What I learned from the 30 Day Map Challenge

A look back on the #30DayMapChallenge and the surprising things I learned along the way

November 26, 2021

This year, I participated in a global social media challenge called the 30 Day Map Challenge to challenge myself and expand my mapping skills. 

The 30 Day Map Challenge was first started in November 2019 by Finnish geographer, Topi Tjukanov. The idea is to create and share maps to social media with the hashtag #30DayMapChallenge every day in November . The main purpose of this challenge is to bring the global geospatial community together and get people excited about maps. 

Each day of the challenge has a different theme, like “maps with points” or “red maps”. The topics vary from year to year with last year featuring a COVID-19 theme. This year, they included a few challenges to encourage participants to try new GIS tools.
A new challenge
It was my first time participating, so I took it easy and chose to do one map a week. The themes I did were: a map with polygons (Day 3), with the colour blue (Day 8), of land (Day 17), and of elevation (Day 21).
Day 3 - Polygons: Utilisation Distribution of Green Tree Python
The first couple of challenges were easy as I already had the images to suit the theme from old university assignments. I wanted to share the work I did for university, especially after spending so many hours on it, so I uploaded them to Soar.Earth as part of the challenge.
Soar.Earth is a great platform to display my work because it allows people to see my work on top of a base map. It’s like how I would’ve seen it when I was making the images on a GIS software. Then I could just hit the Twitter share button in Soar.Earth to share my maps for the challenge.

I prefer this method to attaching a screenshot or a static map to my posts. By sharing a link of my image from Soar.Earth, my followers could interact with the image and contextualise the data I have.
A new challenge
At the halfway point of the challenge, seeing what other people in the community were posting, I wanted to have a little more fun with my maps. There were some creative ones out there, like a heatmap for sheep and a LEGO brick styled map of Africa amongst other things. I loved that during this challenge, I saw people really having fun with GIS.

I had the most fun making a vineyard
land capability map for day 17. I was inspired by a map of pubs in England that I saw on LinkedIn and wanted to highlight the great wine region of Western Australia. I did that by matching the colour scheme of the data to a rich wine colour. This was the first map I’ve made purely for the sake of fun. This challenge was a great avenue for me to step out of my comfort zone and really explore my capabilities as a geospatial analyst.
Overall, this challenge helped reaffirm my GIS skills and expand them. Seeing other people share their methods of making maps also created a safe space for continuous learning. I liked how Soar.Earth was an easy place to upload my maps for the challenge. In a way, it allows my maps to live beyond its original purpose and allows other people to enjoy it too.
Did you participate in the 30 Day Map Challenge? If so, upload your maps onto Soar.Earth and tag it with #30DayMapChallenge! We’d love to see what you’ve made. It will also mean those new maps you worked so hard on will have a place to live and continue to be enjoyed by a global geospatial community for years to come!
This blog was written by:

Diana Rodzi

Diana is Soar.Earth’s local map aficionado, connecting with people in the field who share the same interest and passion in mapping and cartography. She's a big foodie, so she's always trying out the hottest new food joint or experimenting with new recipes at home.

View author's Soar.Earth profile