Esri and UN Launch Global Storytelling Competition

Competition Encourages Use of Geospatial Software to Spread Awareness of Sustainable Development

REDLANDS, Calif.—September 9, 2020—Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) have launched the 2020 ArcGIS StoryMaps Competition for the Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDSN is a leading nongovernmental organization (NGO) working to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise for sustainable development. According to the organization’s president, economist Jeffrey Sachs, “Today’s leaders in sustainable development require skills in the rapidly expanding range of geospatial data and GIS tools, as well as the ability to convey geographic information in stories and maps that advance the public understanding.”

Esri’s ArcGIS StoryMaps is one such tool that enables users to integrate maps, data, and other multimedia content with text to tell stories about the world’s greatest challenges and highlight or inspire solutions. Esri and SDSN are inviting both professionals and students to build and submit stories to the 2020 ArcGIS StoryMaps Competition through November 25, 2020. Story submissions can be created with either the new ArcGIS StoryMaps or the classic Esri Story Maps templates and must address one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Maps reveal patterns and trends by placing them in a geographic context, and that helps us to better understand the world,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president. “Our goal with this competition is to inspire hundreds of professionals and students to combine insightful maps with rich multimedia to tell stories that enable us to envision a sustainable, just, and peaceful future.”

In 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to an ambitious set of 17 SDGs to be met by 2030. These goals function as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, addressing issues such as poverty, hunger, gender equality, and climate change.

For the competition, Esri’s ArcGIS StoryMaps team will select 20 finalists from all qualified submissions—10 finalists from the professional track and 10 finalists from the student track. Guest judges will select first-, second-, and third-place winners in each track. The four guest judges include Jeffrey Sachs, president, SDSN; Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, SDG advocate and environmental activist; Alex Tait, The Geographer at the National Geographic Society; and Dawn Wright, chief scientist, Esri.

Winners will be announced in February 2021. Each winner will be featured on SDSN’s SDGs Today: The Global Hub for Real-Time SDG Data, a new open access data portal that features timely data (updated regularly, at least once every year) on sustainable development measures.

For more information on the 2020 ArcGIS StoryMaps Competition for the Sustainable Development Goals and to submit a story, visit the ArcGIS StoryMaps website.

About Esri

Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, offers the most powerful geospatial cloud available, to help customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Founded in 1969, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations including 90 of the Fortune 100 companies, all 50 state governments, more than half of all counties (large and small), and 87 of the Forbes Top 100 Colleges in the U.S., as well as all 15 Executive Departments of the U.S. Government and dozens of independent agencies. With its pioneering commitment to geospatial information technology, Esri engineers the most advanced solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics. Visit us at

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