The International Geography Olympiad (iGeo)

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The International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) is an annual competition for the best 16 to 19 year old geography students from all over the world.  Four students represent each country in a series of Geography tests in (generally) a four-five day program. An adult Team leader and International Board Member accompany each national team. The official language of the iGeo is English. The iGeo consists of three parts: a written test, a multimedia test and substantial fieldwork requiring observation, leading to cartographic representation and geographical analysis. The program also includes poster presentations by teams, cultural exchanges, and time for students to get to know their fellow students and explore the host city.

The aims of the Olympiad are to:

  • stimulate active interest in geographical and environmental studies among young people;
  • contribute positively to debate about the importance of geography as a senior secondary school subject by drawing attention to the quality of geographical knowledge, skills and interests among young people;
  • facilitate social contacts between young people from different countries and in doing so, contribute to the understanding between nations.

The International Geography Olympiads are held under the auspices of the INTERNATIONAL GEOGRAPHICAL UNION (IGU), through the IGU Olympiad Task Force. The members of the Task Force are:

  • co-chair Kathryn Berg (Australia)
  • co-chair Lex Chalmers (New Zealand)
  • the future local organiser Alexey Naumov (Russia)
  • the current local organiser Tomasz Sawicki (Poland)
  • the past local organiser Yoshiyasu Ida (Japan)
  • Henk Ankoné (Netherlands)
  • Fernando Garcia-Garcia (Mexico)
  • Sue Lomas (United Kingdom)

During the 1994 IGU Congress in Prague, people from Poland and the Netherlands launched the idea of an International Geography Competition (iGeo) or Olympiad for students between 15 and 19 years of age. The first one was held in 1996 in the Hague, The Netherlands, with five participating countries, the second in 1998 in Lisbon, Portugal, and the third in 2000 in Seoul, South Korea. During the 2002 IGU congress in South Africa the fourth took place in Durban. Sixteen countries took part in the fifth one in 2004 in Gdansk, Poland. The sixth was in Brisbane, Australia, in 2006 with 23 teams participating. In 2008 in Carthage, Tunisia, 24 teams participated in the seventh iGeo. The 2010 iGeo was in Taipei with 30 teams. At the ninth Olympiad in 2012 in Cologne, Germany, there were 32 teams.

Up until 2012, the Olympiads were held every two years. In the intervening years some regional Olympiads were held. These included the Central European Regional Geography Olympiads, and the Asia Pacific Regional Geography Olympiads held in 2007, 2009 and 2011. The IGU decided to have Regional Conferences every year between the 2012 Congress in Cologne and the 2016 Congress in Beijing. In 2013, 31 teams completed in the 10 International Geography Olympiad at Kyoto, Japan. The eleventh Olympiad will be held from 12 to 18 August in 2014 in Kraków, Poland. The twelfth 2015 Olympiad will be at Tver University, near Moscow in Russia. In 2016 the Olympiad will be in Beijing, China.

Four students represent each country in a series of Geography tests in (generally) a four-five day program. An adult Team leader and International Board Member accompany each national team. The official language of the iGeo is English.

The 11TH INTERNATIONAL GEOGRAPHY OLYMPIAD will be held in Kraków, Poland, from 12 to 18 August 2014, under the auspices of the International Geographical Union Olympiad Task Force. The venue of the Olympiad will be the campus of the Pedagogical University of Kraków - in the old capital city of Poland.

The Olympiad is an excellent opportunity to showcase the geographical skills and understandings of a country's geography students, as well as a reward for student excellence. The participants will have the opportunity to visit some of the most interesting and attractive places in Southern Poland as well as immerse themselves in the fascinating history and culture of Kraków and its surroundings.

The website contains information on iGeo's STATUTES and the component TESTS, as well as information on the FORTHCOMING and PREVIOUS iGeos. Examples of past questions can be found via the webpage on the relevant iGeo.

IGeos are overseen by the International Geographical Union Olympiad Task Force. We particularly welcome queries from organisations that are considering entering a future iGeo.

Future iGeo's

2015: Tver Region, Russia
2016: Beijing, China



Members of the Russian team at the XI International Geographic Olympiad
21 August 2014

Russian students have returned from the XI International Geographic Olympiad with awards