How to "travel through time" with Street View and online map archives

How to travel through time with Street View and online map archives

The tools and technology used to map our planet are constantly improving, to the point that today we consider the possibility of seeing any part of the globe in minute detail through the screen of our phone or laptop as a matter of course.

Thanks to the collection and digitization of an increasing number of data, today another opportunity opens up: take a dip in the past - whether it is a year or a century - to see how a place has changed over time .

Whether you are studying the spread of urban sprawl or are simply interested in knowing what your street was like before the turn of the millennium, these are the three fundamental resources you should use.

Google Street View Google via David Nield You are probably used to looking for addresses and places on Google Street View. But did you know that you can also use it to go back in time? Of course, the dates for which Google has Street View imagery are limited, but in some areas it can go back decades. Now, then, it is possible to access the historical photos both on the web and on the Google Maps mobile applications.

To find them on Google Maps on the web, drag the orange man in the lower right corner of the interface. anywhere on the map (streets for which images are available will be highlighted in blue as you drag). When you drop the little man, the most recent photos for the chosen location will be shown.

Look in the upper left corner: the symbol of a small clock next to the date of the photograph indicates that it is possible to travel back in time. Click on the date to view the options, which are presented in the form of a time slider; drag the slider back and forth to view images of the available dates in the preview window. To view them in full, click on the magnifying glass or on the images themselves.

Opening Google Maps on Android or iOS you will find the same functionality, which allows you to see how an area has developed over time. In this case, tap and hold on a street, then tap the bottom tab to access Street View. Once the image is loaded in full screen, opening the tab again a link will appear if older images are available.

Old Maps Online Old Maps Online via David Nield There are several map archive portals on the web , but Old Maps Online is one of the most comprehensive and is a good place to start, no matter where or when you're looking for. To get started, click on Find a place or select Browse the old maps to check what is available for the location you are interested in.

If you decide to search for a specific place, historical alternatives are displayed on the right as you scroll through the current map: the greater the relevance of the area in question, the higher the number of maps available (but usually each region is covered by at least a couple of maps). Use the Timeline option above to search for old maps based on a specific year.

You can click on any of the old maps listed on the right to view them. Since alternative maps are usually loaded in a separate window, it can be difficult to compare with the most recent map data (the region covered by the old map is however clearly indicated each time one of the options is selected). br>
The external sites to which Old Maps Online refers are all equipped with their own interfaces and tools. You can get lost for several hours observing how rural or urban landscapes looked in the past. Furthermore, many of the historical maps you will encounter are publicly available data.

World Imagery Wayback World Imagery Wayback

Eris via David Nield The cartographic company Esri has put the World Imagery Wayback portal online, which allows you to access historical images taken from space. While it's not quite like standing in a virtual corner watching Google Street View, the site still offers an impressive collection of images to browse.

Use the timeline in the top left corner to scroll through. years. In this way, a preview of the historical photographs will appear on the screen. Once you have selected a date, the page will be updated. The datasets are also listed on the left and can be manually browsed if needed.

The interface is similar to that of most other mapping applications - you can search for a location using the search box at the top of the screen, or alternatively the site can try to detect the user's position based on the position in which he connects to the internet, showing images of his area.

Despite, unlike the others , this archive does not have annual data, browsing the satellite images of the available years remains a fascinating experience. From the toolbar on the left you can access a useful tool that allows you to compare two different sets of images next to each other.

This article originally appeared on US.

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