A successful war effort depends on reliable maps, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the years surrounding the First World War saw the greatest advances in the field of cartography since the invention of the printing press.

This period of innovation is documented in Drawn To Victory, the first instalment of A Nation Soars, a trilogy commemorating Canada’s Great War aviation efforts.

A preview of the documentary film, narrated by Canadian actor and Fellow of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society Dan Aykroyd, was unveiled Tuesday at an event at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

While First World War fighter pilots are glorified as “knights of the sky,” reconnaissance flyers have remained unsung heroes until now. Their groundbreaking maps of the Western Front helped secure victory for the Allies and paved the way for Canada to become a world leader in geomatics and cartography.

Also unveiled at Tuesday’s event was Canadian Geographic Education’s Drawn To Victory giant floor map, which depicts the Western Front and comes with free curriculum-linked lesson plans to help teachers put the First World War in context.

For more information on A Nation Soars and Drawn To Victory, click here.

To book the Drawn To Victory giant floor map, become a member of Canadian Geographic Education.