Mapping your place in history.

Lookbackmaps is a simple, yet robust way of visually organizing, exploring and engaging in history and historical photographs through web and mobile-based maps.

Through the online mapping of high-resolution public photo collections and geotagging technology, Lookbackmaps creates collaborative, standardized views into the past.

LookBackMaps was started in 2008 by Jon Voss.  According to Voss, "There’s something in being human that wonders what was here before us—who occupied this space, how did they live, what did they leave behind?  By mapping the millions of historical photos available through public libraries and private collections on the web, we start to piece together the puzzle."

We are continuing to develop this site to make it easier for you to find and share historical photos, so look back often to see the upgrades.  And please register for the site to receive newsletters and updates.

We’d love to hear your comments about the site, and any ideas you have for improvements!  Feel free to email (ideas at and let us know!


Privacy, Copyright, and Use/Reuse

LookBackMaps utilizes cookies to retain login status, but we do not use or share that information for any other purpose.  You may create an account or sign in with your email address, which we will not sell or share. We send out periodic newsletters, which you can opt out of at any time. 

We honor copyright and do not cache any historical or current photos on our site.

Any metadata that you add about an historical photo (it's image location, page location, geolocation, etc), may be shared, as we are actively working to share improved metadata about historical collections with contributing institutions, researchers, educators, web developers, and the general public. Until such time as we can provide access to our metadata via APIs, data dumps, Linked Open Data, or other means, if you'd like a copy of our public metadata, just ask.  We are working with metadata on the behalf of some institutions that have not yet elected to make their metadata public, and to honor those agreements, that metadata will of course not be shared.