Storymaps 2020: the world beyond my window

Guest Editorial form the Royal Geographical Society

By Chris Buckton, Education Assistant: Ambassadors and Schools/HE, Royal Geographical Society


Buckton, C. (2020) Storymaps 2020: the world beyond my window. Routes 1(2): 249–250.


This year’s YGOTY competition received over 12,000 entries globally with the quality of entries being impressive in all age groups. This year for the KS5 category young people were asked to submit a, Esri storymap to illustrate their work around the competition theme “the world beyond my window”. The winners this year showed exemplary work and a common theme we found in the top entries was how they managed to incorporate their own experiences and interests into their submissions demonstrating how geography is a subject which can be applied to many different locations and themes – both locally and globally. 

Entries which also really impressed this year’s judges were those which  investigated questions and performed their own primary data collection, following this they used their results to inform the content of their entries and investigated the relationships between this and their chosen geographical topic which links to the assignment theme. All winning and highly commended entries managed to find compelling, informative and novel ways to use storymaps to visually represent their views in complex and engaging ways with the assistance of annotated graphs, charts, tables and some first-hand photography which were relevant to their work improving the strength of their entries. 


Zoe Henderson- Starting with the view  of her phone in-front of her window Zoe examined the personal connections she had with individual in 10 countries across the world, including Belarus, China, Germany, South Africa and the UAE.  She used these networks to ask questions about how the Covid Pandemic had influenced peoples’ lives and provided a detailed and multi-layered presentation of her findings.

Highly commended 

Rhona Duncan – Through her exploration of its underlying geology, biodiversity and its use by people Rhona’s storymap explored the complex relationship between humans and nature in the Cairngorms National Park.

Rose Dolan – Rose’s Storymap investigated green spaces in North West London identifying different types of land use from allotments to gardens the resulting wildlife and how these spaces are used for different purposes.

William Brown – William explored young peoples’ diverse views about Hastings.  He focused on and examination of ideas of place belonging, connections and influences in the physical and digital worlds. 

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