Mapping images

One of my favourite activities when doing a Hyperstudio workshop was to do a virtual tour of the school. 

From the Plant Department, I got 8.5 x 11″ floor maps of every school.  The workshop entailed a great deal of computer activities.  First, you’d have to work the scanner to scan the floor map which we would import into Hyperstudio as the background.  Then, using the appropriate tools, we would identify each classroom and effectively made each classroom area a clickable hot spot.  When you click on the hot spot, we could link a picture, a written description, a video, or an audio file related to the classroom or location within the school. We could cover the concepts in a two hour workshop.  Completion came in the form of students creating the content and then linking it all together.  It was a hit for open houses, interview nights, web sites, wikis, etc.

So, it was like deja vu all over again when I ran into Photogrammar this morning.

It was the same concept on overload! Whereas we might have been lucky to pull together 20 or so images, Photogrammar does it with just a few more!

Photogrammar is a web-based platform for organizing, searching, and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI).

A partnership between Yale and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the background for the source of the images and the goal is fascinating reading.

And, knowing me, you know that had me hooked at “interactive map” which can be displayed in a couple of formats.

By county

By dots

While I thought both representations were interesting to explore, I’ll admit to being intrigued by the Dot format.  I’m pretty sure that I can make out major expressways by the dots.

Regardless, each of the areas are hot spots that link to an image from the database.

Here’s part of one from Royal Oak, Michigan.

Notice the tagging and the descriptions.

All of the images are from the United States, obviously the scope for the project.  Still, it made for a fascinating bit of exploration.

Now, this is a huge project, to be sure.  But it still scales nicely to a classroom, school, or even school district project.  Imagine taking pictures around the school or a superintendent taking pictures as she/he does school visits over a school year.  Pieced together, it would make a fascinating story telling piece.  Hyperstudio is still available for purchase for the project.  Of course, that’s not the only option.  Thinglink takes the concept to the web with various choices ranging from free to district licensing.

Rather than scrambling at the end of the year for some sort of storytelling thing, adding an image here and there throughout the school year would result in a pretty impressive piece of work.

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