Visual communication is becoming more sophisticated in
planning, however many online image sources are restricted and require payment for use. Others,
such as flikr.com and Google Images are extremely useful but have uneven quality
and information provided about the images can be difficult to assess. While flckr.com and Google Images will remain a key resource, a
number of other online image databases provide more consistent metadata along with free access.
- Irin, the news service of the United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has wonderful, high quality images from
around the world. Users wanting high resolution images need to register, but
image use is free and I've had good luck getting permission to reprint photos
in publications. Go to: http://www.irinnews.org/photo.aspx
- The American Memory collection in the Library of
Congress has a rich collection of historical photos. Not all are digitized but
if you search for a key word, then slect "gallery view" as the display option
you'll see where images are available. Go to: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html
- The Lincoln Institute's new web site on Visual
Tools for Planners, under the direction of Lew Hopkins, has
handy examples of planning graphics. It seems to be still under development but could become a key resource. See: http://www.lincolninst.edu/subcenters/VTP/
- Another great source for ideas about finding
images is the blog of Karen Brummand, the digital image instruction guru at Cornell. While some images she lists are restricted, her blog illustrates her great resourcefulness in locating images on the web. The digital image section and a special list on global cities are both useful.
Some of my earlier posts have pointed to video and film resources
available online as well as planning scholarship available for free. In
upcoming months I'll be investigating various topics related to how planners
communicate, including more on visual communication.
Ann Forsyth is professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University.