Friday, October 09, 2020

Mapping a 19th Century Voyage

The Dmitrii Donskoi was an armored cruiser of the Imperial Russian Navy, which was built in the early 1880's. The ship spent much of its career in the Russian Navy in the Far East. In 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War, the Dmitrii Donskoi was damaged and forced to run aground on the South Korean island of Ulleungdo. 

During the 1880's amateur photography became a hugely popular hobby. Many Russian sailors took up the hobby and began photographing their overseas voyages. These sailors included midshipman Alexei Butakov of the Dmitrii Donskoi.

The Voyage on the Dmitrii Donskoi is an interactive map which showcases some of the photographs captured by Alexei Bukatov during his voyages on the Dimitrii Donskoi, particularly during the ship's voyages to the Far East. The map also features a number of other vintage 19th Century photos taken by other, mostly anonymous, photographers. The vintage photos and the map markers are synchronized to each other. Click on a photo and the map will zoom to its location on the map. Click on a map marker and the photograph of that location will be displayed. 

The Voyage on the Dmitrii Donskoi was created using OpenSeaDragon, a web-based viewer for high-resolution zoomable images. The result is an interesting, if not entirely successful, attempt at mapping vintage photographs. Navigating around the photos can be a little tricky and the introductory text zooms past far too quickly. However despite these problems the Voyage on the Dmitrii Donskoi does provide a fascinating glimpse into the Imperial Russian Navy and life on board a 19th Century armored cruiser. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks fo posting this

Nice that arrow keys work and map shows up before the text. I know these things aren't trivial to implement, but a 15" screen has enough room for the test to appear say at the top of the sidebar and put the map below the text.

Had to turn the sound off since I share a room