This is the development blog for a small research project to support the development of a smart phone ‘web application’ that allows architectural historians, conservationists and tourists to download historical maps when standing in a specific location and to annotate them. At present Google maps do not show the past, our user group is interested in walking through real space whilst following a map from 200 years ago (for example) and being able to tag and attach links to the map that offer historical and contextual information.

  1. #1 by Linda Ellis at August 11th, 2009

    Are you likely to expand this out to other institutions?

    Would it be possible to overlay other datasets? For example we are a museum in the West Midlands with objects made both locally and further afield. It would be great if a user could see where a factory used to be via historical map and then also see samples of what they made.

  2. #2 by Ashley Leaney at October 13th, 2009

    I think you should consider this application in relation to WW1 in particular, and WW2 battlefields - France and Belgium. There are a lot of historians interested in walking battlefields and trying to determine the original location of trenches, emplacements, tracks, etc.

  3. #3 by Peter at October 13th, 2009

    Thanks for the comment Ashley, we are very much in the prototype stages but there is nothing stopping this kind of technology being used for just that purpose.
    Our first phase has been to build the prototype and start to explore what people would like to do with it. This is an excellent use, we would simply need the relevant maps to be installed on the server.
    One of the main aims of the project is to explore how cities and landscapes have changed, changes to a city post and pre war would be an excellent area to examine.

  4. #4 by Ashley Leaney at October 26th, 2009

    Thanks for your response Peter.

    I know some work has been done by members of the Western Front Association (WFA) into using GPS mapping to convert original trench maps for overlaying on contemporary maps.

    Trench maps used a unique grid system which makes it difficult to convert. If you think your system would help (or benefit from) being applied to the trench map ‘problem’, it would be worth you contacting the WFA.

    Regards, Ashley

  5. #5 by Brett Nicolle at August 25th, 2010


    How did you get CoreLocation to work with a static image (the old maps?) I wanted to do something similar for a World Heritage site in the south west for my final year project but could not find anyway to tell CoreLocation the lng/lat bounds of the map or to use an overlay of some kind with the MapKit API, can you explain or even better do you have some sample code?


  6. #6 by admin at August 25th, 2010

    Hi Brett Nicolle
    the best thing is for you to talk to the development team!
    can you email me direct then i can forward your queries on to them:

  7. #7 by Jonathan Clarke at January 29th, 2011


    Can you tell me what the situation on this amazing-sounding app is? I’ve got my android ‘phone, and am itching to Walk Through Time here in London :)



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