We’re very excited to introduce Mark Frost, who joins our London team as We Are What We Do’s new Chief Technical Officer.
Over the last few years, we’ve been lucky enough to have some fantastic developers, planners and designers come into the team and develop a stream of successful digital projects like Internet Buttons, the Action Tracker and, of course, Historypin. In June, we set out to find someone that could lead this team to the next stage of strategic development and high quality delivery. In July, we bumped in Mark and, just on Monday, he started as CTO.
Mark comes from a perfect background for We Are What We Do, learning his trade in Silicon Valley and making his way through top roles at AOL UK, the BBC and Capital Radio Group. Just as importantly, Mark is passionate about what we do and about using technology and creativity to create products that can change behaviours and affect major issues. Definitely more importantly, he has a whippet and makes his own olive oil.
We can’t wait to get stuck in with Mark. Historypin, in particular, has reached substantial scale and complexity and our other work, as it grows and evolves, demands the experience and confidence that he brings and which has already started to rub off on the team.
The app helps you discover windows into the past by seeing and interacting with the history all around you.
In the new version, we've completely redesigned the interface to make it more usable and enjoyable to use. Plus, you can also now explore Tours on your phone, walking you step-by-step through a series pieces of themed content pinned to a route on the map. You can also now watch and listen to video and audio clips which have been pinned.
The new app now also shows all users' Channels, so you can easily find everything uploaded and curated by individuals and institutions from around the world, including people like the US National Archives, Imperial War Museums and The English Heritage Archive. Everyone with a Channel on the Historypin site has a Channel on the app, so if you have a Channel, this app features your content!
The app keeps the core functionality it always had - revealing photos near your current location, allowing you to view them layered over the modern scene in front of you, exploring Collections of some of the best old photos from around the world and adding your own content to Historypin by using your phone to digitise an old photo, capture a modern moment of historic importance, or take a modern replica of a photo on the app.
And of course it still has everyone's favourite feature: where if you shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it like polaroid picture, your phone will bring up a random awesome old photo.
And if that wasn’t enough, we heard from our friends over at the Bright Ideas Blog, which is a fantastic resource from the School Library Association of Victoria and the State Library of Victoria. It turns out they’ve used Storify to create an embeddable resource guide on how to get started pinning on Historypin, full of all sorts of video tips on using our site! Thanks for creating such a great resource–you guys are the best! We’ve embedded the videos below–very clever!
The end of March saw us launch Historypin Channels, where profiles changed in to a completely different beast. Users now have a personalised Historypin map on their Channel page which displays only their content. Historypin Repeats are viewable as well as stories that people have added to your photos. The work that I have been doing with English Heritage Archives has been gearing towards this launch, so seeing the photos I have chosen up on the site and in this new format has been very rewarding.
That is not to say that now we have launched Channels that my time with English Heritage is up. I will be spending the next 3 months working with their cataloguing team, finding more great images to put up on the site.
I am currently working my way through the extensive collection of images from photographer John Gay. Gay was born in Germany in 1909, but moved to London in 1933 as Hitler rose to power, beginning his career as a photographer. He primarily made pictures of people, but covered a wide range of subjects from animals for pet food adverts to architecture and country fairs. Gay is perhaps most famous for his series on Blackpool holiday makers, which typifies the traditional British seaside holiday. Look out for images from the John Gay Collection, we’ll be uploading them soon.
In the meantime there are already hundreds of images on the English Heritage Channel, from a number of different photographers such as Eric De Mare, one of the foremost architectural photographers of the 20th century. There is also the smaller Maltby collection of Odeon cinemas, which I mentioned in my last blog, as well as a set by Rupert Potter, father of children’s author Beatrix Potter. His images are all of Edwardian London, depicting London Zoo and various street scenes within the square mile. As well as all this work from some amazing photographers there are Tours and Collections to be viewed. My favourite being the cataloguing team’s own selection of images from the Early Photographic Print Collection, a body of work containing some of Britain’s earliest known photographic works, going back as far as 1840, you can view that Tour here.
As Historypin grows and takes on different lives in different communities all over the world, we’ve been looking to get good people to lead the project in some of those places.
After putting down roots in San Francisco with Jon Voss, we are now very pleased to be able to launch Historypin Australia in the form of Dr. Sarah Barns, our fantastic new team member and territory Director.
Sarah has a very strong, relevant background in the digital, creative and arts sectors and has been part of a small group of pioneers exploring geo-web and location publishing in Australia.
Specifically, Sarah has spent the past five years experimenting with how the documentary histories of urban sites might be unearthed using location-based services, using a range of media including sound and radio archives, film, photography and maps.
Earlier this week we wrote about the launch of Historypin Channels. As well as some neat customising functions, Channels also enable you to upload large amounts of content and embed your Channel on your own site using the Embed and Bulk Uploader Tools.
With this you can embed your Historypin Channel on your own site, enabling your visitors to explore your content through the Historypin interface. When you set up your embed, you can choose which views to include from Map View, List View, Collections and Tours. Check out some of these super embeds from: