Journey to the East (Final Project Pitch)

The project topic that we want to explore is the journey of two Carleton alumni traveling in China back in the 1930s. Our topic will mainly focus on the photos found in the Carleton digital archive, and reveal the timeline of their journey as well as the landscapes and things they saw during traveling based on the information given. 

In the Carleton Archive, there is an interactive ArcGIS map of their travel route which could be a good model for what we plan. This map demonstrates the volume of the photo collection by location precision. The immersive storytelling page on the course website is also going to be pretty useful in terms of turning our 2D map into a 3D map.

We plan to use ArcGIS and StoryMaps to create an interactive presentation on the travels of Paul Clifford Domke and John R. Canton in China between the years 1936-1939. We will pick a few photographs from each province to investigate the purpose and timeline of their travels as representatives of Carleton. We will first clean and organize the data into Google Sheets, and then plot the points onto the digital map. By using ArcGIS, we will lead the viewer specially and temporally through the provinces as if they were taking the journey themselves. By using StoryMaps, we will explain the location and their significance, tying back each individual photo to the larger timeline. These tools will also allow the viewer to see certain locations as digital 3D models in order to get a visual comparison between the older photographs and the current digitized view.


Week 7: 

  • Find out if we can download the metadata of each picture
  • Do a general EDA on the metadata
  • Determine the outline of the map (important locations they visited)
  • Determine which photographies to include in the project

Week 8:

  • Sort the pictures by timeline in google sheet
  • Map the pictures according to its location in ArcGIS
  • Construct the map

Week 9:

  • Customize the map that we want to present
  • Turn the 2D information into 3D maps in StoryMaps
  • Continue to construct the map

Week 10:

  • Finish up any loose ends and implement feedback

Team Members: We decided to work collaboratively and meet up frequently throughout the project, meaning that we will distribute the work during each session as necessary. This also means that we can ask each other questions and decide how we want to present the information more easily.

Here you can access our personal websites detailing our interests and goals: Jeanny, Nina, Lila.

Unique Tag: #JourneytotheEast



  1. Team Journey,
    This is a great proposal and I love how you will be able to build on the exploratory discovery map that the archives already created to provide a guided, explanatory narrative data visualization to bring this little known story to life. A few thoughts to explore as you dig deeper.

    – What layers will you want to include in your map, especially in 3D? Do you just want the landscape? To try to use modern architecture as contrast? To digitize features from historic maps? Perhaps you could use a combination of approaches to vary the experience in different regions, depending on where you have the best data?

    – Are you envisioning this as a long form narrative with interactives embedded, like the NYTimes Chinatown project, or a large storymap with narration overlain like the examples here? Either could work, but which you chose will determine where and how you organize your content.

    – Can you include at least one object from the archival collection to tell the story of and incorporate into your tour? There are many there, and if one speaks to a moment or location you are including, having an interactive 3D model of it in the storymap would be really exciting.

    Looking forward to seeing what you create!

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