“Keynoting” with Apple Maps on a Historic Train Ride

The early Thomas Edison films are a captivating part of early film history. They can also provide a historic mapping challenge.  Linked here is a 1902 Edison film from the Library of Congress created before the famous San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge was constructed. It includes a turn by turn Summary of the route. Although the ride is clearly explained, the quality of the old film made it a bit challenging to connect to the landscape with today’s digital maps, but I certainly wanted to try.

Using the names from the Summary,  I searched the routes’ place names in  Apple Maps and created a Maps Guide.  From there, I made screen recordings of each location while viewing the 3D menu in Apple Maps.  Apple’s Keynote enables movies to continue to play across the slides from start to finish so as the train moved along, I tried to match up the route to the Maps screen recordings. Finally I  added the text from the Summary to the slides and then exported the sides as a movie.  

I was delighted to also find a history of the train route in this blog post from FoundSF Cliff House Steam Railroad which cleared up some of the mystery of how the route looks today. (There is no longer a train). Mind you, I only made it to the tunnel but it still was a fun historic look at where that ride might take you if it was still functional today.

With historic films or travel guides in the Library of Congress learners might map out a location and match it with the historic route to create a geographic understanding of then and now.  

How could you expand on this idea of Apple “Mapping” a primary source train ride from your locale?


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