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Get your students involved in Skills Ontario’s first virtual GIS competition

The annual Skills Ontario GIS competition will be held virtually on April 27th this year. Find out details about this 2021 event and why you should get your students involved.

Skills Ontario is a non-profit organization that partners with school boards, colleges, small businesses, large companies, labour groups and governments to provide opportunities for youth to explore and develop skills for successful careers in the skilled trades and technologies.

Students in teams of 2 working through the question during Skills Ontario 2019.

This year, the Skills Ontario GIS competition will be held as a virtual event on Tuesday April 27th. Like previous years, high school students in teams of 2 will have the choice of using ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) or ArcGIS Online to answer a real-world question. Learn more about the GIS competition by reading the Scope.

Past competition questions include the issue of increased gun violence in the City of Toronto and its impact on the youth population and analysing the healthy food options and recreational services available for children and youth in Hamilton, Ontario.

Using GIS to make informed decisions based on a real-world issue in Ontario.

During the competition, students are provided relevant data to conduct analysis, engage in critical thinking, and create maps based on criteria included in the question. At the end of the day, each team is required to submit to the judges their findings in a story map.

This event is a great opportunity for students to learn how GIS is applied to a problem that GIS professionals would answer in their work. The experience helps students build their skills of inquiry and analysis that can be used beyond high school.

Winning team’s poster from 2018.

If you are interested in getting your students involved this year, check out the previous competition questions and the Skills GIS Competition preparation document to prepare your students for the 2021 competition. If you have any questions, feel free to contact

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Specialist in the Esri Canada Education and Research group. She has over 15 years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela focuses on producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum-specific resources, and conducting and creating custom workshops for educators. She manages the GIS Ambassador Program and is the Technical Chair for the annual Skills Ontario GIS competition. Angela also writes monthly posts for the Esri Canada Education and Research blog, highlighting K-12 educators and partners, new ArcGIS resources and GIS-related events.

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