This past March, the New York Times released satellite images of Japan before and after the earthquake and tsunami devastated the eastern coast. With a spectacular sliding feature that seamlessly overlays aerial views of Japan in two contrasting states, the interactive photos quickly spread through the Internet, becoming the most viral story of 2011.
Since then, the stream of news from Japan has dwindled, and the sensational imagery that had once gripped the world has lost its hold. An organization known as the Nagasaki Archive works to counter the fading impact of such watershed historical events through the creation of interactive, digital maps. Starting with the atomic bombing of Nagasaki over 65 years ago, the Archive overlaid photographs, stories, videos and more relating to a single widespread tragedy onto a navigable map of Japan generated by Google’s satellites. In having people confront instead of overlook these terrible events, the Nagasaki Archive hopes to move and to inform the public, one individual at a time.
Their latest map for the East Japan Earthquake offers a "mash-up" of content that users can explore to "understand the real state of affairs…that cannot be understood by inspecting individual photographs." The map reveals over 100 photos taken from the New York Times overlapping with three-dimensional geographical features that offer comprehensive views of the Sendai airport and Fukushima nuclear plants, 360-degree panorama images, and geographically arranged videos of victims’ testimonies. The project is ongoing, constantly updated with the most recent photos and information that users can browse through chronologically. Click here to access the East Japan Earthquake Archive.