GIS and Map Contests Roundup


There are a few map contests open for those interested in submitting both paper and digital maps as well as contests designed to showcase the potential of different types of spatial data.

GIS and Map Contests

Here are current map and GIS related competitions listed in order of the competition deadline.  An updated list of map competitions on the horizon:

Ristow Prize

Deadline: June 1, 2014

With a prize that includes $1,000 and publication in The Portolan, Journal of the Washington Map Society, the Dr. Walter W. Ristow Prize in an award for academic achievement in the History of Cartography.  The prize is offered annually by the Washington Map Society and is awarded to the best submission of a research paper relating to the history of cartography. The competition is open to all undergraduate, graduate, and first year post-doctoral students.  The deadline for this year’s award is June 1, 2014.  More: Ristow Prize (Via

Storytelling with Maps Contest

Deadline: June 2, 2014

Anyone who has ever created a story map, or wanted to, is invited to enter Esri’s Storytelling with Maps Contest.

“Everything is fair game, including Story Maps you’ve already created or brand-new Story Maps,” said Allen Carroll, leader of Esri’s Story Maps team. “Feel free to alter or customize our Esri Story Maps apps. Entries will be judged on how effectively you make the subject matter interesting, understandable, and engaging.”

Esri will provide first-, second-, and third-place prizes in these categories:

      • Best Conservation, Environment, and Sustainability Story Maps
      • Best Travel and Destinations Story Maps
      • Best Culture, History, and Events Story Maps
      • Best Science, Technology, and Health Story Maps

All entries must make use of one of Esri’s Story Maps apps. Your Story Maps may be hosted anywhere, including by Esri, but the code for each entry needs to have originated with one of Esri’s Story Maps apps. Contest participants may—and in fact are encouraged to—alter or customize the Story Maps app to suit their needs.

One grand prize will be awarded to the best overall Story Maps entry chosen by the contest judges. Winners will receive:

      • Grand Prize/Best Overall: One (1-year) annual ArcGIS Online for Organizations subscription (five users) plus a plaque and a certificate.
      • First Prize: A copy of The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects and a one-year subscription to Smithsonian magazine plus a plaque and a certificate.
      • Second Prize: A one-year subscription to Smithsonian magazine plus a plaque and a certificate.
      • Third Prize: A one-year subscription to Smithsonian magazine plus a plaque and a certificate.

The competition closes June 2, 2014 at 5 p.m. PDT. Winners will be announced and their maps unveiled at the Esri International User Conference.

Discover more about Esri Story Maps at Or, enter the contest at

2014 IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Contest

Deadline: Paper Contest – June 8, 2014 (Classification contest deadline has passed)

Developed by the Image Analysis and Data Fusion (IADF) Technical Committee of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society, the Data Fusion Contest provides participants with the opportunity for spatial analysis with two image datasets: a coarser-resolution long-wave infrared (LWIR, thermal infrared) hyperspectral data set andfine-resolution data acquired in the visible (VIS) wavelength range.  There are two competitions:

The Classification Contest, which is designed to promote innovation in classification algorithms, as well as to provide objective and fair comparisons among methods. The goal is to exploit coarser resolution thermal hyperspectral data and finer resolution color data to generate an accurate classification result at the finer of the two observed resolutions. Ranking will be based on quantitative accuracy parameters computed with respect to undisclosed test samples. In addition to accuracy, another relevant aspect to assess a classification method is its computational burden, given the provided amount of training samples. In the Classification Contest, participants are given a limited time to submit their classification maps after the competition is started. For allowing the participants to effectively focus their methods on the proposed multiresolution task and type of input data, the Classification Contest consists of two steps:

        • Step 1: Participants were provided with a subset of the data, including ground truth to train their algorithms.
        • Step 2: Participants receive the full data set and will submit their classification maps by two weeks from the release of the full data set. In parallel, they will submit a description of the approach used.

The Paper Contest, which aims at promoting novel synergetic uses of multiresolution and multisensor data. Participants will submit 4-page IEEE-style manuscripts using the aforementioned data for fusion tasks. Each manuscript will describe the addressed problem, the proposed method, and the experimental results. The topic of the manuscript in the data fusion area is totally open and participants are encouraged to tackle open problems in multisensor and/or multiresolution data processing, as well as in the analysis of thermal hyperspectral imagery. Papers will be evaluated and ranked by an Award Committee.

The deadline for the Classification contest is March 5, 2014 and the deadline for the Paper Contest is June 8, 2014.  For more information visit the Data Fusion Contest page.

NACIS Student Mapping Competitions’

Deadline: September 12, 2014

The North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) recognizes the important contributions students make to our field. To recognize some of their hard work and achievements, we offer two fantastic student competitions each year at our annual conference (this year October 8–11 in Pittsburgh, PA). All students currently enrolled in a certificate program, undergraduate, or graduate/post-graduate program are eligible to enter, as long as they have not previously won top prize in either competition.

Student Dynamic Map Competition:  The North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) recognizes the importance of dynamic mapping in cartography. We are sponsoring the 15th Annual Student Dynamic Map Competition to promote cartographic excellence and innovation in this versatile medium. A first prize of $500 will be awarded in each category. Deadline for submissions is September 12th. To view the rules and prizes, please visit

Student Map and Poster Competition:  Students who would like to display their works at NACIS 2014 should register for the Student Map and Poster Competition. We encourage all students to submit their maps and technical/research posters for a chance at a prize of $500! There is no entry fee. All entrants will be displayed in the Map Gallery, and the winner will be selected by a ballot of all meeting attendees. The deadline to register is September 12th, 2014. For more information, please visit

Please take a moment to encourage your students to enter either of the above competitions. We look forward to seeing the diverse range of entries in Pittsburgh!

Travel Grants and Memberships:  As an organization (and as former students ourselves), we’re aware that student budgets don’t often allow for extras like conference attendance or organizational memberships. Each year, NACIS offers up to 10 free memberships to undergraduate students, as well as offering a number of travel grants to students wishing to attend the annual conference. To find out more, please visit

Submit a Map or GIS Competition

If you have a map or GIS competition that you would like to see listed here, please fill out the form below.


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