Mapping Horizons

International GIS Competition for Students and Young Geographers


We are confronted today by six intertwined challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten lives around the world, ravaging livelihoods and transforming cities. Climate change is fueling wildfires, flooding, and natural disasters. And both exacerbate issues of rising inequality, including in access to education and health, community safety, and urban development. 

Together, we can solve these challenges: but only if we understand their impacts, see how they affect each community, and ensure that no community goes unseen or ignored. In the Mapping Horizons International GIS Competition, we invited students and young professionals from some of the world’s most rapidly changing regions – Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia – to be part of the solution. 

The 2020 Mapping Horizons International GIS Competition invited students and young professionals to submit GIS and mapping projects which highlighted an issue related to this year’s theme, “Tackling Crises through Geospatial Impact.” These crises included, but were not limited to:

  • COVID-19 and its impact on society
  • Public health and access to medical care
  • Economic inequality and development (including education)
  • Climate change and natural disasters
  • Urban growth and development
  • Security and community safety


In submitted projects, alongside GIS maps,  a brief written analysis of what crisis your project relates to, how it can be used to better understand or respond to a pressing problem, and its implications for other parts of the world was required.

We encouraged students to focus on their community or region; projects could be as specific or local in scope as you like. The ideal submission has both local relevance and provides unique perspectives, ideas, or emphasizes new solutions. 

The competition was organized in four regional divisions: West and Central Africa, East and Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South and Southeast Asia. Judging panels name the three best-developed submissions from each region, and every submission is highlighted on this site’s online gallery. 50 USD prizes will be awarded to top submissions. 

Projects were submitted through ArcGIS StoryMaps, QGIS Web Maps, and any other major GIS platform, including self-hosted web maps, Github, and static submissions. Submissions had to be created or modified significantly between September and December 2020


Mapping Horizons invited an international community of students and young GIS professionals to tackle serious challenges.

The competition was divided into four regional competitions: West and Central Africa, East and Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia. 

To participate, mappers must have been:

  • A citizen or permanent resident of one of the four regions, as defined below
  • Born on or after 1 December 1991 (age 28 or younger)


Once all projects had been received, they were placed with other submissions from their respective region (Latin America & the Caribbean/East & Southern Africa/ West & Central Africa/ South & Southeast Asia). Each region had its own unique judging panel and judges were not able to see submissions from different regions. All projects were evaluated in the context of other submissions ONLY in their region, and awards were given separately for each region. Each region will have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, as well as an honorable mention.

Judging Rubric:

Writeup Template: