May 17th talk: Online research and time-travel via photos with | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

May 17th talk: Online research and time-travel via photos with

This is a first, as I'll be talking about Gwulo itself for a change:

This talk will provide an introduction to the Gwulo website to understand how the site can be used as a valuable heritage information resource and tool for researching, documenting and sharing information about history, heritage and architecture in Hong Kong. Additionally, David will give us a walk through “Changing Central-1880s to 1960s” using high-resolution photographs to learn how this area of Hong Kong developed and changed over time and demonstrate how historic photographs can be taken apart to be understood, revealing hidden details to grasp multiple layers of history. 

The talk is open to all. More information and booking details are online at:

Thanks to Jennifer Lang of HKICON, the Hong Kong Institute of Architectural Conservationists, for organising this. I'm looking forward to interesting questions from the audience, and also to hearing what research tools they use that we can benefit from.

Hope to see you there,



Online research

  1. Search
    1. What's on Gwulo: HomepageGwulo in 2016. Years. Growth. Content types. Audience.
    2. Direct search. eg pillbox via Gwulo. via Google.
    3. Direct search, specific tools.
      1. Photos by gallery (View galleries).
      2. Places by map. (View map) Clusters. Colours. Fullscreen.
      3. People by name. (View people) Mac
    4. Meandering search (Direct people towards related information)
      1. Photo > Place > Photos (Central Market)
      2. Photos of nearby places. (NW corner of Jubilee & DVRC)
      3. Places timeline (CCBHQ)
      4. Tags (police stations)
      5. What links here (Quentin Macfayden)
    5. Guides: People / Places / Photos
    6. Quick links
    7. Maps.
      1. Base layers (NT pillboxes)
      2. Overlays (Lots, building names)
        1. HK Gov't. Modern base & historic overlays?
      3. Transparency (Changes, coast & streets)
      4. Share views with others
    8. Patterns.
      1. Time - Building (Star Ferry, Signal Hill), changing fashion
      2. Time - People (WW2 internees, by DoB, by DoD)
      3. Time - Diaries (71-years ago, 72, 73, 74)
      4. Physical - pillbox. Distribution. Contours. Anomalies.
      5. Time - trams. Virtuous circles.
      6. Time & physical - trams (1950s, 1930s)
      7. Lego blocks, not sculptures!
        1. People: Internees / Police / Family
        2. Photos: Trams / Building / Tricycle
        3. Re-build list each time it is viewed
        4. All available to you
  2. Ask
    1. Recent conversations (debcoxon, Kim Shamash)
    2. The best questions:
      1. Ask what I want to know.
      2. Tell what I already know.
      3. Tell where I've already looked.
    3. Follow progress. (Weeks - visit page. Months - Recent Posts. Years - Email alerts)
      1. Thanks
      2. Humble
      3. Updates - Here's what I found.
      4. Answers 
  3. Share
    1. Long content very welcome, but realistically...
      1. Link to / re-publish your work (client work too?)
      2. Comments - use Gwulo as an onlinw notebook, eg Jennifer
      3. Photos - old / new,
      4. People (architects?),  ...
      5. Places (Spreadsheet lists?)
    2. Guides
      1. Tools & tricks
      2. Shophouses, retaining walls, building heights, window shapes, ....
    3. Tell us your sources (guess, link, book, personal)
    4. More ideas for how to contribute (Contribute)
  4. Future
    1. Rebuilding with SFM (Re-building the KCR terminus)
    2. Augmented reality

Time travel via old photos.

  1. Extracts from talk

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