Southampton to Cape Town in 1937 - Using ArcGIS Online

This lesson has existed in various forms for the last couple of years. The basis of the learning experience is that students design the route that a plane would have taken in 1937 to travel from Southampton to Cape Town.

This version of the lesson uses ArcGIS Online as the main digital tool for designing and then documenting the route.

Before students start this lesson using ArcGIS Online they should:

  • have had an ArcGIS Online account created for them, they should have accessed it and understand how to open/save content within it.
  • experienced the use of 'Map Notes' as a way of annotating a map.
  • used the measuring tool.
  • experimented with changing the base map.

This document 'An Introduction to ArcGIS Online' will take the students through all of these prerequisite steps.

Lesson Sequence

The year is 1937 and you work for Imperial Airways. The company has just taken delivery of a small fleet of Short Empire Flying Boats, with a range of 1200 km and an average speed of 300 km/h.

Your job is to design a route so that these Imperial Airways Short Empire Flying Boats fly paying customers from Southampton, United Kingdom to Cape Town, South Africa. You are racing against other groups (companies) to produce the fastest (safe) journey.

You need to decide as a group/class the maximum distance that is safe for a flight stage, the time taken to refuel the flying boats and the hours within which the planes can fly. In 1937 planes did not have radar so would not fly at night!

Use ArcGIS Online, with it’s measurement tool, to design your route. Each stop needs to be at a settlement with a significant population.

You should produce a route card that includes the start and end point of each stage of the journey, the distance, the duration and the take off and landing times.

As you will have to stop at different places on route to refuel or to stay overnight, you will also need to prepare an itinerary of what you would do at each stopping point. Remember in 1937 the journey was part of the holiday! You will present your itinerary as an ArcGIS Online Story Map.

ArcGIS Online - Southampton to Cape Town Support Sheet

  1. Students use ArcGIS Online (mainly the measuring tool and Map Notes) to design their route using this map as their starting point.
  2. Students produce a route card for the journey - I would suggest the use of Google Sheets and some basis spreadsheet skill development [Record basic data, use basic formula].
  3. Students use the route they have designed in ArcGiS Online to produce a Story Map [Share > Create a Web App > Build a Story Map > Story Map journal].
  4. The '1922 World Map (Web Mercator)' Tile Layer by National Geographic is included in the starting map so that students can explore the pre-decolonization names and borders of countries.
  5. The student submits their Story Map (and route card) for assessment. An MYP Individuals and Societies assessment rubric can be found on geogalot.com - produced by Ellena Mart.