How open data visualisations can connect us to our history
As more data becomes available, the world is accessible with a tap of our fingertips. With this increase in information, people can satisfy their curiosity, for example, by looking up their own homes or the area they live in. Through satellite imaging, they can discover not only their current homes but also how they have changed throughout the years.
In the current era of technology, a lot of pictures are taken and published on various social media platforms to connect people. These types of images can also be used to develop or support services, such as the ‘Archives of the planet’, a project led by the French Albert-Khan museum. The collection contains over 75.000 pictures from around the world, dating back to 1909. The open datasets make it possible for viewers to zoom into a city and see what it looked like a hundred years ago. Similar initiatives on a local level exist, for example, Berlin showing its city through the ages on its data portal and Eindhoven having a collection of thousands of aerial photos taken from 1920 up until the drone era.
Albert Kahn was driven by an ideal of universal peace, leading to his conviction: ‘Knowledge of foreign cultures encourages respect and peaceful relations between peoples’. Modern technology using open data can help connect individuals, not only to people around the world, but also to the past.