Wednesday, 25 May 2011

London Low Life - Historic Maps

AxisMaps offers a new online historic maps page to cover Londons past. It is a great resource overlaying about 30 maps dated between 1800 and 1900, on a digital current map based on open street map data. The service allows for interaction with to zoom in for great level of detail.

The producers of the service proposa a concept of space and place as a conceptual framework to understand and use the service. As they define it: "Space or “Which areas of Victorian London are most similar / different to each other (and how did that change over time)?” The 19th century was a dynamic time for London and its population and we wanted to let you explore that by the numbers. Organized by metropolitan works district, you can see how and where the population of London changed over 100 years. We’ve also included the locations of social institutions throughout London as their locations help us understand how the city tried to cope with the changing nature of its urban population.

axisMaps Landmark
Image taken from London Low Life / Image showing the London Zoo from the World's Metropolis, or, Mighty London.

Place or “What was it like to be in Victorian London?” As London’s population was changing in the 19th century, the city itself was being reshaped. This map contains 3 different perspectives on the changing city. Historic base maps not only give you a top-down view of the city; they also allow you to see what aspects of the city cartographer’s felt were important enough to include on their maps. Original images let you see the important features of the city from a variety perspectives. Finally, the Tallis streetviews allow you to put yourself on a London street and look around."

Iframe embeded from London Low Life / Click HERE for full version.

It is however not only about the maps, there is great additional information. This ranges from Street View to population data and also includes details of landmarks and infrastructure. The Street View is based on the maps and drawings produced during the 19th century by John Tallis. He was a publisher of maps in London and his company produced this very comprehensive Street frontage atlas. AxisMaps have now made this accessible via this online platform using pins on the map that correspond to digitised
scans. It is even possible to move around in the streetview and of course see both sides of the road.

axisMaps Population
Iframe embeded from London Low Life / Image showing the popuation of London around 1850.

With the additional information, the service covers population over the whole of the century and as well as population density and population change. In the infrastructure section the data details location and covers a range of types, such as prisons, universities, orphanages, work houses and lunatyc asylums. For most areas there are also additional documents such a s sketches and drawings to illustrate specific landmarks or institutions.

The platform provides a great experience of Victorian London and lets you explore many different aspects of a great city over a whole century. This interactive time-warp makes it a lot of fun and can become rather addictive. However it would be great if the information could be a bit more personal and engaging. At the moment it is very much the look at type of conventional museum presentation, very much a teaching environment.

It fits in with a range of other great tools providing access to historic location information, such as the iPhone app Historic Earth, the Walking Through Time iPhone app, or the augmented reality iPhone app Streetmuseum provided by the Museum of London.

Iframe embeded from London Low Life / Digital version of John Talli's London Street View.

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