I alluded to this subject briefly on my other blog from a photo-aesthetic perspective. I want to elaborate the topic a bit further here because I think it provides a good illustration of some of the marvelous tools that have recently become available to historians, urban planners and all the rest of us.
I snapped the above picture recently during a morning bike ride. The focal point was the Mini-Cooper, but I was also conscious of the fact that Lee Friedlander had pictured the same place from across the street with a focus on a black dog in 1975 as shown below.
The Street View feature of Google Maps lets me see the scene from the same place and perspective that Friedlander witnessed about thirty years earlier. I believe the Google photo vehicle passed the site four or five years ago based on the way it portrayed the details of the house I now live in a few blocks away.
Google Earth allows a dynamic adjustment of the viewpoint which incorporates composite images built from satellite views, aerial photos and computer-generated 3D building representations.
One fact that emerges clearly in these pictures is that Albuquerque's urban core has changed relatively little over a period of three decades.
By contrast, zooming out a bit in Google Earth, one can see some of the vast suburban sprawl that grew outward to the horizon just since Friedlander's visit to Albuquerque.