Just over a year ago, I was in Paris. We took a happy snap of the family with the Eiffel Tower in the background, on the Place du Trocadéro.
It was a buzzy feeling- not only were we in Paris, but we were following in the footsteps of other visitors, somewhat more notorious than the Bookgrrl family…
By viewing historical photos in their contemporary setting, we can gain a greater understanding of the local environment and how time has affected it. It also feeds a nostalgia prevalent in today’s culture, that ever-present need to look back and to compare what was then with now.
Historypin uses the GPS on your phone to locate you and then generates a series of historic images of locales around you. There are over 1200 institutions worldwide who have contributed to this community. Users can then take a photo of the same locale and contribute to the Historypin database.
I have been playing with it this week and have been quite impressed with the results. I tested it in the Melbourne CBD at work and later at home in Ballarat.
From the Melbourne CBD, there were dozens of photos, but the GPS positioning was a bit haphazard.
From Ballarat, the number of images available- given the rich history of this town, it seemed a bit strange. But it is greatly dependent on the insitutions which contribute to this enterprise, and it does not appear that the local library, or the historical society nor the Gold Museum are part of this venture.
Historypin would have the potential to become huge if more institutions not only released their records but accurately tagged their metadata so users could find the proper locales with GPS.
A personal application would be to use it to go exploring with the kids and to involve them taking photos (both are quite adept at that 🙂
I remember the excitement that was generated by when Picture Australia was launched in 2000 and how photographic collections from libraries and institutions from all over Australia became part of this project. Picture Australia eventually became part of Trove and while it is part of a great resource, the level of discovery of historic has somewhat been diminished. Historypin is a great discovery tool with huge potential.