Case: Time Machine Street Register for the Municipality of Den Bosch

Go to Den Bosch Time Machine

Connect and visualize big data from the past

The mission of project Time Machine, guided by the heritage department of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, is to connect and visualize big data from the past in order to make their archives accessible to the general public. For this project students Max van den Berg, Pim van Loon, Julian Martens, Job de Nooijer and Martijn Scheve created a street register.

Background Pattern

The Challenge

The following question stated the challenge of the project: How can the various historical and current data collections be connected and made searchable at street level? Which comes down to:

  • Centralizing the historical data in a street register.
  • Making the register accessible to the general public.

What has been done

To efficiently and effectively develop the street register, the project was divided into two sub-projects. A database and a dashboard.


The heritage department puts great emphasis on making archives accessible to the general public, internal researchers, and external researchers. Of course, the dashboard can easily be made accessible to everyone over the internet, however, this characteristic should not only be limited to the dashboard. To publicize the database containing all the information of historic and current streets in ‘s Hertogenbosch, we have developed the database according to the Linked Open Data (LOD) protocol.


In addition to the database students also created a dashboard. The following data sources provided the starting point for the content of the dashboard:

  • Bossche Encyclopedia | historical information on (disappeared) streets
  • Wikipedia | images and textual descriptions to streets
  • Image database heritage department | images of the heritage department to streets

An interactive map was chosen to visualize the above information, which required considering the following additional external data sources:

  • BAG | zip codes of streets in city center & naming of streets
  • NWB | geometries of streets

Furthermore, the following filter-functionalities were implemented in the dashboard:

  • Name | search a specific street by name
  • Disappearance | streets can be filtered based on whether they are disappeared or not.

The result

Two things resulted from this project. A street register database containing all historic and current information hosted in a centralized environment. And an interactive dashboard to interact with the street register aimed at the general public. For more information about the Time Machine project go to the website

Bridging data science with humanities

“This project bridged data science with humanities showing how disciplines are becoming day by day more intertwined. History is not traditionally associated with data science. Still, the students showed how their cutting-edge skills could be applied to new domains and how new solutions can solve problems that were impossible to address only ten years ago”. 

dr. Claudia Zucca – Assistant Professor and Researcher at JADS

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