Daily Archives: December 13, 2010

Montgomery County real estate mapping

I just noticed something new on the Montgomery County (Ohio) Auditor’s web site – http://www.mcrealestate.org/. They have a new app for property mapping. (It says it’s still under construction, but it does have some functions already.) 

Go to the web site, click on property search, and then search for a property. On the property page, you’ll notice a link to “New maps (under construction).” If you click on it, it will show you the parcel map with that property highlighted. I think they always had something like this, but this new map has some additional cool features. (Note: the new map takes a few seconds to load. It will display an “under construction” note at first, but after a couple of seconds, the map does appear.)

There is a tool on the new map where you can select any parcel and it will tell you the information (owner, address, value) in a little pop-up bubble.

There is also a (new) feature to show you info about a parcel you identify from the map, without knowing the owner or the exact address. To do this, click on the binoculars at the right, then select the icon that looks like a computer monitor (“identify parcel”). A little instruction bubble pops up, click “place point” to go back to the map. Then click on the parcel you are interested in, and a little red dot will appear on it, and an info bubble will pop up telling you the information about that parcel.

Pretty cool! I’ve been waiting for this! Now you don’t necessarily have to know the owner or the exact address to get the info about a piece of property. I’m very excited. I know it will be useful for local history research.

Historic photos on Flickr

This morning, I read this post from The Atlantic about a collection of Civil War photos added to Flickr by the Library of Congress. The photos look like they are all cased tintypes, many of them hand-colored…so very interesting.

I love projects like this: using Web 2.0 and new media tools to share history with the world. Many places are using Flickr for this type of project. We recently got a Flickr account for the Dayton library, in fact. It’s one more way to get your “stuff” to everyone “out there.” Plus, there’s always the hope that people will engage your content, maybe even identify a person or a place that has been up to this point “unidentified.”

Flickr has a lof of neat ways to interact with content: comments, tags, mapping, and even groups. I was interested in a place where people from the Dayton area could share their local history photos and see others’ photos…and not finding one, I created one: History in the Miami Valley (Ohio). So far it has 19 members, and I only just created it last week.

I am amazed at some of the photos people are sharing on Flickr — the way we are documenting the present, which years from now will amount to having documented the past. We have a wonderful collection like this at the library—the Lutzenberger photograph collection—full of pictures from the 1880s to 1930s. I always marvel at the way things used to look — especially the things that aren’t there anymore (and there are a lot of those!). It might seem silly to go out and take pictures of ordinary places and things, now, but in 100 years, people will look at those pictures the same way we look at pictures from 1900 today. I hope not only that these photos survive that long — oh the digital age! (but that’s for another entry) — but that some of them make it into a library or archives to be shared and studied by all.