Competitions & awards

List of map-making and other competitions and awards for students in Geographic Information Science

There seems to be an ever-increasing number of awards for coursework, conference contributions, and other types of student submissions in the areas of Geography, Cartography, Spatial Analysis, and GIS. I am trying to maintain a list on this page – thank you to Esri’s Aileen Buckley for several additions, which were updated for this page by Ryerson’s BA in Geographic Analysis cand. Carmen Huber. If information below is from a previous year, use it as a guide and find up-to-date information on the sponsoring organization’s Web site.

  • The CaGIS Student Scholarships (US $750-$1500) are granted to students enrolled in, or accepted into, a Masters/PhD degree program. The winner will have demonstrated excellence in cartography or GIScience coursework and the potential to contribute to cartography or GIScience research. This year’s deadline was January 18, 2016. Details can be found at
  • The American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (ASPRS) offers a variety of awards to undergraduate and graduate student-members. Details and application form are available at; however, the information is not quite up-to-date and eligibility of Canadians unclear. Deadline appears to have been January 31, 2016.
  • Robert Raskin Student Competition, sponsored by the AAG Cyberinfrastructure Specialty Group. Submission of a 2,500-word research paper and supplementary Web contents. Deadline was February 11, 2016. Details and registration form at
  • National Geographic Award in Mapping, sponsored by National Geographic Maps and administered by the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Cartography Specialty Group. Submit a static map in a vector (e.g., pdf) or raster (e.g., jpg, tiff) format. Group work from up to three students is eligible, and all entries must have been completed as part of the student’s curriculum (i.e., not for a job or freelance work). The last deadline was March 1, 2015. It is unclear whether this competition still exists. Details at but 2015 winners (including a RyersonGeo MSA student) are still not listed.
  • Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) Map Design Competition. Student categories include the Arthur Robinson Award for Best Printed Map (a map or map series designed specifically for print media), and the David Woodward Award for Best Electronic Map (a map or series of related maps designed specifically for electronic media. Deadline was March 15, 2016. See details at
  • The Canadian Cartographic Association (CCA) sponsors the Norman Nicholson Scholarship for a graduate or final-year undergraduate student on the basis of transcript, reference letters, and a “one-page statement from the student regarding plans for continuing education in cartography” (deadline March 15), as well as as award for the Best Student Paper presented at the CCA annual conference. Details on all CCA awards and scholarships can be found at
  • URISA-OC Student Bursary: The Ontario Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association offers a $500 award for a student’s, or group of students’, 1,000-word paper “detailing a GIS project or application that they have worked on during their studies or a topic of interest from a GIS related course”. Submission deadline was April 11, 2016, with details to be found at
  • Canadian Esri Young Scholar for 2016, as part of the 2016 International Esri Young Scholars Award. Full-time undergrad or graduate students in Canada who have used ESRI technology in a class project or in research are invited to submit a poster highlighting their work along with a summary paper of 800-1,000 words and an academic transcript. Deadline was April 15, 2016. Note that there is no monetary award, but your participation in ESRI’s User Conference in San Diego and airfare, living expenses excluding necessary visas is paid for. As an added bonus, a free ArcGIS for Home Use license will be donated to all Young Scholar winners. More information is now available at
  • The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) runs a scholarship program from high school to doctoral levels to advance the study of geospatial intelligence. Details are posted at with a deadline of April 22, 2016. Eligibility of Canadian students TBD.
  • The National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation (NSPSF) offers a variety of student scholarships. Deadline to apply is April 29, 2016. Cash awards range from US$2000 to $3000 – eligibility of Canadian students unclear. Details can be found at
  • The British Cartographic Society presents a series of awards. Eligibility may vary. Details on applying for any of the BCS awards are available at with a deadline of April 30, 2016.
  • Canadian Cartographic Association (CCA) Student Mapping and Paper Competitions, including the President’s Prize Competition for a thematic map on any subject completed by a post-secondary student in the preceding school year. Deadline for 2016 is again May 20. Details on all CCA awards and scholarships can be found at
  • The North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) sponsors two competitions in conjunction with their annual conference. The Student Map and Poster Competition is for submissions to the exhibit gallery at the conference, see for details. The Student Dynamic Map Competition provides two additional $500 awards for the best narrative and interactive maps, see for details. This year’s deadline for both competitions is May 31, 2016.
  • The International Mapping Industry Association announced a Student Map Award Competition in conjunction with their IMIA Americas Conference & Member Showcase. Last submission deadline in one of two categories (print or electronic) was August 27, 2015. Note that you must become an IMIA Americas student member in order to be eligible (US$25). Items made during the 12 months preceding the conference are accepted, together with a 200-word explanation – see
  • 2016 Calendar by ESRI Canada – competition not specific to student entries, most examples in their gallery are from government. Submission deadline for printed maps or online apps is in September of each year. Details at
  • The Association of American Geographer’s Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Award aims to recognize undergraduate students from the US and Canada who bridge geography and computer science. Details on eligibility and submission requirements are described at Deadline is October 15 of each year.
  • The Canadian Association of Geographers – Ontario Division (CAGONT) offers a Student Paper Competition (with undergraduate, Masters, and doctoral categories) and Best Poster Award in conjunction with the CAGONT Annual Meeting in October of each year. Details and past winners can be found at
  • Association of American Geographer’s (AAG) Annual Meeting Grants. The following AAG Specialty Groups ( run annual student paper/poster competitions in relation to the AAG conference – eligibility and requirements vary. The deadlines are typically in mid- to late October on the group’s homepages (which unfortunately change ever so often and are therefore not linked here):
    • Spatial Analysis and Modeling (SAM) Specialty Group
    • Geographic Information Science and Systems (GISS) Specialty Group
    • Cartography Specialty Group (CSG)
    • Remote Sensing Specialty Group (RSSG)