Description of Maps

About the Archive Creation

On August 6 and 9, 1945, the American military’s B-29 strategic bombers dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. About 8 months prior to this, a B-29 strategic bomber was modified into a photo reconnaissance aircraft called F-13, which collected information for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and other locations. This was done using the most advanced aerial photographic surveying techniques available at the time. Photographs were also taken about one month after the bombings.

At the College Park National Archives located in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., photographic films taken by the F-13 of the Nagasaki area from March to August 1945 are stored, and they can be viewed and used by anyone. However, to scan the released photographs in high quality, it is necessary to bring a film scanner. The photographs used in this archive were purchased from the Japan Map Center, which scanned the aerial photographs in high resolution using a film scanner. In addition, the purchased photographs have been further enhanced using ArcGIS and Adobe Photoshop to bring them closer to their original state.

In the archive, these aerial photographs have been implemented on the Digital Earth System (Re earth) for peace education materials, which utilizes the recently popular cloud environment. The photos taken by the U.S. military include the unique tilt of the camera against the ground characteristic of aerial photography, and the coverage is limited to a narrow area, so “georeferencing work” to correct the tilt against the map of the target area and “merging work” to stitch the photos together were conducted.

Regarding the post-bombing aerial photographs, due to the detailed aerial photographs being limited to the Urakami area, the implementation range extends only around Nagasaki Station.

About the Features of the Archive

The most significant feature of the aerial photograph archive is the ability to compare the area before and after the bombings. Since we are utilizing aerial photographs, for instance, we can explore how the damage differed due to elevation differences between mountains and flatlands, or what the streetscapes looked like in areas that were turned into burnt fields before the bombing. In addition, not limited to before and after the bombing, current aerial photographs can be viewed on the screen. Introducing tablets like iPads into fieldwork enables learning in a new way about what the streetscapes looked like before the bombing, and how they were destroyed by the atomic bomb.

Moreover, this time, students have taken the lead in creating 3D models of large bombing remnants, specifically Nagasaki Medical College, Shiroyama Elementary School, Urakami Cathedral, etc. These buildings, which mostly were wooden and thus completely burned down, stood out oddly in the devastated Urakami, a sight many survivors have spoken about. This is an attempt to allow people to re-experience the scenes of that time.

About Creating the Hiroshima Version
The creation of the Hiroshima version is also planned for the fiscal year 2023.

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