Corozal Community College students Philip Gongora and William Mahler each won an Acer Aspire netbook computer as their first prize in for their winning design, “Terra Nova” in the My Virtual City competition sponsored by Total Business Solutions Ltd. (TBSL) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme.
Belize Elementary School students Max Mcfield, Chloe Kelly and Ethan Singh also each won an Acer Aspire netbook computer as their first prize for their winning design, “Nebulus”, which scored 1307 points in the primary schools competition.
Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber joined TBSL Loretta Palacio and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) expert Dr. Francisco Roquette in presenting the prizes to the winners in an award ceremony at the Princess Hotel in Belize City on Wednesday, May 23. The winning schools each received a $500 cash prize and a plaque.
Gongora and Mahler’s “Terra Nova” design scored 1545 pts, and also won prizes for Best City Layout, Best use of GIS and best use of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for which they won a copier for their school.
Horizon Academy’s Brandon Bennett and O’sean Hyde also won a copier for their school for incorporating MDGs in their design, “Arcadia”, scoring 1267 pts to also win second prize in the primary schools competition, for which they each received a Smart phone. They also won a Fun with GPS book for the “Best city layout”.
Samantha Chan, Armando Perez and Asher Canto of Edward P. Yorke High School scored 1501 pts for their design “City of Jex”, to each win a Blackberry phone as second prize from Telemedia Digicell. They also won a prize for Best Team work.
Belize High School’s Javan Gongora, Trei Solis and Lance Howard scored 1248 pts with their “Je La Tron” design to win iPod Nanos as third prize, while Jordan Campbell and Zezie Mckenzie of Belize Elementary School also won iPod nanos as third prize for their design “Healthmore”, which scored 1251 pts.
Horizon Academy’s Chelse Bennett, Irene Flores and Jada Jones won the prize for Best Team Work with their “Kizzmon” design, while Aldo Perera, Masaki Yanai and Rene Allen of St. Joseph’s RC School each won an A-Z GIS book as their prize for Best Use of GIS. Each participant got a home user license for the ArcView software.
The students had to design a city based on the theme: “Designing our Future, Mobilizing People for Change!” The contest challenged them to build a future city for at least 50,000 residents, for some 15 or more years into the future. They also had to describe the key features and design attributes of their future city in a 100- to 500-word narrative.
The students had spent months learning how to use the Esri ArcGIS desktop standard software to design a virtual map of their dream city.
The project also required that they research and work out solutions to social, environmental and engineering problems. They then had to construct a scale model of a section of their city, using recycled material, write a 1,000- to 2,000-word essay describing their city in detail and on contest day, make a 10-minute presentation to the judges during which they discussed the features of their dream city.
Esri and Total Business Solutions sponsored the competition to spark new concepts among the younger generation in the use of Geographic Information Systems, and to develop the students’ problem solving skills as they learnt to use the software.
They also got a hands-on experience of how the software could be used to plan and improve their Belizean communities. The experience also helped to develop the students’ leadership skills as they studied human rights and development standards to improve a society. The contest also served to stimulate interest among GIS professionals and other interested parties to support further development of the young people involved.