Yahoo MapMixer: Comparing Singapore in 1930s vs. 2007

Note: Play with the Layer Opacity and Zoom sliders, as well as the Map / Satellite views.

Over at Yesterday.sg, there’s a bunch of us exploring social media uses for the study and dissemination of Singapore’s history. While we typically blog life stories, vintage photographs and sometimes pretty neat documentaries, maps are often informational goldmines for understanding our changing culture as well.

Anyway, Kenneth noted how Yahoo recently launched MapMixer, where you could put old maps (or any informational layer really) against the current map/satellite view. He added that you could also do this is Google Earth, but the process of sharing the Google Earth overlays is cumbersome (as seen in the User Guide). Instead, with MapMixer, you can upload the map, create the overlay and share the map online. You can even embed it in a blog or website. I had to adjust the fairly large embed to fit on my blog above.

Unfortunately, Yahoo’s Singapore map doesn’t go anywhere near street level unlike Google Maps and Earth. Their satellite image of Singapore also has lots of cloud cover which makes even rough placement of the map near impossible. Still, he’s produced an overlay of a 1930s Singapore map with the current map of Singapore (available here). You can already see how much of Singapore has been reclaimed land since then.

Being a fan of Google Maps, they also recently went “embeddable“, with killer annotation features, which is great for sharing routes and points of interests. Isn’t it great when companies compete, users win?

In the larger context, Yahoo Mapmixer and Google Maps are giving users the ability to conduct their own form of dataveillance (beyond individual tracking), where lots of people constantly survey and compare various relative information sources to derive new bits of information (i.e. a form of data mining).

Update: Kenneth went further by doing a tutorial screencast on using Yahoo MapMixer!