Fun geography challenges with Google Earth

travel-by-airAlan Parkinson has pointed us to a fun resource from the folks at Geography All The Way — a challenge that takes you back to 1937 as a pilot for Imperial Airlines.

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 Imperial Airways can use their Short Empire Flying Boats to fly paying customers from Southampton, United Kingdom to Cape Town, South Africa.

You need to decide as a class the maximum safe distance for a flight leg, the time taken to refuel the flying boats and the earliest and latest the planes can fly. In 1937 planes did have radar so would not fly at night!

Use Google Earth, with it’s measurement tool, to design your route. Each stop needs to be at a settlement with a significant population. Your route should be submitted as a single Google Earth file with the placemarks in the correct order.

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

google earth southampton

The post provides additional tips on using tools such as the Google Earth Ruler and Google Spreadsheets to help facilitate your work. All in all, it’d be a fun challenge for a geography student to tackle!

(via +Alan Parkinson and Google Earth Users Guide)

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Here’s a direct link to the webpage on

Leave a Reply