Monday, June 07, 2021

Videoed Lecture Maps

In the early years of the Google Maps API there were quite a few experiments where developers synchronized a video to a map. These early video maps usually consisted of a video of a trip or journey (for example a train journey) which was synchronized to a map - so that the exact location depicted in the video is always being shown on the accompanying map. 

For example in 2010 created a video map of the Trans Siberian Express. In this video map (which no longer seems to exist) a video presented a view of Russia, shot from on board the Trans Siberian Express. As the video played the location being shown was automatically updated on the accompanying Google Map in real time. 

These video maps of journeys were a little gimmicky and never really became popular. I guess if you are watching a video of the Trans Siberian Express it is enough to know that it was shot in Russia. You don't really  need to know at all times the exact location being shown in the video. 

The Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library has now devised a valid and appropriate use case for synchronized video maps.The library's new MovieMaps tool synchronizes a video discussion about one of the vintage maps in the library's collection with an interactive version of the actual map. The result is a videoed lecture about an historical map which is accompanied by an interactive version of the map itself. A map which pans and zooms to illustrate the points being made in the video.

You can view MovieMaps in action on City and Country in the Trolley Decades. This introductory MoveMap features Garrett Dash Nelson talking about a 1905 trolley wayfinding map. In the video Garrett talks about how the map provides an insight into the early 20th Century infrastructure of Boston. As he talks the interactive map pans and zooms to illustrate the videoed lecture. Of course, because the map is interactive, you can pause the video at any time and explore the map in detail for yourself. 

As a huge fan of old maps I think that MovieMaps should prove to be a fantastic tool for learning more about vintage historical maps. I'm now waiting with bated breath for the Leventhal Map & Education Center to post their next lecture on a vintage map from the library's collection.


Unknown said...

Hi, I'm a beginner, an historian trying to catch up on the wonders of scrollytelling. Do you think the Library of Congress panoramic map collection--going back to the mid-1850s--could be used in the way your examples show? It could be amazing to show changing neighborhoods in cities and towns, demographics, ethnicity, race, etc. in ways that just can't be captured by words and still photos alone

Keir Clarke said...

You can use the Library of Congress maps with some ease. The LoC uses IIIF (look for the 'IIIF Presentation Manifest' link at the bottom of any individual map). This means that you could for example use the maps with the leaflet-iiif plug-in to create a story-map using the Leaflet.js mapping library.

Have a look at the story map I created from two London panoramas (to show how London changed after the fire of London) -

If you check out the Glitch link in this post you can actually clone my project and then change the IIIF manifest links in my example to the Library of Congress panoramas.

Eileen Scully said...

Thanks, Keir, for taking the time to answer in detail. I will give this a try.