Keeping Busy (1/3) – Google Maps Mashup

The first of three posts of what was keeping me busy in the past few weeks.

After being fascinated with Egypte D’antane with its loads of period images of my homecity of Alexandria, I thought of a Mash up that would put these images on their respective Google Maps locations (as I said before, it’s as close as I could get to the time camera). I implemented the idea using Ruby on Rails with the aid of Cartographer plugin.

Unfortunately, it is not moving beyond just being a proof of concept. Reasons:

  • Google Maps low resolution imagery of my homecity of Alexandria (despite the fact that Google Earth has a much higher resolution images of the same city). Of course, with the availability of period images, there are some other places where this can be implemented, but I won’t be able to accurately map the images to the locations.
  • I haven’t received a reply from images-website owners to use their images off of their website directly. I can copy and upload those images to, say, flickr, or keep them on my server, but I still feel I need their approval. As for the copyright concerns, I think these images are in the public domain for a long time. Can anyone comment on that?

Some of the features that I’d get into the mash up:

  • Images of the same buildings/places today alongside the old ones (for the sake of comparison).
  • Putting up layers on the map representing various periods in time (say a decade each)
  • Ability to search images according to Year, Type, etc…

Hisham at work has conveyed the idea to the Friends of the Environment Association, Alexandria and they are interested. I might talk about it in their next meeting this month, so, I’ll see how things go.