History and Reality: Part IV, Then and Now

I was struck by the ongoing project of a Russian, Sergey Larenkov. He has juxtaposed World War II photos and their present-day locations, resulting in many haunting images.

Only a few places in the world have been fully photographed for Google Street View. So to see how it works I decided to try with places outside the Philippines, just to demonstrate the potential of the technology.

Take this photo, of the front steps of St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Washington DC, on August 3, 1944 as President Quezon’s coffin was being carried out of the church en route to temporary internment in Arlington National Cemetery.

From April 5, 2012

On Google Earth you can zoom in on St. Matthew’s Cathedral:
St Matthews Cathedral, Rhode Island Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC, United States.jpg

And from there, zoom in further, transferring to Google Street View.
St. Matthews Steps.jpg
Then you can get an archival photograph and superimpose it on Google Street View. I’m sure others can do it more accurately, but this example will suffice to show the potential of the technology.
St Matthews overlay.png

The end result is pretty striking, if I don’t say so myself:

From April 5, 2012

As you can imagine, this is only a demonstration of the astounding –very rich– possibilities Google Earth, Google Maps and Google Street View has for understanding and sharing Philippine history. For higher-resolution versions of the images I’ve demonstrated in this and the past three blog entries, please see this slideshow.

As proof of concept –indeed, a demonstration of the use of this technology for sharing and learning about Philippine history, please visit World War II in the Philippines, a special section of the Official Gazette for the 70th Anniversary of the Fall of Bataan. You can download our Google Earth KMZ file, to see our ongoing effort to place historical maps, images, and data, on Google Earth. Please visit World War II in the Philippines. Do read Landmarks of Living Memory,  in the PCDSPO Blog.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

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