Project Critiques

Review: Layers of London

Layers of London. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and developed by the University of London’s Institute of Historical Research. Reviewed February 4, 2019.

Developed by the University of London’s Institute of Historical Research, Layers of London is an interactive webpage that with collaboration from institutions across London and Britain, allows a user to interact with a map of the city. The map includes all sorts of pictures of various locations around the city including homes, churches, schools, and other landmarks. The interactive map is easy to use and the search function included in the map allows for the user to easily find what they are looking for.

Along with the standard map, the site gives the user the ability to activate “layers” onto the maps. These layers enable the user to look at an old map, such as the Tudor Map of 1520, and observe how the landscape has changed over the centuries. This feature is easy to use and adds a lot to the educational aspect of the site.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the site and project is the ability for the public to contribute. Layers of London encourages user participation and allows for users to contribute to the history of any place in London. The ability for users to participate is important as it allows for people of all types of backgrounds to contribute their piece of history in London. Despite potential problems that can arise through user participation, from looking at the site, practically every post is readable and informative. Also users can go a step further than just adding pictures, as the site makes it possible to create collections. This allows us to create collections, for example a list of churches in an area. The collaborative part of Layers of London helps to get communities involved and have constant additions to the site.

This site was fun, informative, and easily accessible. This project has appeal to historians interested in the city of London and how its changed over time. Also, this appeals to historians who may want to look at certain areas of the city or how buildings have evolved throughout the years. Where I believe this project excels in is this is the type of project that could garner interest amongst people not directly involved in the field. London is one of the most famous cities in the world and the community driven mission of this project has appeal to anyone living in this grand city. The local history on display could reverberate with people who live in the areas shown in this project.

Overall, Layers of London provides us with an informative, interactive experience of one of the most famous cities on the planet. Each image and blurb includes citations ensuring the validity of the information on the site. This project is something that can keep you entertained for hours, and is only going to continue to grow as more users and community efforts further bolster the impressive map on display.

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