Association of American Geographers AAG - My Community, My Earth
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My Community, Our Earth: Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about your MyCOE project? Please review the questions below to see if there is already an answer to your question. If not, please send us an e-mail to

For short video tutorials on resources and other useful information for your MyCOE projects, please see our help page.



Q: Do I have to use ArcGIS Online to submit my MyCOE project?

A: No, you can use any means available to you to make your map to upload for the competition. Everything from hand-drawn maps to digitally produced maps are eligible. If you use a digital resource such as the MyCOE ArcGIS Online site or Google Maps or Google Earth, you will need to either print it as a .pdf (or other acceptable file type) and upload it to the submission site and/or provide the public-shared url in the submission form.

Q: What are the themes for the project?

A: Any theme related to sustainable development is welcomed. We are also currently focusing on a few key MyCOE learning themes that include climate change, green economy, food security, and hazards and vulnerability. For more information about these featured themes, please see our learning resources page.

Q: What types of maps can I submit?

A: Maps are often the centerpiece of MyCOE projects. Maps can be everything from hand-drawn maps to digitally produced maps. They can also be interactive, dynamic, animated, or static.  Maps can be saved as the following file types: .jpeg, .bmp, .pdf. For interactive maps, you can provide the url to the webpage where it resides. Please be sure that maps are your original work (and give proper credit and citations of sources). File size limits are 10 megabytes. 

Q: How do I submit my map?

A: If you are ready to submit your MyCOE project, please see step 5 of the page. If you scroll down the page, you will see (in bright red letters) “Submit your project here now!”. You will be taken to our online submission form, where you will be automatically be prompted to upload your map from your computer. Acceptable file types are: .jpeg, .bmp, .pdf.

Q: What scale should the project be?

A: MyCOE seeks to connect the global to the local and the local to the global by asking youth to look at sustainability in their own communities.  "My Community" can be any scale from a local village, a metropolitan area, a province or state, nation, or even region, to the extent that your project relates to these scales.  

Q: When is the deadline?

A: To be eligible to receive prizes including flip HD video cameras, books, GIS software and potential travel support to meetings, we need to receive your projects no later than June 1, 2012. Project submitted after this date will still be accepted and uploaded into our Geoportal, and are considered eligible for possible prize offerings at a later date.  

Q: How long does it take for my project submission to be uploaded?

A: After you send us your project via our online submission form, please wait up to one week (7 days) for us to upload it. Please keep checking the display page and in the meantime, where you can read and comment on other projects.

Q: Who is sponsoring the competition?

A: The AAG serves as the Secretariat for the MyCOE partnership. MyCOE Partners are contributing in various ways to the continued success of this program. To learn more about these partners, please click here.

Q: What if I cannot find the data that I need for my project?

A: If you are having trouble finding data for your project, please see our Data Sources page (Step 2) of the site, which can guide you in the right direction for finding data.  

Q: Where can I go to find more information about sustainability?

A: For information about sustainability in general please see the references to learn more here.

Q: Do all projects need to be written in English?

A: Projects do NOT need to be written in English. You may complete your project in your native language or the language which you are most comfortable in. Please remember that people around the world will want to read it, so a very brief summary in English or another language widely spoken as a second language may be a good idea for projects that are written in other languages, too.

Q: Do all projects submitted make it into the Geoportal?

A: Yes, all legitimate projects will be displayed on the Geoportal.  All submissions will be reviewed and the most popular projects and others selected by our international committee of experts will be showcased during the Rio+20 United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development in June and will receive special recognition and prizes. 

Q: What outside resource can I use to better understand how to use GIS?

A: For more information about geographic learning, find a library of resources on our MyCOE site here.  Additional help with GIS including GIS Books and free tutorials is available at

Q: Will the general public be able to view my project?

A: Yes, once you submit your project to us and it is uploaded to our GeoPortal, the public will be able to view your project. Please remove non-essential detailed private information about yourself or your community. Please also see our eligibility, usage, and permissions document for details.

Q: Must I be at least 18 years old to do a MyCOE project?

A: No, you do not have to be 18 years old to create your project. However, when it comes time to submit your project, if you are not at least 18 years old, we ask that you please have a guardian, teacher, mentor, etc. help you to submit your project. Only individuals who are at least eighteen years can actually submit projects to us via our online sytem.