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Skills Ontario and Skills Manitoba GIS Competitions 2016 Wrap Up

The Skills Ontario and Skills Manitoba Secondary School GIS Competitions are held annually every spring. This is an opportunity for students to challenge themselves by answering a real-world question using GIS. Find out what the results were this year and why you should sign your students up next year!

Every spring, Skills Ontario and Skills Manitoba each host a secondary school GIS competition for students. This challenge offers an opportunity for students to test their GIS knowledge, push themselves a little further and to answer a real-world question using Esri technology. 

ArcGIS for Desktop is traditionally used at the competition, but at the Ontario competition this year, students were given an option to use ArcGIS Online as the primary GIS tool to answer the question for the first time. All the teams decided to stick to tradition, however, two of the teams used the story map journal template instead of printing out a large map poster.

Students hard at work at the Skills Ontario GIS Competition on May 3rd, 2016 at RIM Park in Waterloo, Ontario.

At the Ontario Skills GIS competition, students working in a team of two were asked to propose two cross-country ski trails in the Sault Ste. Marie area, located in Northern Ontario. Through data queries, the creation of new datasets and data analysis, students narrowed down their final locations and identified them on a map. The four judges were challenged in marking their final maps and presentations.

The winning team is comprised of students from the Waterloo Region District School Board and a close second went to the District of Niagara School Board team.

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Poster created by the Skills Ontario winning team from Waterloo Collegiate Institute.

At the Manitoba Skills GIS competition, the students worked individually. The students used ArcGIS for Desktop to identify five locations in Southwestern Manitoba to develop a rainbow trout farm. Congratulations to the Gold winner, Caitlin Cote and the two runners up-- Dayton Black (Silver) and Jacob Thompson (Bronze)—from the Brandon School Division on their great work! The final results of the GIS competition can be found on the Skills Manitoba Competition page.

Congratulations to all of the participants for their hard work. We hope to see again next year!

Find previous competition questions and the Skills GIS Competition preparation document to prepare your students for the 2017 competitions. If you have any questions, feel free to contact

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.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander