PA 2 Historypin

Historypin is a map making tool that allows the user to place old pictures of an area over the current street view of the same place in modern day. The creators describe Historypin as a global community collaborating around history. It calls for copyrights and details about whichever photo is being overlaid and gives credit to the picture’s original owner. By placing the picture over a streetview of its current location, it juxtaposes itself between old and new showing how the space has been potentially re purposed or how the sense of place has changed over time. These pictures on maps can be shared via various social media sites making space and place through history extremely accessible.

This tool functions as a timeline that allows the user to tell a story of change over time. By showing time over time it engages the viewer in a story similar to the 21 Steps story map or mental maps like it. Mental maps are maps that tell a story for a user, usually made to represent how the creator moves through space or understands space. Although this reading was not assigned, I felt that Galindo’s “The September 11 Memorial & Museum Map” is an interesting case of a narrative map that tells historical and political stories. Like many of Historypin’s maps, this narrative app relies on archival photos and multiple perspectives. Similar to the 9/11 app, Historypin can help create educational tours of a place.

In a similar vein, geography is history. Because so many spaces are geographically similar, the usage of historical, mental maps to show space, inherently when a person creates a narrative map with tools like Historypin, they are creating a personal history. Identity in a place matters more now than ever according to Charles J. Whithers. In terms of usage, Historypin is perfect for “spatial turns”- placing landscape into a secondary lens and placing whichever subject (Urban planning, Anthropology, etc) into the forefront. Sonni would say these maps represent what the user feels about the space, Historypin maps ask the user to draw from their resources of pictures (whether personal or from archives they have access to) and allow them to show how the space has changed over time for them. If there were several pictures from people of all backgrounds, a Historypin would show a variety of changes (or things staying the same). Urban planners can look at Historypin’s to see how an area has changed culturally when trying to decide where to build and what areas to restore. Maps then become the tool for these subjects to portray various stories or historical events, with Historypin being a perfect tool.

Perhaps not everyone has the time or resources to explore archival data- Historypin is a solution to that problem. If I could change something about Historypin, I would add sound to the maps in order to tell the story with the voices of the landscape. The images can be kind of hard to place over the exact spot that you would want on Googlemaps and so, I would try to make the base map more accurate. I would recommend this tool overall because it allows people to see change over time which tells a larger story of space and place, locality and history.

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