Helsinki rephotography

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Ajapaik rephoto walk in Helsinki with schoolchildren on March 1st, 2018
Vahur Puik demonstrates how Ajapaik Android app works at Helsinki City Museum.
Helsinki Rephotography second round application in english

In Helsinki Rephotography, Helsinki citizens will rephotograph open licensed or public domain historical images with a smartphone application. The photographic activity encourages physical exercise as well as lets the users contribute openly available photography for anyone to use. Historical photos will be geotagged as a byproduct. The project starts in November 2018 and ends in 2021.

Background of the grant[edit]

The purpose of the hobbies/exercise grant is to contribute to the achievement of the City of Helsinki’s strategic goals of increasing physical activity and promoting low threshold hobbies for children and young people through new types of operating models and partnerships in joint projects between actors in sports, culture and youth activities., Background: Grant for promoting physical activity and hobbies


  • Wikimedia Finland is Finnish Wikimedia chapter and leading the project
  • The Estonian Photographic Heritage Society is author of the open source smartphone application Ajapaik Android and crowdsourcing platform It has years of experience in crowdsourced targeting of the location of old photographs.
  • Wikidocumentaries is project in Finland that establishes a micro-history platform and arranges meetups for local history. The participants are individuals, cultural and educational operators, and associations gathering local history.


  • Idea was tested in Wiki Loves Monuments 2018 in Finlands as a track
  • Project got 52 000 € grant from city of Helsinki for period 2018-11-01 to 2019-10-30.

Idea round summary 2018-04-20[edit]

Tens of thousands of historical photos of Helsinki have been shared under free licences during the last few years. Inspired by the success of Pokémon GO, this project will invite people to go out in search of the locations of the photos and create then-and-now photographs of Helsinki on their mobile phones. This is called rephotography (or repeat photography).

Rephotography is suitable for everyone, it activates people to have physical activity outdoors by giving them a reason to search new locations. It also offers health-enhancing physical activity for people who aren’t interested in traditional sports via offering intellectual and cultural reasons for the activity. For example overweight young people who have had bad experiences of sports at school and adults who are in risk groups for lifestyle diseases. For older people it offers a way to share their knowledge of the past.

For casual users there are photos taken at a scenic spot, for example, and so it’s worthwhile to visit the place and the photo shows the change that has happened over the years. Alternatively an old photo can reveal details that just visiting the spot can’t, like events that have taken place there or the original use of a building. It allows users to use rephotography for self-expression and sharing interesting images and places with others.

To make moving more goal-oriented, the user will get feedback from the platform. It will thank user for finding and confirming the location of the historical photos, posting interesting photos which got a lot of views, when the user’s photo is used in Wikimedia. The system will keep stats to show your achievements and to show that the grand goal is a group effort that is achieved together.

Our role model is a crowdsourced geotagging and rephotography project Ajapaik that has been developed in Estonia using historical photos (mainly from public collections). Our plan is to use the Ajapaik platform for browsing the photos and rephotographing old photos of Helsinki.