National Archives contributing to US historic photo map

The National Archives and Records Administration is putting its historic photographs on the map—literally—in a new project on the Historypin.com website.

NARA is contributing images from its vast collections to a crowdsourced, nationwide Google map of the United States superimposed with photographs dating from the 1840s to the present. The online images are “pinned” onto the map at the appropriate locations, and can be searched geographically or by date.


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The Historypin project is part of a larger global effort featuring collections from the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. It is run by the British nonprofit “We Are What We Do” project to bring together generations and communities in partnership with Google.

Users of the website are encouraged to upload their own historic photographs, videos and audio to the website, where they can be geo-tagged and dated. The users also are encouraged to add descriptive information and personal narratives. Users also can add photos to specific collections, such as photographs of historic train stations to the train station collection.

NARA initially uploaded collections of photographs by Mathew Brady dating from the Civil War, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Documamerica project, and historic photographs from Washington D.C.

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About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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