Well, you might only be able to go back to 2007. And Google Streetview often does not provide too many exit doors. But this seemed like a cool discovery, simply at random.

Last weekend I was driving north from home on highway 87, and coming down the hill from the top of the Rim was a car with a giant rig on the roof bearing a round object. IT’S THE GOOGLE STREETVIEW CAMERA! I could not get my phone out quickly enough for a photo, so I waved out the window like a Grinning Jerk.

Not that I expect them to update that quickly, but I just was thinking about it and looked for the Streetview images on this stretch of highway. I noticed on the little clock icon in the upper left is a drop down menu that pops this open:

See what happens when you flip open the window from the little clock icon. Time travel. Woah.
See what happens when you flip open the window from the little clock icon. Time travel. Woah.

There is a little slider, so you can see the same view from different times as captured by Street View (if available). Not a whole lot changed on this stretch of highway (hence my attraction to this area).

I decided to explore some other places to see how much I could see. The Streeview for my house only has one, boring (a secret joy is that Google Maps incorrectly places the location of my address 1/4 mile away, MOOOOOHAAAAWAAAA GOOGLE YOU ARE WRONG!).

Seemed like a nifty thing to make into an animated GIF.

Okay where to go? I thought that the Standing on a Corner in Winslow Park Arizona was a good spot (do not hum if you know the Eagles song). It only had 3 portals:

Such a fine sight to see....
Such a fine sight to see….

Since coverage up here in the boonies may not be as frequent, I flew down to central Phoenix, here looking north on Central Avenue, with 6 shots from November 2007 to June 2014. I had hoped I might catch a spot before the light rail went in. You can see up the road the iconic Westward Ho building.

Time travel 7 years in Google streetview from Van Buren and Central Ave in Phoenix lookign north
Time travel 7 years in Google streetview from Van Buren and Central Ave in Phoenix lookign north

It’s not terrible exciting. The camera angle gets more consistent after say 2011. Might be new gear.

I drove up the road, and swung my view looking southwest from Central Avenue and Filmore, here with 9 time stops from November 2007 to April 2015.

central-ave-asu

You can see in the earliest the construction of the Downtown ASU campus the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. The old Jewel Box pawn shop gives way to a parking lot. With a little bit of digging I find a shred of history:

The Old Jewel Box pawn shop, no longer exists
The Old Jewel Box pawn shop, no longer exists

And, if you wanted something like jewelry or a firearm, but didn’t have the resources or credit, there was yet another place you could go. A pawn shop.

Not just ANY pawn shop, but The Jewel Box.

Started by Morrey Resnick in May, 1949, it was located at 41 South First Avenue. Downtown.
Later, during so-called urban renewal, it was moved to 601 North Central Avenue, until it closed in May, 2006.

Morrey knew how to make money. Not just in extending cash credit at pawn-shop rates, but in selling firearms, both off-pawn and new, to a burgeoning Valley market. Whenever one wanted to see a scarce firearm, one perhaps that had just appeared in Guns & Ammo, and no other local store yet had it in stock – he would have it. Sometimes at twice MSRP, or worse. He knew the marketplace.

He also knew that shiny 1911 pistols, with ornate, perhaps overdone engraving, in .38 Super, were craved by a certain audience. Roll stamped on the slide with names like ‘El General’ or ‘El Capitan’, they brought a particularly high price. And he always seemed to have them in stock. When no one else did, or cared to.

And the jewelry section held a plethora of Rolexes and authentic Southwestern Indian jewelry

Like Harry Rosenzweig, Joe Porter and other pioneer local retailers, he brought some of the ambiance that was downtown Phoenix in the 50’s and 60’s. Western-cut business suits and bola ties. Cowboy hats.

Until urban renewal, when shopping centers and malls came on the scene. Morrey passed in 2010. He is missed.

These GIFs were made in the brute force way.

  1. I saved each stop as a window screen shot (command-shift 4 on mac, press space bar to grab window) (if you click the magnifier in the time travel window, it shifts the large view to that image)
  2. In Photoshop, I used under File menu ScriptsLoad Files into Stack. This brings each image into its own layer.
  3. Crop any layer to show only the parts I want (remove the menus and browser bar stuff)
  4. Open the Timeline window, and click Create Animation
  5. You do not see much, but from the right side menu in this window, select Make Frames From Layers– this makes each layer a frame in a movie.
  6. But they are backwards, so I select all frames, and from that same little menu, select Reverse Frames
  7. While all frames are selected, choose any one and use the little menu on one frame to change the frame rate from 0 to a second. Also change the loop option from Once to Foreever
  8. Export as GIF, resized down to 600px wide so it fits my blog and is under 1Mb image size

If I were to really go about this, it would be nicer to have the timing of the frames match the timeline, so if there was 2 year gap after 2007, the first frame would last proportional to that time span.

And there is probably some clever API way to locate the images rather than blind fumbling around a map (though I enjoy blind fumbling around a map)

But I am intrigued that (a) this data is there and (b) what are some creative ways to use time as another axis to a map view of the world. You could create a jumping series of different locations t the same time, or something where you move through time and space.

I don’t know, I just feel like I fell into some secret Google door.

What can you find?

Oh, about that Jacob Von Hoglume, that’s almost a post in itself. I found the image via Google Images (filtered for reuse) looking for something to represent time travel. Check out this story on the sign’s origin and pay attention to the comments.


Top / Featured Image credit: modified from flickr photo by museumpreneurs http://flickr.com/photos/59685639@N06/5456293852 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The post "Time Traveling With Google Streetview" was originally slapped on the butt by a cigar smoking doctor yelling "It's a post!" at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2015/06/time-traveling-with-google-streetview/) on June 5, 2015.

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