2021 ArcGIS StoryMaps Challenge

The 2021 version of the annual StoryMaps challenges sponsored by ESRI is back again and this time they are focusing mainly on Oceans as they have a partner which happens to be the National Geographic.

The challenge will open on August 16, 2021

ESRI Website

Here is a little bit of story behind the official announcement of the competiton.

A shared commitment to conservation

As integral partners in conservation, Esri and the National Geographic Society support efforts that illuminate our ocean’s most pressing problems and inspire action.

GIS and storytelling for #GenGeo

We engage young people in solution-finding through GIS and storytelling by encouraging them to join the growing #GenGeo movement—a global community of young people with an insatiable drive to seek solutions that build a sustainable future and thriving planet.

Resources for the classroom and beyond

Esri and the National Geographic Society create conservation and ocean-related resources to engage youth and educators in taking action for our planet.

Join storytellers worldwide in the ArcGIS StoryMaps Ocean Challenge

A story can effect change, influence opinion, and create awareness. Use ArcGIS StoryMaps to integrate maps, data, and multimedia content with text to tell a narrative about the world’s greatest challenges and inspire solutions.

Esri and the National Geographic Society challenge high school and college students and individuals ages18-24 to create impactful stories about ocean health.

You might create an original story that:

  • Highlights changemakers in ocean conservation.
  • Addresses global warming, pollution, habitat protection, over-harvesting or poaching, local waterway management, or effects on water quality.
  • Creates unique visualizations of threats to the ocean.
  • Amplifies the seven Ocean Literacy principles.
  • Addresses United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: To conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas, and marine resources.

Find inspiration, data, maps, and resources on Learn ArcGIS.

Some of the crucial information as provided by the sponsors you definitely are here for:

Key dates and submission deadlines


  • October 22, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (PT)


  • December 2021

Three winners will be announced for each track.


All winners will:

  • Receive a 2021 Esri Storyteller of the Year certificate.
  • Be featured on the Esri website.

The first and second-place winners also will be featured in educational materials for other students.

The first-place winners will have the opportunity to participate in a networking meet-and-greet with a National Geographic Young Explorer.


The 2021 ArcGIS StoryMaps Challenge invites story submissions globally through two tracks.

Track 1 is for pre-collegiate students ages 14-18. For this track only, entries must be submitted by a school or club leader as the applicant and proxy.

Track 2 is for students 18 years and older enrolled in higher education institutions or eligible people 18-24 years old.

An applicant—one person or one group—may enter this challenge once.

Explore the official terms and conditions to learn more about submissions.

Judging Criteria

Esri’s StoryMaps team will select 10 finalists for each track. Guest judges will select first, second, and third-place winners from each track’s finalists.

Entries must be new and original. Projects may use data from outside persons or institutions, within guidelines of “fair use.”

Judges will evaluate each story based on:

  • Overall design, impact, and originality.
  • Effective use of GIS and ArcGIS StoryMaps.
  • Effective communication about ocean restoration, protection, or conservation.