2017 Infectious Disease Mapping Challenge

Show Off Your Innovative Geospatial Ideas!

The Infectious Disease (ID) Mapping Challenge, piloted in 2015 and 2016 on college campuses by interns with the U.S. Department of State’s Virtual Student Foreign Service program, has evolved into a project to promote the use of geospatial mapping to address the objectives of the Global Health Security Agenda, a global effort to create a world safe and secure of the threat of infectious disease.


The challenge is jointly sponsored by the Next Generation Global Health Security Network and DigitalGlobe Foundation.

For information on applying to the DigitalGlobe Foundation Imagery Grant, click here

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ID Mapping Challenge Overview: 

We are seeking undergraduate and graduate students, in a team or individually, to generate up to three maps (one map is perfectly acceptable) that illustrate a research question related to any of the categories detailed below.


Maps can be analytic (examining relationships between multiple domains, phenomena, or data sources) or descriptive (depicting a single phenomenon or data source). While analytic projects are ideal, descriptive projects will be accepted as long as students/teams describe why their map depicts a notable phenomenon. Similarly, while international maps are preferred, domestic maps will be accepted if the student/team can provide justification as to why a map focusing on the U.S. is necessary (e.g., U.S. data sets on a given topic are the most comprehensive).

The winning submission may be featured at upcoming health security meetings, such as the 2017 Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Conference. Additionally, particularly noteworthy submissions will have the opportunity to brief policymakers on their findings. The maps may also be used to inform policy decisions, as well as increase awareness about the value of geospatial analysis for health. Top submissions will also have the opportunity to present their projects for the Next Generation Global Health Security Network’s Webinar Series.

Submission Requirements: 

Submissions are due by June 16, 2017 using our email form and Dropbox forms below. Each submission must include:

  • The map submitted with a clear title and legend, and be easily understandable for a non-expert audience (3 maps maximum)

  • The research question(s) you are seeking to answer (25 word limit)

  • Why this research question is important (150 word limit)

  • Data sources and approach used to generate the map (250 word limit)

  • A summary of the map’s findings in the format of talking points for use in a professional briefing (250

  • word limit)

  • Roadblocks encountered (150 word limit)

  • Potential future research questions or follow-up work (150 word limit)

  • If you are submitting a descriptive or domestic map, explain what led you to create this type of map

  • Works Cited and References using APA Guidelines 

Document Requirements: 

  • Submit file in either one of the following formats: .pdf, .doc, or .docx

  • Title the document as the following: 

    • Date of Submission (MM.DD.YYYY)_Title of Submission_Team Members (Last Name First Name Initial, etc)_Affiliated Institution/Organization (If Applicable).pdf /.doc/.docx

    • E.G.: 05.02.2017_Geopolitical Implications of Malaria Vaccine_Smith J., Miller T_University of the United States of America.pdf

  • Ensure that the document is no more than 10mb 

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