Sunday, 12 December 2010

A lifetime ago.

Google Earth now contains historical imagary going back to1930. You'd think it would be some big city that got the honour, but it appears to be rural land between Detroit and Toronto, close to a town called Kitchener. I've not found anything earlier than 1930, but there may be something somewhere.

 The picture quality is certainly as good as the satellite imagary used on Google Earth.

I was going to say I don't expect anything earlier than 1903, but of course there were gliders and balloons and things years before Orville and Wilbur left the ground (on my birthday, december 17th as it happens) Camera technology has also advanced enormously in the last century or so. Back at the beginning of the 20th Century, there were certainly cameras that could have taken images like the one above.

The most built up part of the area covered is a town called Wellesley.

The Aerial photography is a historical document in itself of course, but what I'm interested in is how things have changed since 1930.

I'd have expected the roads to have become wider and busier, the fields perhaps to have become larger, and the urban to have sprawled over a larger area now than it did then.

As you can see, it has indeed become more built up, No sign of the fields getting bigger, or of the roads being any wider (the resolution on the images is too rough to show cars) Some of the fields have been replaced by housing, and some of them by a baseball square. People have more leisure time these days.

The world was of course, black and white 80 years ago. The photos show this, but I've also seen film and television footage of this period, and that confirms that prior to around 1967, the whole damn world was greyscale.

Some areas of the UK, including near where I live, have imagery dating back to 1945 (reconnaissance pictures?) I will post about it soon.


Jim Bliss said...

Interesting stuff. Though it's "baseball diamond" rather than "baseball square".

Just so you know. :-)

Paul said...

Well bugger me, it is as well. Once again, you have broadened my understanding of the world. Home run for Jim!