ArcGIS StoryMaps

Meet the judges for the 2022 ArcGIS StoryMaps competition

Don’t miss your chance to have all your data storytelling questions answered live by our experts!

Join us online from 1-2:30 ET on Tuesday, September 13th. Competition judges LaToya Gray-Sparks, John Nelson, Miriam Olivares, and Joshua Stevens will be joined by members of the StoryMaps team to:

Register now


A woman in glasses and a toque smiles and writes on a laptop next to a vibrant map of data and images of a desert and a city

About the competition

The 2022 ArcGIS StoryMaps Competition invites storytellers globally to build stories that communicate an idea, challenge, or solution through innovative data visualization techniques. Submissions are open now through October 7, 2022.

Anyone 18 or older can submit a story to one of five categories: Digital humanities and popular culture, health and safety, humanitarian and social justice, nature and physical science, or planning and infrastructure.

A winner and runner up will be selected from each category. There will also be prizes awarded for the best map choreography, most effective visual language, and most innovative use of data for storytelling. You can learn more about the competition prizes, timeline, judging criteria, and rules of entry by visiting the contest website.


Meet the judges

John Nelson

Cartography and UX, Esri

John Nelson is a map maker, software experience designer, and writer at Esri creating odd geographic data, curious web experiences, moderately-educational blogs, and marginally-instructional videos. He works in a small woodshed in Michigan and relishes the opportunity to chat with other map folks.

Explore John’s video tutorials

LaToya Gray-Sparks

Graduate Student, Virginia Commonwealth University

LaToya Gray-Sparks is a graduate student in urban and regional planning at the Wilder School at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Her research interests include Black geography, urban history, historic preservation, housing policy and real estate practices. LaToya’s story map Planned Destruction placed first in the Educational Map category of the 2020 ESRI User Conference. LaToya currently serves as a Student Board Member of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS), a Policy Advisory Committee member of Housing Opportunities Made Equal (H.O.M.E.) and is a member of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) and the National Council for Geographic Education (N.C.G.E.).

Connect with LaToya on LinkedIn

Miriam Olivares

GIS Librarian, Yale University

Miriam Olivares, GSP is a GIS Librarian at Yale University. With 19 years of geospatial experience, she coordinates GIS support services in higher education. At Yale, and previously at Texas A&M University, she connects experts and teaches and consults GIS, thus enabling others’ geospatial power to promote teaching and cutting-edge research. She was featured in the book Women and GIS: Mapping their Stories, has published scholarly articles and book chapters, has participated in binational GIS panels, and collaborated in projects based in Australia, North and Central America, and recently in Somalia. Her collaborations include interdisciplinary research concerning GIScience, crime analysis, natural hazards, and marine conservation, among other subjects. Miriam served as the international chair for GIS LATAM’s Workshop in Spatial Intelligence, is a member of the board of directors of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) and New Haven-based Junta for Progressive Action, is a fellow of the Yale Timothy Dwight College, and was co-chair of Yale Women in Tech.

Visit Miriam’s Yale profile

Joshua Stevens

Lead Visualizer/Cartographer, NASA’s Earth Observatory

Joshua has been the lead visualizer of the NASA Earth Observatory since 2015. He has researched and taught cartographic design, geovisual analytics, and remote sensing for more than a decade. He was the lead author of the 2012 update to the online geography textbook, Mapping Our Changing World. Prior to the Earth Observatory, he was NSF IGERT Fellow in big data social science at The Pennsylvania State University where he pursued a Ph.D. in geography.  Joshua also earned an MS in geography and a BS in GIScience at Michigan State University.

Visit Joshua’s website

We hope to see at 1pm ET on September 13th! Register to get it on your calendar.


Register now

About the author

From a travel blogger turned GIS professional, Ashley Du (she/her) has been an advocate for helping folks build their network and growing as a professional. She specializes in her GIS work around environmental justice and projects around GIS for equity and social justice. Du also co-founded and leads, Ecos, the sustainability employee resource group at Esri. She believes learning about the world and different cultures is an important way to grow personally and professionally.

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