One map and lots of photos at Historypin


Photos can be a really important historical resource, and it isn’t just the pictures taken at significant events or of famous figures that are valuable. Those pictures stored in boxes in dusty attics or filed away in albums, your mother’s first holiday snaps and your great-grandparents’ wedding portraits, they all have a story to tell.

In fact, I’ve already written about how the images that we capture in our everyday lives will help to teach people living hundreds of years in the future about us. So how about making use of the photos that we already have?

If you head over to Historypin you can find thousands of old photographs pinned to a giant map of the world, and you can add your own together with the story behind the image. You can search by place, by subject, and by date. And you can even compare how an area looked then with how it looks now. Can’t you tell I’ve had far too much fun looking at photos of the area where I live?

The people behind it are We Are What We Do, a movement that aims to inspire social change through lots of people doing lots of little things. The theory behind Historypin is not just to build a resource, but to get different generations talking to each other. They teamed up with Google who supplied the map and the Street View capability that allows old and modern picture comparisons.

Yes, it is still in Beta, which means that there are a few kinks that need working out; and because it a community project some areas are devoid of pictures and others have hundreds, but, I’m completely charmed by the idea. Old pictures and little bits of people’s lives scattered over a giant map of the world. What’s not to like?

Now, I wonder if they have any pictures of where my grandparents were married…