Geotagging & Crowdsourcing

The well-loved San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection has 40,000 images online that can be searched by neighborhood, street, date, building, or by a person's name. The keyword searching allows one to discover some nitty-gritty details that were included in the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin news copy pasted on the backside of the photograph and added to the description of the image.  Yet, there is essential information missing from the description and this inspired a project for Old S.F. The project was to geocode 13,257 images in the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.  Explore the geocoded images on Old S.F. by neighborhood, street or, at times, building and adjust the slider to change the display dates. Dan Vanderkam built the site and Raven Keller designed it.  Go explore and have fun.  Feeling inspired?  There are approximately 10,000 more images that can be geocoded from the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection database.

San Francisco enthusiasts definitely enjoy sharing their geolocation knowledge about San Francisco as can be seen from the crowdsourcing project that  was inspired by the digitization of San Francisco History Center's San Francisco Sanborn Insurance Maps, 1905David Rumsey graciously digitized these historically valuable volumes for the San Francisco Public Library this summer.  Local blogger Burrito Justice shouted his enthusiasm about the digitization of the maps. Mike from Stamen responded with a geo-location alignment tool and hundreds of 1905 Sanborn Insurance maps have been matched to current maps of San Francisco.  There are still some more difficult maps to match!

The San Francisco History Center intends to use the geocoded data from Old S.F. in a partnership with Historypin.     


  1. Its a great project and at the same is an amazing collection of photos.


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