Albany: Then and Now app

albany: then and now app android screenshots tim varney

Screenshots from the Android version.

This is good: Tim Varney has created a mobile app -- Albany: Then and Now -- that combines a map of Albany with historical photos and background. As he explained in an email:

The basic idea is that you can walk around downtown and find a spot where a photographer stood 100 (or so) years ago. You can then view the streetscape from his vantagepoint and visually see the changes that have occurred.

Here's a bit more detail from the app's iTunes page:

Make your way to downtown Albany. Open the "Albany: Then & Now" app on your mobile phone and click on the "View Map" button. On the map you'll see red arrows which represent the more than 130 historical photographs in our collection. Each arrow shows where sometime in the past a photographer stood and took a picture of the city's landscape. Most of the photographs are around 100 years old.
Using the map as a guide, walk to one of the marked locations. The center of the arrow indicates where the photographer stood. The direction of the arrow shows which way the photographer was facing. Do your best to stand in the same spot and face the same direction as the photographer did.
On the map, press the red arrow. VoilĂ ! The image that you're seeing is exactly what the photographer saw years ago while standing in the same location! For more details about the photograph, press the "Details" button.

There's a video of the app in use after the jump.

The app is available for the iPhone and iPad, as well as Android. And it's free.

So, what prompted Tim to make this app?

Tim's day job is as a partner at Troy Web Consulting. He says he had been looking around for a project to serve as a demonstration of a development framework that can create apps for both iOS (iPhones and iPads) and Android (the other dominant mobile phone operating system) from the same source code (which can save a lot of time). He continues (link added):

When the Albany History Room [at the APL] was renovated, they made their large collection of historic photographs easily accessible to the public (which I didn't even know they had). I thought that this would be a interesting and interactive way to make them available to everyone.
I spent a number of Monday nights at the library with [Albany city historian] Tony Opalka going through photographs and scanning them. I spent a few weekends writing and researching the content with the help of others. The easy part was the coding which I did in the evenings. It probably took about 2 months from start to finish once I got access to the photos.

Tim tells us that about 75 percent of the photos are from the Albany Public Library, and the rest are from the Albany County Hall of Records, the NYS Archives, and the Library of Congress. He says he's working on photos from other sources, too.

Also created by Tim: The recent map of Albany vacant properties.

Comments

Now, THIS might just be the incentive I need to finally get an iPhone.

What a cool project.

Great stuff.

This is so neat. New favorite app!

ooh I really love this idea. Hoping he'll extend it to New York..it would be so fun to be down there and use it ala "this super cool hipster/nouveau riche bar/club/boutique/hair salon used to be a slaughterhouse/sweatshop/flophouse/Lou Reed slept here" etc.

Cool! I *just* got a smartphone (been shackled to a stupidphone for years), I'm looking forward to trying out the Android version. This could be really fun and interesting to use in local history scavenger hunt type games for kids too.

Great fun on the iPad! Would love to see this app do Troy.

This app works very well on a Nexus 7 tablet.

I just installed this to my droid. Awesome!

Teachers take note -- this app an incredible resource.

Nice work, Tim!

Like the app? Come meet the developer, Tim Varney; Chris Ward from the NYS Archives; and folks from Historic Albany Foundation and the Albany Institute of History & Art at the "Archives Month App Launch Party" on 10/18 at the University Club! http://www.uclubevents.blogspot.com/2012/10/celebrate-archives-month-with-app.html

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Capital Region economic development grants: Tivoli Preserve, Albany Skyway, Nipper, Troy movie theater, craft beverages, and more

Originally published Thursday at 2:20 pm. Updated Thursday at 4:05 pm. The Capital Region got $83.1 million in the state's annual Regional Economic Development Council... (more)

Sonia Sotomayor at UAlbany

Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor will be speaking at UAlbany's SEFCU Arena April 4. The event will be free and open to the UAlbany community,... (more)

Solid Sound 2017 early-bird tickets

Early-bird tickets for the next summer's Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA go on sale this Friday, December 9 at 10 am. Three-day passes will... (more)

Adapting for a more extreme future

The Northeast US is looking at average temperature rises of a few degrees over the next century because of climate change, according to the some... (more)

Morning Blend

Regional Economic Development Council awards The winners of the annual Regional Economic Development Council grants are expected to be announced today. $750 million will be... (more)

Recent Comments

I grew up in the Utica area and moved out here in 1998. It really is funny how different the cultures are less than 100 miles away. It's more laid back in the Utica/Syracuse area, and the culture is much more "country" whereas Albany and a lot of the are around it is much more fast paced and has more of a NYC influence. Both are nice places to live, but definitely different vibes.

The best place to get a fresh-cut Christmas tree?

...has 22 comments, most recently from Tess Lecuyer

What if Albany is upstate, but not "Upstate"?

...has 9 comments, most recently from komradebob

Adapting for a more extreme future

...has 2 comments, most recently from BS

Phoenicians Mediterranean Palace

...has 5 comments, most recently from Billy

Solid Sound 2017 early-bird tickets

...has 1 comment, most recently from Michael H