Santiago from the Sky: The Hidden Journey's take on Chile

The Hidden Journeys Project is an interactive website funded by the British Royal Geographical Society that maps out popular air routes across the world. It has recently added the spectacular Buenos Aires to Santiago route and we spoke with the Project’s Ben Jarman to learn more about things.

Santiago from above by Dusan Vlahovic
Santiago from above by Dusan Vlahovic

The group was launched in November 2010 when the society felt the need to make the most of its extensive photo library. As Ben says “[The Project] saw an opportunity to use its resources to create free, interactive, online guides to certain flight paths that would allow passengers to learn about and engage with the parts of the Earth they fly over.”

The site contains moving maps, a plethora of aerial photography and audio slideshows on natural and cultural features. You can also find well researched and written pieces on different themes, ranging from exploration, cuisine and colonisation.

Aerial view of the Andes by Ana Morandini
Aerial view of the Andes by Ana Morandini

The routes covered include Hong Kong to Bangkok and London to Delhi, but what exactly attracted the team to the Southern parts of Latin America? “The flight path showcases the fascinating landscapes, histories and cultures found across these parts of Argentina and Chile. Although this is not one of our longest flight path guides on the website, the diversity of landscapes that are covered by this route is breath taking.”

Starting from the Argentinian capital, the site maps out the flight path to Santiago and the viewer can explore the landscape at different intervals. The Chilean section includes spectacular images of the Andes and some insightful articles on Santiago's growth from a small colonial town and the culture herein.

As Ben explains “Santiago was chosen due to its rich history and diverse geography. Not only is the city framed by a breath-taking mountainous backdrop, but it also has an interesting colonial history as well as being the centre of the Chilean economy and holding the status of a global city.”

Vines and mountains by Kurt Johnson
Vines and mountains by Kurt Johnson

Despite receiving recent recognition, most notably from The Guardian Online and Wired magazine, they have greater aspirations still. The Hidden Project is currently planning on integrating the website's content and features onto passenger planes, allowing passengers to access all kinds of information on the landscape below them.

Is it something we can expect to experience when flying these routes in the near future? “We showcased our latest moving map product at the Aircraft Passengers Experience Show in Long Beach, California, earlier in the year and received strong interest from airlines.”

Although they source many of the site’s images from the Society’s sizeable archives, as well as from NASA and Flickr, they are also relying on visitors to the site to contribute their own photos and ideas. “We encourage suggestions and contributions to all new and existing flight paths, as well as ideas on future routes.”

You can see Hidden Journey’s website at

And their fantastic aerial views of Chile/Argentina here.

If you have photos you could contribute submit them to the project’s Flickr page.

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