More than 2,100 secondary school and university level students in 63 countries used geographic tools to explore ways in which their communities could be made more livable as part of the "My Community, Our Earth (MyCOE): Geographic Learning for Sustainable Development" project. This project, sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, the United Nations Environment Programme, and Esri emphasized the links between geography and sustainable development.
Judges selected 10 outstanding projects and the achievements of these students were recognized at the 22nd Annual Esri International User Conference. Presentations were made during the plenary session and their projects were displayed as part of "My Community, Our Earth: A Global Showcase of GIS for Sustainable Development" special exhibit.
Using geographic tools and methods, students analyzed and documented a wide variety of problems and came up with innovative recommendations. Digital tools, such as GIS software, and more traditional manual methods, such as hand-drawn maps and charts, were used to complete the project. As part of the project, more than 400 volunteer mentors provided assistance to students and schools.
The top MyCOE projects looked at many types of challenges facing communities from social problems, such as obtaining housing for squatters to environmental concerns, such as identifying the sources and evaluating the effects of various types of water pollution. After examining these problems, students suggested programs that would improve the quality of life for the community, often through conserving resources and coexisting in harmony with nature.
In addition to the MyCOE display at the User Conference, selected projects will be displayed at other international venues, including the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa. The project demonstrates geographic approaches to the challenges of sustainable development while raising awareness of the importance of geography and GIS. All submitted projects will be displayed on the MyCOE Web site. To learn more about the MyCOE project, visit www.aag.org/sustainable.