This year the University of Rochester will be participating in “GIS Day” by holding a student Story Map competition including accompanying workshops
Author: Blair Tinker
Map of Rochester NY from 1935

What is GIS Day?


According to ESRI’s website, GIS Day is an:

…international celebration of GIS technology. GIS is a scientific framework for gathering, analyzing, and visualizing geographic data to help us make better decisions. On GIS Day, help others learn about geography and the real-world applications of GIS that are making a difference in our society. It’s a chance for you to share your accomplishments and inspire others to discover and use GIS.


Story Map Challenge


To participate in GIS Day, River Campus Libraries is hosting a faculty judged StoryMap challenge for students!  

Learn how to create data driven maps in ArcGIS Online and publish them to multi-media Story Maps.  All participants who attend the workshops and submit a Story Map will get a GIS Day “Certificate of Participation” and have a chance to win a River Campus Library water bottle and be featured on the Digital Scholarship Lab’s website.


Each student or team will need to submit a fully formed StoryMap that includes significant mapping components by November 6th. The topic of the StoryMap is up to you but it should be related to Rochester, Monroe County or the surrounding area and explore an issue related to the social, cultural or physical development of the area.  Create your Story Map using maps, video, audio, images or any other materials that will help tell the story. To participate in the challenge please use a University of Rochester ArcGIS Online account which can be requested by emailing:

How to Participate

Step 1: Attend the workshops (described below) on October 16th and 23rd. 
Step 2: Request an ArcGIS Online/StoryMap account by emailing
Step 3: Create a StoryMap related to the social, cultural or physical development of Rochester, Monroe County or the surrounding area.
Step 4: Submit your StoryMaps for judging by emailing your map link to by November 6th
Step 5: Attend the GIS Day celebration to announce the winners and celebrate all your accomplishments!


  • Any Undergraduate or Graduate student of the University of Rochester is eligible to participate
  • The Dream University Challenge begins on Friday, October 16th and ends on Friday, November 6th, with the Celebration and Announcement of Winners event being held on Wednesday, November 18th.
  • Teams may contain up to four team members.
  • By submitting a Story Map, participants agree to all of the submission requirements, including confidentiality, selection, and voting process.
  • All submissions must include a Story Map and acknowledge any sources used to create your project.
  • RCL will have access to all ideas at the end of the challenge, including those that didn’t receive an award.
  • You may use outside expertise in creating your Story Map. However, we expect that the majority of the project will be of your creation. In other words, the concept and design should be yours, and we ask that you acknowledge your sources in your final presentation.
  • All designs will be shared on ArcGIS Online Story Maps
  • Teams are expected to abide by the University’s Code of Conduct at all times.


Census Data Workshop (October 16th)

In this workshop you will learn what census data is and how and why the U.S. Census Bureau collects data. If you are interested in finding data about Income and Poverty, Business and Economy, Education, Employment, and Population, this workshop will show where you can find and download the data. You will be learning tips about creating customized tables with the census data. Attendance to this workshop is required to receive the GIS Day Certificate.  View this workshop on the University calendar here and register for workshop (required) here.  

ArcGIS Online/Story Maps Workshop (October 23rd) - In this workshop you will learn how to create data driven ArcGIS Online maps utilizing census data, and how to access those maps when creating a Story Map.  This will reference topics covered in the Census Data workshop listed above but can be taken on it’s own as well.  Attendance to this workshop is required to receive the GIS Day Certificate. View this workshop on the University calendar here and register for the workshop (required) here.

Story Maps Due for Judging (November 6th) - This is the date when the Story Maps must be submitted for the competition.  Submissions will be made via email to and will be posted on this page for viewing until the awards ceremony on the 18th.

GIS Day Celebration and Awards (November 18th) - We will meet together to celebrate all the story maps that were submitted and to honor the winners of the challenge. View this celebration on the University calendar here.