Working Group Proposal: Using APIs to Map Data on Historic Places

Locals & Tourists - San Francisco, by Eric Fischer

Locals & Tourists – San Francisco, by Eric Fischer, cc 2.0

One¬†challenge for¬†historic preservationists is anticipating the loss of a historic site before that site becomes threatened. Advocacy organizations, especially larger organizations, only hear about a threatened site when it’s too late.

Eric Fischer, with Mapbox, has successfully mapped millions of geotagged tweets and Flickr photos, and he has made his tools openly available online at www.mapbox.com/blog/twitter-map-every-tweet/ , but there is yet to be a wide scale analysis of historic sites using open data.

THATCamp presents a perfect opportunity to determine how to take openly accessible, geotagged data from Flickr (tutorial here), Instagram, Twitter (parse json), Picasa (developer tools here) or other sources to identify “hot spots” of activity or interest in historic buildings or sites. Ideally, we can build an ongoing tool that can be used by advocacy organizations in monitoring historic sites in their local area and alert them to any status change or increased interest in particular historic places that they keep watch over.