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Call for Maps


Making maps has never been more exciting. Look at what you can do with smart maps today as mobile, online, and open-source technologies have naturally merged with the art of cartography. It's a new mapping age.

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Eligibility and requirements

Map Gallery entries must be created using Esri software and can be submitted by any user who attends the Esri User Conference (Esri UC).

All submissions must include the following:

  • Title of map
  • URL (must be publicly accessible)
  • Author(s) name
  • Primary contact information
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Organization name
  • Esri products used (license level and extensions)
  • A brief description of the map
  • A high-resolution digital map image file
  • Two thumbnails of your map: one full width and one close-up (to show map or app detail)

All maps will be reviewed. Accepted entries will be in the permanent online gallery.

2020 categories and criteria


To be considered for a Map Gallery award, please review the categories and criteria and determine in which category your map will best fit. Each map entry will be judged on how it fulfills the design objectives of the designated category.

Reference map

This category is for reference maps, sometimes called general‐purpose maps. Reference maps communicate the geographic character of the mapped area and the locations of natural and cultural features within its extent. Reference maps are not concerned with the statistical or quantitative attributes of mapped features.

The judges will be looking for the selection, classification, and generalization of features; methods used to distinguish and prioritize features; and the quality of symbolization and labeling of features. Successful entries will also exhibit overall visual harmony, completeness, legibility, and clarity of the map with regards to the map scale, intended audience, and intended use.

Entries in this category can be submitted digitally or published online. For online submissions, a URL is required. Each map is to be entered separately. Multiple entries are permitted.

Thematic map

This category is for maps that feature the geographic distribution of one or more statistical variables (i.e., theme). These variables may be categorical or quantitative. The focus of these maps is the pattern or geographic distribution of features and their statistical values, which may or may not physically exist on the earth.

The judges will be looking for clear and concise communication of the theme, appropriate geographic context, and supporting information. Successful entries will have titles that intuitively match the map body, and each map will have a legend that efficiently conveys the meanings of symbols. Successful entries will exhibit visual harmony, completeness, and legibility with regard to the map scale, intended audience, and intended use.

Entries in this category can be submitted digitally or published online. For online submissions, a URL is required. Each map is to be entered separately. Multiple entries are permitted.

Map series or atlas

Entries in this category must consist of maps in a series or an atlas. A representative subset, rather than all maps from a series, should be submitted. A map series must be represented by three or more maps.

The judges will be looking for the overall appearance, the design of the individual maps, and the flow and continuity of the sequence of maps in the collection or atlas.

Entries in this category can be submitted digitally or published online. For online submissions, a URL is required. Multiple entries are permitted.

Educational map

This category is for work whose intended focus is to educate while incorporating geographic information system (GIS) technology. In addition to maps, entries may include step‐by‐step instructions, explanatory text, diagrams, and illustrations. Entries in this category should identify a learning goal in terms of demonstrable skills or knowledge that will be acquired by a student.

The judges will be looking for evidence of how the intended student could achieve the learning goal and whether the type and style of the learning materials are clearly designed for the target student's age.

Entries in this category can be submitted digitally or published online, presented as a set of instructional materials. For online submissions, a URL is required. Each map is to be entered separately. Multiple entries are permitted.

Student map (3 categories)

There are three subcategories of student map submissions: for students up to the age of 12, students 13 to 18 years of age, and university and postgraduate students. Entries in this category can be from either an individual or a group—for example, a class‐based project in which many students participated. The focus of the entry should be a map. Entries should include and give credit to all students, teachers, supervisors, and/or leaders who participated in the work.

The judges will be looking for the overall graphical quality of the submission and clarity of communication of the map's topic, purpose, and audience relative to the appropriate expectations for the age group.

Entries in these categories can be submitted digitally or published online. For online submissions, a URL is required. Each map is to be entered separately. Multiple entries are permitted.

ArcGIS analytical methods and results

This category is for maps and posters that describe an analysis completed entirely using ArcGIS software or Esri partner solutions that have ArcGIS software as a foundation. The entry should identify the question of interest, the analytical methods, and the steps required to reproduce the workflow. The results of the analysis should be clearly displayed in map form with any required supporting graphics.

