Challenge announcement

Esri and the National Geographic Society are pleased to announce the 2021 ArcGIS StoryMaps Challenge for Restoring Our Ocean.

A stingray on the blue ocean floor surrounded by yellow fish

Join storytellers worldwide in the ArcGIS StoryMaps Ocean Challenge

A story can effect change, influence opinion, and create awareness. Use ArcGIS StoryMaps to integrate maps, data, and multimedia content with text to tell a narrative about the world's greatest challenges and inspire solutions.

Esri and the National Geographic Society challenge high school and college students and individuals ages18-24 to create impactful stories about ocean health.

You might create an original story that:

  • Highlights changemakers in ocean conservation.
  • Addresses global warming, pollution, habitat protection, over-harvesting or poaching, local waterway management, or effects on water quality.
  • Creates unique visualizations of threats to the ocean.
  • Amplifies the seven Ocean Literacy principles.
  • Addresses United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: To conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas, and marine resources.

Find inspiration, data, maps, and resources on Learn ArcGIS. 

Photo by Manu San Felix, National Geographic

Explore Learn ArcGIS

Key dates and submission deadlines


  • October 22, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (PT)


  • December 2021

Three winners will be announced for each track.

A computer monitor displaying an ArcGIS StoryMaps story about the Mariana Trench


All winners will:

  • Receive a 2021 Esri Storyteller of the Year certificate.
  • Be featured on the Esri website.

The first and second-place winners also will be featured in educational materials for other students.

The first-place winners will have the opportunity to participate in a networking meet-and-greet with a National Geographic Young Explorer.

A computer monitor displaying an ArcGIS StoryMap of sea ice and ocean warming


The 2021 ArcGIS StoryMaps Challenge invites story submissions globally through two tracks.

Track 1 is for pre-collegiate students ages 14-18. For this track only, entries must be submitted by a school or club leader as the applicant and proxy.

Track 2 is for students 18 years and older enrolled in higher education institutions or eligible people 18-24 years old.

An applicant—one person or one group—may enter this challenge once.

Explore the official terms and conditions to learn more about submissions.

A computer monitor displaying a chart of median high tide flood days per year with the title “U.S. High Tide Flooding and Coastal Sea Levels”

Judging Criteria

Esri’s StoryMaps team will select 10 finalists for each track. Guest judges will select first, second, and third-place winners from each track’s finalists.

Entries must be new and original. Projects may use data from outside persons or institutions, within guidelines of "fair use."

Judges will evaluate each story based on:

  • Overall design, impact, and originality.
  • Effective use of GIS and ArcGIS StoryMaps.
  • Effective communication about ocean restoration, protection, or conservation.
A computer monitor displaying an ArcGIS StoryMaps story about Kathy Sullivan and the Challenger Deep expedition

Terms and conditions

By entering, you agree to the terms and conditions.    

Review terms and conditions
Photo – alt text: A computer monitor displaying an ArcGIS StoryMaps story of marine traffic patterns

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