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OldSF – Pictures of San Francisco from 1850-2000 (oldsf.org)
80 points by nikunjk on Jan 22, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments

One might think, as I did initially, this is just an API mash-up, or some natural language processing, but the developers geocoded many of these images manually. It's not clear a digital solution exists. This is an important contribution to the common historical record :-)

You can read more about that (and download the geocodes as a JSON file!) here: http://www.oldsf.org/about

The gist is that we made a big list of San Francisco streets and looked for intersections and addresses in the descriptions. This approach can even work for complex strings like "Mission between 16th St and 17th St". The lookup for "16th and 17th" fails, but the other two pairs succeed. We average "Mission and 16th" with "Mission and 17th" and get a geocode at the perfect spot.

You can read about some of the recent development work on OldSF here: http://www.danvk.org/wp/2013-01-21/developing-the-oldsf-slid...

The date range could use some affordance that it is clickable without mousing over. If I didn't know the feature of restricting the date range existed, I wouldn't have found it. (Awesome feature! :)

Hey, thanks for your feedback (I'm the designer). Initially we had the slider visible, but I hid it to reduce chrome - and because it wasn't a feature that I (casually) observed people using all that often. You're the second person to request that it be visible again, so I'll work on either making it easier to discover or making it fully visible on page load. Thanks again!

Sutro Bath pictures are awesome, I'm bummed I never got to see them.

Union Square too: http://www.oldsf.org/#ll:37.788056|-122.407500&m:37.7900...

This is really cool. FYI. Old photography exhibit going on now at Rayko. http://www.UpOut.com/sf/do/photography-exhibit-san-francisco...

Full disclosure: I am a cofounder of UpOut

That page does not degrade. Visiting it with JS disabled displays a page with a modal popover that cannot be closed.


don't disable js if you want to use the www. It's not worth web developer's time catering to people like you.

if I take out my car's engine it takes me forever to get anywhere, but is that Honda's problem?

It's interesting on a forum of hackers who are busy creating the next biggest thing and pushing the web to its very limits with the latest technology, other people here spend their time complaining that when you take away these technologies and the scripts that enable them, the sites are no longer functional. When I uninstall Ruby from my server my apps stop working, but I understand that's a consequence of writing a website that relies on Ruby.

Replicating JS functionality in HTML so it will degrade properly is a pointless exercise when literally every browser that any sane person would seriously be using comes with Javascript enabled. If a user wants to break a website, for themselves, go for it, but stop complaining to the developers because of a problem you caused for yourself.

What a strange thing to say. Why do you think degradability is a concept?

Is this some technical meaning of "concept"? A thing is a concept if we can conceive it in our minds. I can think about the idea of degradability, so it's a concept.

You know what I mean.

I don't. Seriously. If I had to guess, I'd guess it was some new name for an old thing in whatever programming notation is hip with the kids now. Most things around here like this turn out to be new names for old things.

This has been done for Moscow and Saint-Petersburg (both in Russia) -- http://oldmos.ru/ and http://oldsp.ru/

Are you planning to open source this code? I can see that this would work for many geo locations. I want do a similar web app for cities in India.

The code for the viewer lives on github here: https://github.com/danvk/sfhistory/tree/master/viewer

(start with viewer.html). If you use it to build something for India, I'd love to hear about it!

Thats awesome. Thanks, I will check it out and report back once I have something built.

Can people submit more pictures? I lived there from 1990 and took a lot of shots (mostly on film bef 2000, and mostly in storage right now)

Not on OldSF. There are a number of other sites which let you pin your own photos. historypin and sepiatown are two of them.

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