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5 reasons to get your students involved in the Skills Ontario GIS Competition

Skills Ontario is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the skilled trades and technologies. They run a number of Skills Competitions that include the Ontario secondary school GIS competition that’s held every May. Find out 5 reasons why you should get your students involved this year!

Every May, secondary students participate in the Skills Ontario Geographic Information System (GIS) competition at RIM Park in Waterloo, Ontario. In teams of two, students are tasked with completing a real world question that can be solved using GIS. Last year, students created new cycling routes in and around Milton, Ontario as a way to promote the velodrome built for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games that took place last July and August.

Students work in teams of two at the Skills Ontario competition to answer a real world question using GIS.

In past competitions, students used ArcGIS for Desktop to answer the question, but, with the steady increase of ArcGIS Online use in K-12 classrooms across Ontario, this year students will have an option to use ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS for Desktop.  With this new scope change, we hope to have more teams sign up for the competition.

Here are five reasons to get your students involved this year:

  1. Potential – Get students involved who are showing potential and interest in GIS.
  2. Opportunity – It’s a great way to expose your students to a real world problem that can be solved with GIS.
  3. Challenge – Your students have a chance to test their GIS skills in a competitive setting
  4. Develop and Refine Skills – Students will learn and be exposed to skills that are used in the real world, such as presenting and explaining their projects, preparing a resume and finishing a project with a sharp deadline
  5. Confidence – New educational experiences help students to gain trust in their abilities and this can help them in other areas of their lives.

This year’s competition will be held on the first week of May and if you’re interested in getting a team signed up, please register ASAP by contacting Barry Harrison at Skills Ontario. Contact if you have any questions about the competition.

Find resources and information to prepare for this competition.

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

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