Canadian Students Win Big at Esri’s First Global Content Challenge


Sharing is Caring

University students from McMaster and Carleton recognized for developing compelling, scientific story maps

December 9, 2016 – Esri Canada congratulates students from McMaster University and Carleton University for placing among the winners in Esri’s first Global Content Challenge. The international competition searched for projects that made the best use of the Esri Story Map Journal app and Living Atlas of the World content to tell compelling scientific stories. McMaster University received more awards than any other school, with six individual submissions by Karl Chastko, Kayla Wong, Kevin Yang, Michael Kirchin, Spencer Elford and Christopher Koido-Bunt selected in the land, ocean and population categories. Carleton University’s Danielle Derrick won an honourable mention in the land category. The students’ story maps were chosen among 70 submissions from participants in over 50 countries.

“The quality of story maps by Canadian participants was truly impressive,” said Dr. Brent Hall, director of Education and Research, Esri Canada. “From improving water resource allocation to studying urban population growth and promoting wildlife conservation, it’s remarkable how Canadian students are using geographic analysis and visualization to understand and propose solutions to our world’s most pressing challenges.”

McMaster University attributes their students’ success in part to the Esri Canada Centres of Excellence initiative. The program supports Canadian universities and colleges in producing innovative geographic information system (GIS) research, while fostering excellence in teaching spatial data management and analysis. Institutions nominate exceptional students to represent their school as student associates, who gain access to Esri technical expertise, resources and software.

“The Esri Canada Centres of Excellence program gives student associates access to additional resources, as well as conferences and events such as Esri’s Global Content Challenge and the annual Esri Canada Centre of Excellence App Challenge,” says Patrick DeLuca, GIS specialist, instructional assistant and lecturer, McMaster University. “The program has certainly made our students more confident. They know that they’re part of a select group, and that they’re getting the skills they need to be successful in the job market.”

Dan Patterson, instructor, Carleton University, agrees. “Through the program, students gain access to resources and support beyond what’s available in academia. They can control the form of their education, rather than just accepting what’s offered.”

The students dominated the land category by receiving second place, third place and an honourable mention. Karl Chastko’s Food, Water and 7 Billion People story map, which won second place, looks at how agricultural practices can be improved to ensure sustainable water supply. Meanwhile, Danielle Derrick’s A Race for Survival story map, which received an honourable mention, reveals how current issues such as habitat loss and climate change affect tiger species recovery.

Winners received cash and Esri promotional items. The students’ projects will also be featured in Esri’s upcoming international events including the 2017 Esri Federal GIS Conference in Washington, DC and the Esri Education GIS Conference in San Diego, California, as well as in social media.

View the complete list of winners.

About Esri Canada
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography. The company distributes the world's leading GIS software from Esri, Schneider Electric, Cityworks–Azteca Systems, LLC and other technology partners.  Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada. Esri Canada joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies in 2012 and became a Gold Standard winner in 2015. The company has also been named to the Branham300 and Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures program. More information can be found at Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Geospatial Newsletters

Keep up to date with the latest geospatial trends!

Sign up

Search DM

Get Directions Magazine delivered to you
Please enter a valid email address
Please let us know that you're not a robot by using reCAPTCHA.
Sorry, there was a problem submitting your sign up request. Please try again or email

Thank You! We'll email you to verify your address.

In order to complete the subscription process, simply check your inbox and click on the link in the email we have just sent you. If it is not there, please check your junk mail folder.

Thank you!

It looks like you're already subscribed.

If you still experience difficulties subscribing to our newsletters, please contact us at