Saturday, June 20, 2015

Historical Photo Mapping

There's nothing I enjoy more than exploring historical maps and vintage photos. Well - actually there a couple of things I enjoy more. However, due to my unfortunate personal circumstances, it seems that this weekend I'll have to satisfy myself by playing with these great maps of vintage photographs.

Pastvu is a Russian website which allows you to view thousands of vintage photos of locations around the world. Don't worry if you don't speak Russian as Pastvu's map based navigation system makes the historical photos a breeze to find and browse.

You can use the map to navigate to the chosen location you wish to explore. A timeline beneath the map also allows you to search for photos by a specific date-range. The marker clustering system used by the map means that you can also tell at a glance how many vintage photos are available for your chosen location and dates.

As you zoom-in on the map the location of the individual photos are shown on the map. Photos where the point of view is known are shown on the map with small arrows pointing in the direction the camera was facing when the photo was taken.

Pastvu has many thousands of vintage photos of the old Soviet Union but it also has extensive coverage elsewhere across the globe.

Historypin is perhaps the most well known map of vintage photographs. This map archive allows anyone to add historical photographs to the Historypin map.

Historypin includes a great interface allowing users to superimpose a photo on the Street View of the location shown in the picture. When users upload photographs to the site they are invited to tell the stories behind the pictures. This makes browsing the uploaded photographs on Historypin a truly fascinating experience.

While exploring Historypin you can also find some vintage film clips of locations as well as the still photography.

SepiaTown is another great collection of geo-tagged historical photographs. Search the map by location and the thumbnails of available historical photographs will be displayed on a Google Map.

You can click on a thumbnail image to see a larger version with file and credit information, as well as notes and commentary. If you have your own historical photographs you can add them to the map.

The New York Public Library has done a wonderful job in geo-rectifying thousands of historical maps from their collections. Now thousands of the library's historical photographs have also been geo-tagged.

OldNYC is a Google Map locating 80,000 NYPL historical photographs of New York to the closest intersection. Click on a marker on the map and you can view historical photographs of New York taken near that location. You can even use Google Maps Street View to explore the same views portrayed in the photos as they look in New York today.

OldNYC was created by the same team that built OldSF. OldSF is a similar map for San Francisco, which allows you to browse historical photos from the San Francisco Public Library collection.

Our Town Stories - Edinburgh allows you to browse vintage photos of the Scottish capital overlaid on historical maps of the city.

Helsinki Ennen is another collection of beautiful historical maps and photographs, this time for the Finnish capital.  Vintage Greece is a Google Map of geo-located vintage photographs and historical maps of Greece.

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