the city & ʎʇıɔ ǝɥʇ
September 7, 2010 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Hypercities, currently in beta, is a collaborative effort to enable users to travel forward and backward in time within major cities of the world, watching changes take place over both the short (political protests in Tehran) and long (history of the city of Rome) term. Locative technologies are pushing the same ability into smartphones: Walking Through Time (Android, iPhone) allows the user to overlay their current location with a map of the past.

Related: Get London Reading, which maps books to their real-life locations in the city. Sadly, Walking Through Time is only for Edinburgh at the moment, and Get London Reading is restricted to iPhone, but more locations (and devices) are planned.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (17 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
So many cities, and yet all right up my street! Thanks, I love this sort of stuff.
posted by Abiezer at 9:16 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm getting shivers of Spook Country.
posted by thusspakeparanoia at 9:56 PM on September 7, 2010

It's coming.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:58 PM on September 7, 2010

They really, really need to tie this together with HistoryPin, the service that lets you overlay historical photographs onto contemporary scenes.
posted by fake at 10:02 PM on September 7, 2010

Looks like dobbs did a post on HistoryPin.
posted by fake at 10:03 PM on September 7, 2010

Civil_Disobedient: "It's coming."

It's already here (in Google Earth, at least).
posted by Rhaomi at 10:06 PM on September 7, 2010

It's already here in Switzerland. The Google Earth images are vastly out-of-date where I live. The local map site ( has better, more recent photos, so Google isn't using the "best" available. Mind, where I live, it would be impossible to keep up to date, as building is going at break-neck speeds. Cranes pop up like mushrooms and green spaces vanish.

Google puzzles me in this regard. Being an area of growth, you'd think Google would want to keep their maps/images more current. From my view, they make no effort at all. My building is over 5 years old, and not in their images.
posted by Goofyy at 10:41 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is what I think of when I think of Best of the Web—something that is cool, useful, deep and couldn't have been done with any other medium.
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 PM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

There goes MY week. Catch you all at some unspecified future date. In the meantime, you know where to find me.
posted by chimaera at 11:31 PM on September 7, 2010

Am I being thick, or is that Walking Through Time actually iPhone only? I can't see any reference to Android anywhere.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 11:59 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

This looks terrific, but am I the only one it's really really slow for?
posted by Wolof at 12:21 AM on September 8, 2010

Looks like their server is borked at the moment.

A MeFi member helped build a big chunk of that site. Maybe she'll drop in tomorrow and comment?
posted by the_bone at 12:39 AM on September 8, 2010

This is so, so cool. I happen to live in Edinburgh and it's amazing to peel back the layers of history surrounding our house. Looks like this area was a farm in 1870 - not surprising i guess! It's even cooler to find that a whole railway works yard was just down the street, alongside a military barracks!
posted by ukdanae at 1:14 AM on September 8, 2010

Is something like this hard to code? I've have all this info on overlaying Lovecraft's Arkham on Salem, MA and a interactive walking-around app would be a great way to express it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:58 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's already here (in Google Earth, at least).

[shakes fist] DAMN YOU GOOGLE! Oh wait. I mean, FINALLY!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:05 AM on September 8, 2010

What's really beautiful about today is that I can access all of you from where I am now and remember today as if it were, well, today.

Shit, been tagged, gotta go. Think of me fondly.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:31 PM on September 8, 2010

Hmm. I'm missing something -- Seoul seems to be one of the featured cities, but all I see in Firefox, no matter what I do with the timeline thingy up top, is a current satellite shot. Ah well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:05 AM on September 9, 2010

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