Monday, September 12, 2016

A Glimpse into Tokyo's Past

Retroscope is a fascinating insight into Tokyo's history glimpsed through historical aerial views of the city. This interactive map presents a collection of aerial views of the city dating back to 1945.

The map uses a magnifying lens control to allow you to view historical aerial imagery of Tokyo overlaid on a modern map of the city. You can also select to view a vintage 1880 map of Tokyo overlaid on the modern map.

One of the interesting details that the map reveals is the historical canal network in Ginza. The canals can be clearly seen in the 1880 map and the 1945 aerial imagery. However by the time of the 1961 aerial imagery nearly all the canals have disappeared from the city.

The magnifying glass effect used in Retroscope is published on GitHub (with no license details). Alternatively you can use the Leaflet.MagnifyingGlass plugin (available under a MIT license) to create a similar effect on a Leaflet.js map.

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