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How to prepare your students for the Skills Ontario GIS Competition

The annual Skills Ontario GIS competition is a great opportunity for students to apply what they are learning at school to a real world question that can be answered using GIS. Find out how you can prepare your students for the competition in May.

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.

Annually, K-12 members of the Esri Canada Education and Research group prepare and judge the Skills Ontario GIS competition. Select Ontario students have the opportunity to test their GIS knowledge, working in teams of two, to answer a real world question using ArcGIS. This year, all of the Skills Ontario competitions, including GIS, will be held in Toronto for the first time.

The competition question will include a series of tasks for the students to complete, utilizing their GIS skills. Students will use ArcGIS to create maps and conduct analysis to help them answer the question, which will focus on a city or region in Ontario.  Once the GIS work is complete, each team will present the results of their analysis to a group of judges.

In teams of two, students will have an opportunity to work through a real world problem using ArcGIS.

Here are 3 steps to prepare your students for the competition:

  1. Review the Scope of the GIS competition
  2. Review the Skills preparation document and practice the skills required (Part D) for the competition
  3. Review a past competition question

For more information on why you should get your students involved, read this blog from last year’s competition. This year’s competition will be held on May 2nd, 2017. Contact for preparation tips and if you have any questions about the 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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