Thursday, September 10, 2020

Picturing the Past

The past is another country. You need a different kind of map to navigate there. A map like Cronobook.

Cronobook is an interactive map which can give you a little glimpse into how the world used to be. It allows you to explore vintage photographs of locations around the world. You can explore these photographs by location on the map and also by date using the Cronobook timeline. To search the map by date just click on the clock icon in the top right-hand corner of the map and select the period you wish to explore.

You can also search Cronobook's collection of vintage photographs by subject matter. If you select the album icon above the map you can search the photographs by key words. When you click on an individual photograph on the map you can view the date it was taken and a description provided by the user who uploaded it. You can also comment on individual photographs on Cronobook and join in any discussions about the selected picture or of the historical scene depicted.

Cronobook reminds me a little of the much loved Historypin interactive map. Historypin is another map which showcases vintage and historical photographs of locations around the world taken during different periods of modern history. Historypin has the added advantage of allowing you to view these vintage photographs superimposed on top of the modern Google Map's Street Views of the same scene.

Historypin has a huge collection of photographs that have been uploaded to the site, This allows you to explore the history of locations right around the world. As well as this huge collection of still photography Historypin has a slightly smaller number of vintage film clips that keen users have also uploaded to the site.

If you live in New York then you can also explore vintage photographs of your city on the excellent 1940's NYC and 80s.NYC. In the 1940's, and again in the 1950's, the New York Works Progress Administration took photographs of every building in the city, in order to help estimate property values and property taxes. These two interactive maps allow you to browse these huge collections of New York street scenes by location.

You can explore even more vintage photography on these interactive maps:

The Collections of the Albert Khan Museum - photos captured by Albert Khan's team of photographers at the beginning of the 20th century
OldSF - vintage photos of San Francisco (has Google Maps licencing issues but photos still work)
OldNYC - old photographs of New York
Old Toronto - historic photos of Toronto from the City of Toronto Archives
Wymer's DC - view images of D.C. from the John P. Wymer Photograph Collection
The Yangon Time Machine - a map of vintage photographs of Yangon, Myanmar
Smapshot - historical images of Switzerland
OldAms - thousands of vintage photographs of Amsterdam
Tids Maskinen - explore photos of Norway by location & date
Helsinki Ennen - historical maps and photographs of the Finnish capital
Our Town Stories - Edinburgh - vintage photos & maps of the Scottish capital
Vintage Greece - geo-located vintage photographs and historical maps of Greece
Ajapaik - explore vintage photos of Estonia
The Hungaricana a map of thousands of vintage photographs from the Hungarian Parliament Library


John Levin said...

Have you seen Vergue?
It's far and away the best of these old photo maps, made with great care and attention; plus it helps that it is of c19th Paris, which has an incredibly rich photographic history.

Anthony said...

I love cronobook. The main difference with other websites is that cronobook is better looked after aesthetically and its album allows you to search not only by date ranges, but also by location or by photo title.
In many occasions we need to find photos of town halls from the 70's and in cronobook you can do that filtering in a very easy way.
Maybe it's very subjective, but the rest of the Websites I see them very cold and cronobook seems to me warmer and friendlier.

Anonymous said...

Love cronobook! :<3

Richard said...

I think the best of them is Cronobook: simple, clean, plenty of pictures around the whole world, nice community,...

Julius said...

Vergue is good, but it can't be comparated to cronobook. Vergue is just Paris. Cronobook is the whole world. I love cronobook.