Esri Announces Winners of the 2023 ArcGIS Online Competition

US High School and Middle School Students Used ArcGIS Software to Map and Present State Issues

REDLANDS, Calif.—June 2, 2023— Students across the nation learn about environmental and social concerns every day not just in the classroom, but from the communities in which they live. Complex issues from housing shortages to pedestrian safety are often inherently location-based challenges, and many students have begun taking a geographic approach to understanding them. In support of this, Esri the global leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology, holds the ArcGIS Online Competition annually for US High Schools and Middle Schools. For the 2023 competition, two winners and two honorable mentions were chosen from 600 high school and middle school entries. Participating states awarded $100 to the five best high school (grades 9–12) and five best middle school (grades 4–8) projects in their state.

“Geography can inform solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president. “It has always been so important for us to contribute to educational programs to equip and encourage the next generation with the best tools to make their world a better place for the future.”

For the competition, students researched a topic of their choice within the state they attend school and present their findings in an ArcGIS StoryMap. Rachel Lay and Grace Newman won the high school competition with Traffic Accidents in Jacksonville, IL (2017-2022), and Sylvan Redish’s project, Hennepin Homeless, won the middle school competition. The high school honorable mention went to Bek Handzic-Smith for Climate Change in Missouri. The middle school honorable mention was awarded to Logan Morgan for Public Libraries in Rhode Island.

Esri’s GIS software is offered for free instructional use to every K–12 school. The ArcGIS Online Competition for US High Schools and Middle Schools began after Minnesota ran a successful state-based competition in 2016, inspiring Esri to use them as a national model.

To learn more, visit the 2023 competition, which includes links to projects by all awardees.


About Esri 

Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, helps customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Founded in 1969 in Redlands, California, USA, Esri software is deployed in hundreds of thousands of organizations globally, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, nonprofit institutions, and universities. Esri has regional offices, international distributors, and partners providing local support in over 100 countries on six continents. With its pioneering commitment to geospatial technology and analytics, Esri engineers the most innovative solutions that leverage a geographic approach to solving some of the world’s most complex problems by placing them in the crucial context of location. Visit us at

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