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Open Source News Technology

Swiss Historical Maps Allow Journey Through Time In Your Browser 32

An anonymous reader writes "The Swiss Federal Office of Topography has published a complete set of digitized historical maps from 1938 to 2011. The twist: a browser application allows you to create a time travel movie at any place in Switzerland for any zoom level. As an example, you can see the recession of Europe's biggest glacier over the last 75 years. The application is the most recent effort of the Swiss Government to make geodata freely available to the public at no cost using open source software and will include maps dating as far back as 1838."
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Swiss Historical Maps Allow Journey Through Time In Your Browser

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  • Google Maps (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:34PM (#42628837)

    I've always wished Google Maps would add another slider that lets you scroll back to previous satellite images of the same area.

    • Re:Google Maps (Score:5, Informative)

      by hammeraxe ( 1635169 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:42PM (#42628931)

      This is possible in Google Earth, it is a really neat feature. For some areas they have imagery that dates back to the 80s.

      For instance, you can check naval bases and see which aircraft carriers have been in at certain times. Or, more mundane, just look at how your neighbourhood/city has expanded/changed over the years.

    • Re:Google Maps (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mikael ( 484 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @05:03PM (#42629149)

      Extend that to photographs and postcards. I've seen postcards of villages from 90 years ago, and they haven't changed. The most haunting one was to see pictures of the shop-owners and their children. The shops and homes were the same with minor modifications. But it was so strange to realize that none of those people were around any more.

  • Fantastic Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Unknown1337 ( 2697703 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:41PM (#42628911)
    The implications this could have for history records and documenting future changing is amazing. The idea of making this information public domain and easily accessible could drive both knowledge of the country and maybe broaden the understanding of time's effect on landscape, etc. with a huge visual impact.
    • by sycodon ( 149926 )

      You know you are getting old when records from 1938 are "Historical".

      Historical, that's from the 1800s...not a mere lifetime ago.

      • Historical by definition is "concerning history; belonging to the past, not the present." which would make anything that happened yesterday (or even an hour ago for that matter) historical. Obviously the longer the range, the more useful/applicable this information becomes, but even this initial availability will be able to teach many people new things. To put a finer point on it, many things have happened more recently than 1938 that are considered to be 'historical'. For example: World War II, Sputnik Sat
  • 1838 would seem to be wrong, but maybe someone should check the article and write a summary on it.
  • CERN Evolving (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:45PM (#42628963) Journal
    IF you want to see the evolution of the CERN particle physics lab this this link []. You can see the construction of some of the early accelerators (PS and ISR) which were in buildings (PS) or a large circular raised embankment (ISR). However the more modern accelerators you can only detect by the construction of new surface buildings (look for the ATLAS and LHC magnet assembly buildings appearing across the road from the main site towards the end.
  • by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:50PM (#42629009)

    Can this system be patented: Not criminalizing people for liberating data because is it already free?

    I know that Switzerland has very clever patent clerks.

  • They tried showing historical maps in Japan once. They overlaid them on top of current maps.
    It only led to people attempting to revive a caste system and discrimination.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't work in IE 6. Can they fix it by the end of the day?

    Sincerely, PHB

  • I must conclude that I live in the most boring place on earth. In a radius of 5km from my house, not a single dot changed since 1938. (And no, transitions from monochrome to colour don't really count.)

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham