An upcoming very promising application for the iPhone is the oldMapApp. It is a simple application that let you flip through some old maps. But not just that these are simple scans, they are all geo referenced and layered on top of new online maps. The layers transparency can be adjusted and let your compare now and then. For map freaks and location enthusiasts this will be brilliant. Google does offer a similar thing with the 5.0 version of Google Earth by using the timeline. The oldMapApp does, as the name suggests, offer old historic maps, whereas Google offers only access to old satellite imagery, back from when they started Google Earth.
To browse through the history of a place and follow development patterns is very much a detective game and can reveal a lot about the identity of a place. Also elements of collective memory can be found, so keep our eyes open. The application does use the location information from your phone so it now’s where you are and can display the information in connection to the historic maps. Using the newly build in compass in the iPhone 3GS it even know which direction your are looking.
Old Map App uses a modified version of the excellent open-source route-me mapping framework. Modern maps are courtesy of Open Street Map, which is creating an open-source map of the world.
At the moment, this means in the preview, the app offers only scans from the New York region, dated from the 17th to the 19th centuries. We are of course hoping this will be extended before the release, but for now enjoy the preview:
Found through MapRoom.