Google releases a lot more 65 year-old historical imagery

We’re big fans of Google Earth’s “historical imagery” tool. We gave another overview of it last month, then followed up a few days later with a list of eight things you might use it for.
Google doesn’t often announce releases of historical imagery, with the the most recent being more than eight months ago. However, Google has just pushed out historical imagery that covers nearly all of London from 1945!


This update includes a ton of great imagery. Another example they provide is of London’s Heathrow Airport, 1945 and today:

What other great things can you find in that old imagery?

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Do buildings on the 3D buildings layer have the ability to be tagged based on their construction date and then show up or not depending on the date chosen for historical imagery? As an architect and landmarks board member this would be a great tool – a 3D model of a city that we can see change over time.

  2. Mark, I don’t think that’s possible but it’s a great idea! Hopefully they add a feature like that in the future.

  3. I think Google have made a mistake in highlighting the 1945 imagery of London as this is way under the quality of the best aerial photography of the time. Priority should be to replace the increasingly dated and indifferent current imagery taken in the depths of winter 2005.
    A minor irritation is that most of the ‘historic’ slider is now taken up with the 65 year gap to 1945, with the recent stuff squeezed up at the right hand end.

  4. There’s a great image of the Silverstone circuit at that time 🙂

  5. What Mark said is indeed a great idea.
    I had been thinking about something related: road lines based on their construction time. Now there are some road lines that aren’t in the imagery because the imagery is older than the road (or there are roads in the imagery, without road lines).

  6. It would be nice if they had imagery less than 4 years old. The downtown of my city has several new buildings where GE shows empty lots. The main street has been rebuilt, something that was in progress when Street-View came by and couldn’t go on the closed off section of the street. Historical imagery is interesting, but up to date imagery is more important.

  7. I wonder how Google is coming along with store view: where they take pictures inside stores like this news article from Feb?
    Another service has alreayd sort of done it.

  8. I’ve just been looking 1945 images of the UK on Google Earth. It’s not showing many RAF airfields constructed post 1935, so the imagery must predate the claimed 1945 by at least 10 years.

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