History Hack Day

My officemate Matt has spent the past few weeks putting together the inaugural History Hack Day, which took place at the Guardian offices last weekend. I was only able to attend for the kick-off talks, but they were great, with Matt Sheret‘s exhortation to be timelords fitting especially well.

Jeremy Keith has done a great job of writing up the various hacks that emerged from the weekend and I’m gradually working my way through them. I’ve very much enjoyed watching Simon’s geStation which plots the openings of Britain’s railway stations onto a google map. As Jeremy says:

On the face of it, it sounds like just another mashup of datetimes and lat-long coordinates. But when you run it, you can see the story of the industrial revolution emerge on the map.

I initially opened it in a rather overloaded browser and everything ran very slowly. Switching to a different browser sped things up a lot, but I realised I’d enjoyed the slow pace rather a lot more – there was something quietly engaging about watching each station pin emerge in turn and spending several minutes seeing the country gradually connecting up.

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