“The sun is the past, the earth is the present, the moon is the future.” – Nikola Tesla


Turning your iPhone into a pocket, photographic time machine! Snapture enables iPhone users to explore the historical civic photo archives of your current location. As well as this iPhone application, the project includes a ‘backoffice’ application which crowdsources the geotagging of a historical photo archive, using a community of volunteers, recruited via Mechanical Turk.

Snapture is a collaboration between Leeds Met University and the City of Leeds’ Leodis photo archive, specifically targetting the city’s tourists and residents, though the architecture is adaptable to any city and any photo archive.

Here’s how it works…

  • You’re walking through Leeds city centre and pull out your lovely new iPhone 3G.
  • You load up the ‘Snapture’ application recommended to you by a friend.
  • Snapture asks you to take a photo of anything in your vicinity.
  • Snapture then shows you Leodis photographs of your location, enabling you to ‘time travel’ and see what the area looked like in times past.
  • Snapture also shows you contemporary pictures of your current location drawn from Flickr.
  • Snapture can also look to see if there’s anything else of interest around you – events, special offers, stores and even your friends.
  • Working with the city’s planning office, Snapture can also show you what your location will look like in the future.

The idea is based on the notion of a blind camera that doesn’t capture an image, but captures your location and time in order to find photographs others have taken…coupled with Leodis, this adds a playful temporal dimension and a strong link to the city’s civic heritage and its future.

  • imranazad


    Great app! Hows it coming along? When I first saw this my jaw literally dropped. I had thought of a very similar “time machine” idea!

  • imranazad


    Great app! Hows it coming along? When I first saw this my jaw literally dropped. I had thought of a very similar “time machine” idea!

  • Hey thanx man :)

    Looks like the hard work has already been done.

    it was very conceptual and I'm not a great engineer, i needed talented people to build it. I am now concentrating more no the itinerary side the project right now.

    Thank you for you interest, wish me luck :)

  • imranazad

    Hey Mohsin,

    You're welcome. My app never came to any fruition, it was also just a concept. I called it Meiosis, I have no idea why I called it this, it still perplexes me, I think it was something to do with the symbiotic relationship of the app to the user. Now I'm making it sound more glamorous than it really is. The basic idea was that it would record memories, emotions and events. These memories, emotions and events would then be visualized in graphical form. For example recording emotions over a number of weeks would give a graphical representation of the emotional state of the user, the application would then suggest improvements to their life. Events of a persons life could also be recorded, tagged, visualized and categorized appropriately thus acting as a time machine where photos and particular times are associated with particular emotions. I think such apps are too user-independent for input. I still I'm not quite sure what i was trying to intend with the app or if I've even expressed it properly, must have been one of those crazy moments….. :)

    Anyways best of luck with the project and keep us posted with this project and any others you have in the pipeline.

    All the best


  • mohsin

    mohsin ali