Recently I’ve been thinking of more and more ways that museums and libraries can expose their collections via other methods besides typing a search term into a search box – yawn…
Like most Australians I’ve been playing around with the street view data Google have added in for Australia cities and it got me thinking, how could this be used by museums and libraries. An obvious candidate is photographs as many photographs are of street views. Earlier this year the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney joined the Flickr Commons with their Tyrrell collection. In a report on their first 3 months at Flickr, Seb Chan noted that over 50% of the photos were geocoded. This provided the perfect scenario for an experiment as every Flickr account has a geoRSS feed. Could this RSS feed be incorporated with a Google maps street view to provide historical photos and contemporary street images side by side?
After about 30 minutes of coding I had a nice proof of concept demonstration page happening. The interface is a little clunky, but it works. This could be improved by using the Flickr API rather than the RSS feed to generate the images. There are some issues which you can’t resolve, like the rotation of the street view compared to the photo, but this isn’t really a show stopper.
I would love to know your thoughts? Am I on to something here?