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  • Writer's pictureMark Gallant

Say Hello to Pan Am!

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

South America destination map
Source: Pan American World Airways, Inc.

“Say Hello to Pan Am!” was one of the last marketing slogans of Pan American World Airways after their merger with National Airlines in 1980 and subsequent fall into bankruptcy a decade later. Known simply as Pan Am, the airline carried an iconic logo and top-to-bottom branding theme that extended into its cartography of company airline routes.

Airline maps are usually simple depictions of cities as points at a global scale, which may not sound overly interesting at first. However, Pan Am always managed to capture a perfect representation of how their destinations should be presented on a map in a way that was not only visually striking but inline with their overall brand.


Inspiration: 1955 System Map

1955 World System Map
Source: Pan American World Airways, Inc.

I wanted to create a web map that paid homage to Pan Am’s system route maps, with their 1955 system map as my main inspiration. Simply showing some destinations as points might be a little boring though, so I decided to include the airline’s legendary poster art for each destination within a map pop-up. To achieve the same colour palette as the 1955 system map, I created a basemap using the ArcGIS Vector Tile Style Editor which allowed me to set the colour of land and water, turn off layers that were not relevant to the subject matter, and set the font types used in labelling. I was able to add a folded-paper texture from the ArcGIS Living Atlas to help give the map a worn-out, vintage feeling.

The result is a web map that is similar to the 1955 map, but not an exact replica of the 1955 map, which is an important difference to me as I do not see a ton of value in recreating a map someone else has already made.

Web map similar to 1955 World System map


Company Timeline

The rise and fall of Pan Am is a topic that still intrigues people today. In addition to a web map of poster art by destination, I wanted to summarize key events in the company’s history with visuals in the order that they happened. TimelineJS is the tool that allowed me to convert a list of events into an application that could be embedded within ArcGIS Online. The trick here was to add a new item to my content as an application and input the TimelineJS application URL as the source.


Map + App = Collection

Pairing my web map, presented as a Media Map application, with my timeline application was possible by making a collection within ArcGIS StoryMaps. Having the option to display each item as a tab in the collection’s header allows users to switch back-and-forth between the web map or timeline, without having to open two separate applications. This layout also does not impede users who may wish to only view the web map or only view the timeline – the choice is theirs.

So take a trip back to Pan Am's golden age with the new Pan Am: The Art of Flying story map collection!


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