Google today launched Kartta Labs, an open source, scalable system on Google Cloud and Kubernetes that reconstructs what cities looked like in the past from historical maps and photos. Available as a suite of tools, Kartta creates a map with an explorable timeline, allowing users to populate dates with historically accurate information.
Other efforts to collect historical maps in digital archives exist, but Kartta goes beyond simple data collection to register the maps in space and time. A temporal map server shows how maps change over time, while a crowdsourcing platform allows users to upload historical maps of cities and match them to real-world coordinates. Another platform runs on top of maps to create a 3D experience by leveraging AI to reconstruct buildings.
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