Pin down the past
June 29, 2010 5:46 AM   Subscribe

Historypin uses Google Maps and Street View technology and hopes to become the largest user-generated archive of the world's historical images and stories. Historypin lets you layer old images onto modern Street View scenes, giving a series of peaks into the past. Upload and pin your own old photos, as well as the stories behind them, onto the map.
posted by dobbs (20 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
I like this, intensely.
posted by SPUTNIK at 6:15 AM on June 29, 2010

We need to get these guys in touch with Shorpy. I love turn of the century pics.
posted by ShawnString at 6:24 AM on June 29, 2010

I was pondering something like this the other day. I thought "wouldn't it be cool if you could get a Google Maps street view, but only going back in time". It turns out, it is very cool. Now to work with the local historical societies around where we live in Maine to get some of the local pix into the Historypin archive. Great find dobbs!
posted by hrbrmstr at 6:32 AM on June 29, 2010

Took a bit to get the hang of using it (it kept zooming me out into the middle of the Irish Sea after I'd looked at a photo for some reason), but overall it's excellent. I'm just disappointed that I don't have any pictures that I can add.

I've now found out that one of the streets in the city centre has had the same two shops on the corners for the past fifty years, which is not something I'd expected!
posted by Coobeastie at 6:37 AM on June 29, 2010

PEEKS. PEEKS into the past.

Peek=look. Pique=anger. Peak=mountaintop.

But seriously, this is a really cool idea. Thanks for the post.
posted by emjaybee at 7:08 AM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

emjaybee, peaks is right here. Huge, gigantic stacks of photos beginning deep in the past and climbing to the present.
posted by Some1 at 7:18 AM on June 29, 2010

I often look at a house on an old road and wondered what the house has "seen" over the years. Can't wait for this site to mature and allow me to see what I've wondered for so long.
posted by Man with Lantern at 7:23 AM on June 29, 2010

Actually, that's a nice little turn there, Some1.
posted by nevercalm at 7:23 AM on June 29, 2010

Oh, this is fascinating. I sense my day slipping away.
posted by catlet at 7:43 AM on June 29, 2010

I'd thought of something like this a year ago but didn't see the commercial viability to it. I'm glad someone did it and did it right, I might add.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:51 AM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Scrapbooks just became a lot more relevant.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 7:53 AM on June 29, 2010

There is an application for the iPhone called StreetMuseum by the Museum of London which has a very similar approach for their collection of historical photos of London. This app also allows augmented reality viewing, so you can overlay old photos onto the real world.

It works well when the images are sufficiently close to current scenes. Looking at pictures of Cheapside damaged during the blitz are rather more difficult to visualise, but it does help to give a sense of place to a scene that would otherwise be hard to imagine.

Interestingly most of the feedback that I saw on this app was from people asking for similar projects for their cities, so I suspect this project will have a lot of support.
posted by Stark at 8:40 AM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

See also Streetside Photos over on Bing Maps. (demo at TED - skip ahead to 3:00). I like that you get a historical record of the cheeky signs that change daily over at the Lusty Lady.
posted by rh at 10:05 AM on June 29, 2010

There's a place on earth called Biggleswade? I learned something already.
posted by HumanComplex at 11:59 AM on June 29, 2010

I was pondering something like this the other day. I thought "wouldn't it be cool if you could get a Google Maps street view, but only going back in time".

You're not the only one. I have been thinking since about six minutes after I first heard about Street View that in the fullness of time, you would be able to do this sort of thing. Necessarily areas that have been more heavily documented over the years will be easier and quicker to do, but I don't mind. If in five years I can go to Google Maps and take a virtual stroll through 1959 Manhattan or 1943 London, I will be a very happy fellow.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:50 PM on June 29, 2010

This is SO weird. On the way to work this morning I was thinking about geotagging and historic sites and how much more people in public history could be making of the whole enchilada.
posted by Miko at 2:43 PM on June 29, 2010

This is so interesting. Reminds me a bit of Leningrad Siege: Now and Then.
posted by lullaby at 3:14 PM on June 29, 2010

Think about holding the shutter open for a hundred years instead of a hundredth of a second.

The camera as a box of parameters, with limits at infinity.
posted by fake at 10:19 PM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I want a HUD iPhone app that does this. Now THAT would be awesome. Any coders want to take the bait?
posted by SPUTNIK at 7:28 AM on June 30, 2010

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