The 2021 Geogeek MApp Challenge

The 2021 Geogeek MApp Challenge

Talent. Motivation. Diligence. Passion.

These four agents of influence are gaining currency in an increasingly complex world experiencing a tightening race for solution-oriented skills. We need to effectively address complex challenges at the interface of geography and ecology, economics and social justice. Location-based intelligence is key to transformation in these interconnected spheres. The challenge, therefore, confronts the youth squarely. It demands of the current generation of students a deliberate tapestry of skill-sets cultivated using GIS technologies.

The Launch of the Challenge

Esri Eastern Africa launched the 2021 Geogeek MApp challenge on 7th October 2021. The registration link is Esri Eastern Africa Geogeek MAPp Challenge (

The IBD Founder, Nashon Adero, was the keynote speaker at the launch of the challenge for university students. He presented on Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals: The GIS Perspective. The virtual event attracted more than a hundred participants, most of them students and lecturers drawn from various parts of the world. The challenge will see university students presenting winning GIS-based solutions that address any of the 17 SDGs.

The Keynote

In his keynote, he drew the attention of the audience to the systems-thinking principles that should guide effective delivery on the SDGs as interconnected goals – goals as means. Articulating a compelling case for GIS as the nervous system for abstracting, perceiving, organizing, interpreting and anticipating events across space over time, he presented a comprehensive and transformational framework of 7Ps of sustainability. This framework adds the 2Ps of Place and Parameters & Models to the traditional triple pillar (People, Prosperity, Planet) and the 2Ps of Peace/Policies & Principles and Partnerships.

He demonstrated how GIS can accelerate progress towards the 17 SDGs through inclusivity based on visual, actionable, shared and location-based intelligence at adaptable scales befitting specific challenge areas. He also shared dynamic modeling examples on the health sector and sustainable ecotourism. On intergenerational succession, he challenged the youth to embrace digital fluency according to the zeitgeist of the post-covid technology landscape, GIS being a resourceful powerhouse for refining spatial skills in digital and hyperconnected transformation environments. GIS as a means to acquiring a borderless skills passport for global citizenship emerged succinctly from his address, corroborated by a young Kenyan GIS ambassador and expert who spoke at the event from the USA.

Best Practice

Best-practice examples were not lacking in the keynote. The examples included how, in Helsinki, GIS has helped to shorten the average response time to disasters to six minutes and to plan spatial development effectively – including net-zero emission buildings. A great example from Hong Kong demonstrated the benefits of environmental planning and management with organized spatial development and conservation of green spaces and landscapes as part of the irreplaceable bequest value. Germany, specifically the city of Freiberg, was used to trace the history of sustainability to an exciting origin that was interconnecting sustainable forestry with the mining of silver. Thus, he represented well his workplace of Taita Taveta University, a mining university in Kenya.

Youth Mentorship in GIS

University students from Uganda and one from Kenya (The University of Nairobi) won prizes for social media activity and visibility during the event.

The event also served as a platform for promoting the IBD monthly youth talent and career fair series, which targets youth through lifelong skills development and career advice. Overall, GIS empowers students with the ready employability skills and transferrable skills so much needed in the post-pandemic world, a space experiencing an accelerated pace of what he referred to as the “geodata-driven digital revolution”.

All university students and IBD mentees are hereby challenged to participate in the challenge to showcase GIS-driven solutions at the heart of realizing the SDGs. The presentation he made is accessible under the Resources/Downloads part of this website.


This is the product of more than a decade of dedicated experience in research, skills development, training, and mentorship. Through mentorship and career development fora, IBD empowers youth with the knowledge, international exposure, and digital fluency they need to be emancipated global citizens with borderless influence for sustainable development.