WhatWasThere application allows iOS users a glimpse into the past

by Mark R

One of things I always admire about period piece movies is the way they can transport us back in time and show what big cities look like back in the thirties, forties, or other black-and-white eras.

Most of the big cities that I have visited are over a hundred years old, and I often wonder what they look like back in the day. Fortunately, this iPhone app known as WhatWasThere gives iOS users precisely that.

Thanks to the power of crowdsourcing, the application allows its users the chance to see “a visual historic record of the world’s streetscapes”. Photos can be uploaded and tagged with a year and location. If you want to see if your favorite place, then you can download the application for free and examine the application’s Map to see if they have some shots of it. If it does, the available photos will show up with the thumbnail, year, and even the distance from where you are. Using the application is simple as the user can put the old-time photo in full-screen mode, and then aim the camera of his or her iDevice in the direction of the photo’s location. By dragging a slider bar, you can get the now-and-then perspective.

Something tells me that we are going to see a lot of applications like this. I predict that whoever perfects this type of technology will really make a killing. I just checked the Android Market, and there is sadly no compatible version.

The developer, Enlighten Ventures, plans to release a keyword search based on title and description, so you can see virtually any location in the old times.


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