Below the Radar, search for traces from WWII View project

Posted on - Ides Bauwens
Commissioned by the province of Limburg, Nazka developed a new interactive map "Under the Radar". Using a unique collection of WWII aerial photographs, the map invites you to join in the search for remnants of WWII such as camps, places of execution, bombings, cemeteries, ...

In 2019, Wouter Gheyle, archaeologist at Ghent University, and his team discovered a unique series of aerial photographs of the province of Limburg in the American National Archives (NARA). It involved no less than 810 WWII aerial photographs taken by the Germans and the Americans between 1944 and 1945. Some of the photographs served strategic military targets. The others were intended to give a better picture of the post-war Europe. The provincial government ordered the photos to be digitised and georeferenced. These photos provide a unique picture of Limburg at the time, during and just after WW II. They clearly show the great changes that the historical landscape has gone through in many places, up to the present day.

Nazka mapps set to work with the georeferenced aerial photographs and built a participatory map around them. On this map visitors can start working with the historical material themselves, looking for traces of WWII. Discoveries are stored as "relics", to which stories and historical imagery can then be linked. 

In addition to the interactive map, nazka also provided a tailor-made management system on which employees of the province manage the new relics. Users do not need to register to add their relicts to the map, but are asked to be patient for a while after a new relict has been indicated so that the administrator can view the contribution before it is published for everyone. A smart emailing system ensures that the visitor and administrator are always aware of the status of his or her relict. 

Visit for more information about this fascinating project!

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