The judges will be looking for clear expression of the purpose, the value of the method, and the quality of the results. Successful entries will exhibit a strong, logical design and a flow of information from which the intended audience can learn and apply the method themselves.

Entries in this category can be submitted digitally or published online. For online submissions, a URL is required. Each map is to be entered separately. Multiple entries are permitted.

Communicating science spatially (research poster)

This category is for scientific posters in fields other than geographic information science (GIScience) that leverage GIS to perform a key aspect of mapping or analysis. The poster should include one or more maps that demonstrate the use of ArcGIS and the analysis workflow where ArcGIS was applied. Posters in this category may likely have been displayed (or soon will be displayed) at a scientific conference (e.g., AGU, AAG, GSA) within the past calendar year. Entrants may optionally include a list of past meetings where the poster has been displayed within the description field in the submission form. Minimally, ArcGIS must have been used to produce the map(s) and perform at least one portion of the analysis.

The judges will be looking for whether the poster has a clear organization and a reading sequence that includes an introduction, the methodology, the results, and a conclusion; possesses strong visual appeal; displays a consistent graphic design; and supports the communication of science.

Entries in this category can be submitted digitally or published online. For online submissions, a URL is required. Each map is to be entered separately. Multiple entries are permitted.

Spatial analysis using ArcGIS StoryMaps

This category is for work created using ArcGIS Online and shared using ArcGIS StoryMaps.

Entries in this category must share a story that documents a workflow using ArcGIS to transform an input spatial dataset(s) into a result spatial dataset(s) and present the findings. The transformations may use other software or processing environments such as R and Python. The narrative must state the problem being solved, describe its relevance, demonstrate how the analysis was performed, discuss the results, and make conclusions about the analysis and possible future work. Learn more about this form of story maps at esriurl.com/analyticalstories.

The judges will be looking for a story map that is engaging, communicates clearly, and makes effective use of the ArcGIS StoryMaps template that was chosen. The judges will also assess the design of the maps, the choice of basemaps, the design of interactivity (e.g., pop-ups), and how well supporting content and customizations are integrated into the narrative.

Entries in this category must be submitted as an online product with a URL. Each ArcGIS StoryMaps submission is to be entered separately. Multiple entries are permitted.

3D Map

This category is for 3D content that is created in ArcGIS Pro, significantly leverages ArcGIS Pro with virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) software, or uses ArcGIS CityEngine or applies CityEngine rules in ArcGIS Pro. The work should be displayed in a web scene or a story map that includes a web scene.

Entries should use web scenes to evaluate the results of a 3D analysis, compare different 3D scenarios, or explore 3D environments.

The judges will be looking for innovative and creative 3D cartographic techniques; effective use of slides, labels, and pop‐ups; and an engaging and fulfilling user experience.

Entries must be submitted as a web scene (or a story map with a web scene) that is hosted in ArcGIS Online. A URL to the live map must be provided. Each map is to be entered separately. Multiple entries are permitted.

Most innovative map

This category is for new and creative or experimental uses of ArcGIS. Entries should show the mapped theme in a graphically distinctive or constructively provocative way.

The judges will be looking for excellence in overall design, a creative combination of art and science, and the use of products that go beyond conventional cartographic expectations.

Entries in this category can be submitted digitally or published online. For online submissions, a URL is required. Each map is to be entered separately. Multiple entries are permitted.

Best cartography award (all entries)

The judges will be looking for the entry that clearly stands above the others, exhibiting excellence in all aspects of cartographic and graphic design, communication, technical and professional excellence, and production quality. Cartographic design includes visual hierarchy, figure-ground organization, legibility, and color choices. Graphic design includes visual harmony, sense of organization, aesthetic appeal, and graphical unity. Communication involves efficiently conveying a message, clearly demonstrating that the mapmaker knows who the map is for and why they need it. Technical and professional excellence means no spelling or grammatical errors, no missing or misrepresented geographic features, and no graphically awkward distractions. Production quality applies to optimal, consistent high-resolution content that is appropriately displayed in a digital or online map.

All entries are automatically considered for this award.

Special recognition opportunities

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