Use of Historypin Images in Lectures

21 01 2011

I sometimes use images from Historypin in lectures. For example, I was lecturing on the First World War this week. I was trying to convey to students the message that the First World War was truly a _global_ conflict rather than just a European one.

I sent the students a link to a particular image in the Historypin website. Historypin takes images from historic databases and associates them with a particular modern address in Google Maps. The image I asked the students to look at is from an Australian archive, which subtly reinforces my point about the global nature of this conflict.

The caption of the image is this:

“Two Australians assist a prisoner, who was severely wounded in the leg, near Anzac Ridge, whilst making his way into our lines, after being passed by the attacking Australian troops in the battle of 4 October 1917, at Broodseinde Ridge, in the Ypres Sector.

The Australian soldiers are (left to right) :

* 28401 Gunner C S Mathias
* 22124 Bombardier T R Lennox

both are members of the 111th Horse Battery, 11th Field Artillery Brigade.”
Comment : the Australians were with the 4th Division Artillery.”

This picture was taken near Passchendaele, which is the name the British gave to a town today known in Flemish as Passendale. The location where the photo was taken has been identified on a modern map and appears to be a residential street nowadays, judging from Google Street View.

Someone has created an online database of the Australian soldiers who fought in the Great War.  By clicking the names of the soldiers above, you can see their personal details (religion, home address, etc).

I think that Historypin is a great technology for conveying the personal or human side of history.

Historypin Explained

20 01 2011

Historypin combines Google Street View and databanks of historical photographs to allow you to see what a given point looked like in the past. (Say in 1914). Historypin invites ordinary people to share their old photos and the stories behind them by “pinning” the pictures to the locations they were taken in Google Street View. The overlaid photos are geo-tagged and dated to provide the time machine effect. Historypin already has thousands of pictures from public archives and companies as well as amateur photographers.

This video explains how Historypin works.

For more about Historypin, see here, here, and here.