Keweenaw Time Traveler reveals interactive history

Published: Jun. 15, 2017 at 10:33 PM EDT
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Students and faculty at Michigan Tech have invented a way to travel back in time.

"What we're really hoping is that is that it can inspire new kinds of community partnerships between individuals,” says MTU assistant history professor Sarah Scarlett.

The Keweenaw Time Traveler might not be science fiction, but as of today it does allow residents to see into the past.

The project uses software and georeferencing to layer current and historical maps linked to historical data sets.

"We realized that a tool like this would be really helpful for a lot of people who do this kind of research, but also something that could be so important for a community like ours where heritage and history are such important parts of our identity here,” says Scarlett.

The entire project includes four applications.

Three of the apps ask users to help decipher and add information from historical maps the software cannot read.

The fourth app allows users to explore locations in the Keweenaw back through time.

Users can also add their own personal stories and pictures about the history of a location.

"I think it will be a great way to be able to connect with your heritage or see, even just as simple as looking at your house and seeing who lived there 50, 60, 70 years ago,” says Garand Spikberg, MTU student and Keweenaw Timer Traveler research associate.

Beta versions of the applications were released today during the Keweenaw Time Traveler launch party in Houghton's Carnegie Museum.

The apps are available for download from