for SC Students

South Carolina Future Minds
and the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic – STEM Outreach announce the 2020 South Carolina ArcGIS Online Competition for Students. The geospatial mapping contest is part of the Esri national student ArcGIS Online Competition. It is open to all South Carolina students (solo or pairs) in public, private, charter and home middle schools (grades 4-8) and high schools (grades 9-12). Students research a topic within the state, create a Story Map  or web application, and submit it online. Registration is currently open. The deadline for submitting entries is May 13, 2020.

Children learn in a variety of ways, but visual learning is especially effective. Using maps in (and out of) the classroom illustrates geographic context, helping students connect lessons with real places. Esri offers special licensing terms and pricing to qualified educational institutions and individuals for use in learning, scholarly research, and the administration of these institutions. The ArcGIS for Schools Bundle is free to primary and secondary schools.

GIS supports STEM learning with integrative, project-based experiences, providing context to education. Spatial analysis and critical-thinking skills prepare young minds to succeed in course work, further education, and life. There are two contest divisions: Middle School that includes grades 4-8, High School – grades 9-12. Students can compete individually or as a team of two and each school is limited to five entries. The top five maps in the state division receive a $100 Amazon gift certificate and if a team of two, each student receives a $50 certificate. The first-place map in each division represents South Carolina in Esri’s national competition. The other four maps are also shared but are not judged at the national competition.

Entries must be from an ArcGIS Online Organization account, not a “public account” and all 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.) For more information and to see all eligibility requirements please go to

How to Get Started

  1. Check to see if your school already has an organizational account if not, apply for an Esri ArcGIS Online school organization account. Any school – public, private, charter or home school – can apply for a free Esri ArcGIS Online organization account. All contest entrants must create their contest entry using an ArcGIS Online organization account. One person at your school will be the primary account administrator. It could be a teacher, administrator, or media specialist.
  2. Register your school for the 2020 contest. (click here to register) Only registered schools receive the map contest submission form.
  3. Conduct the contest at your school. Decide how you want to conduct the contest. You can do it as a class activity or as an extracurricular activity. View free instructional resources for getting started with a variety of subjects.

Help for Teachers and Students

Geomentors: A nation-wide network of GIS professionals are available to teachers and students. To find a geomentor in your area go to the ESRI K12 Story Map (tab 4). Zoom in and click on one of the dots nearest your location. You will find geomentor contact information.

Education Resources: Many resources exist to help teachers and club leaders learn about GIS and mapping. Depending on student age and ability, many of these resources are appropriate for students as well. To learn to use maps made by others, find content, analyze data, create and save maps, and collaborate visit the Esri K12 Organization page.


For additional information about the contest please email or visit



About South Carolina Future Minds
South Carolina Future Minds (SCFM) is a nonpartisan, statewide 501(c)3 organization investing private resources in public education. Our mission is to champion world class student achievement by supporting excellence in teaching, encouraging collaboration among public education stakeholders, and connecting private financial support to public schools.

Naval Information Warfare Center STEM Outreach Program Overview
The goal of the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach Program is to collaborate with academia, government organizations, local businesses and professional organizations to increase STEM interest and literacy in our communities, and to provide a pipeline for future STEM talent.


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