Accepting USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s challenge to “inspire and support the next generation of development leaders,” AidData staff is engaging students at the College of William and Mary to put their geocoding and mapping skills to the test. As a part of AidData’s partnership with USAID through the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN), students will be participating in the first annual AidData Map-Off. Over the next five weeks, student contestants will develop a research question related to the targeting, coordination, and effectiveness of foreign aid, analyze geocoded aid information to address their research questions, and display their results in a map and accompanying blog post.
To set the stage for the competition, Salim Sawaya, global affairs account manager at Esri, and Ben Arancibia of AidData's team at Development Gateway came to the College of William and Mary to provide comprehensive training for AidData student research assistants and GIS students participating in the Map-Off. Our experts, including AidData's College of William & Mary GIS staff, Albert Decaturand Ian Reese, gave a crash course in ArcGIS Onlinefor personal use, a free software that enables the user to create geocoded maps, guidance on developing research questions, and advice on how to use data visualization tools and blog posts to tell the story of international development.
Entries will be judged based on the thoroughness of research, quality of writing, demonstration of mapping skills, and the applicability of the geocoded map to the research question. The blog posts will be posted on the First Tranche starting in mid-April. and the winning blog post will be announced on April 10th, and will be featured on USAID’s Impact Blog.