With support from the Getty Foundation and in partnership with Axis Maps and Instituto Moreira Salles (IMS), imagineRio has embarked on a three-year project to integrate 4,000 views of Rio de Janeiro from IMS’ 19th and 20th centuries photographic collections, greatly expanding the number and variety of geo-located visual representations of Rio accessible to researchers. The integration of IMS’ exceptional collection requires the reconceptualization and rebuilding of the platform, which now uses IIIF standards and geolocates photographs over a temporally-accurate 3D model of the city. Other topics being explored include automated extraction of architectural information and geographic data from situated and contextualized historical photographs.
Built over imagineRio, Narrativas do Rio is a new storytelling tool that gives users the possibility to craft their own stories using the underlying layers and visual content available in the platform. The expected launch date is July 2021.
Situated Views of Rio de Janeiro
imagineRio, on display in this installation, charts changes in Rio de Janeiro’s landscape and topography over time, as the city has existed and as it has been imagined. A seamless integration of photography and cartography highlights the spaces of gathering, be it where people have historically come together or where they have imagined coming together. Through georeferencing views of the city in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, its plazas, parks, squares, streets, waterfronts, and the central urban forest are now seen in remarkable geographic detail. Images from photographers such as Marc Ferrez (1843–1923) and Augusto Malta (1864–1957) stand out regarding the evolution of Rio de Janeiro’s social and collective spaces.
Creators: Farès el-Dahdah and Alida C. Metcalf at Rice University; David Heyman at Axis Maps; and Sérgio Burgi at the Instituto Moreira Salles
Project Manager: Martim Passos, Instituto Moreira Salles
Team: Bruno Sousa, Uilvim Ettore, Ualas Barreto Rohrer, Bruno Buccalon, Lisa Spiro, Rice University; Ben Sheesley, Andy Woodruff, Axis Maps; Cíntia Mechler, Maiara Pitanga, Instituto Moreira Salles
Partners: Naylor Vilas Boas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro; Asla Medeiros e Sá, Paulo Cezar P. Carvalho, Fundação Getulio Vargas; Aruan Braga, Lino Teixeira, Observatório de Favelas, Ana Luiza de Abreu, Ana Luiza Nobre, Antônio Firmino, Fernando Ermiro, Michel Silva, Luiz Carlos Toledo, Memória Rocinha; Jens Ingensand, Stéphane Lecorney, Nicolas Blanc, Loïc Fürhoff, Timothée Produit, Haute École d’Ingénierie et de Gestion du Canton de Vaud
The following are published academic articles that use or describe imagineRio:
Metcalf, Alida C., Sean Morey Smith, and S. Wright Kennedy. “‘A Mere Gutter!’ The Carioca Aqueduct and Water Delivery in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Rio De Janeiro.” Urban History , 2020, 1–27. (DOI: ‘A mere gutter!’ The Carioca Aqueduct and water delivery in mid-nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro | Urban History | Cambridge Core)
Metcalf, Alida C. and Sean Morey Smith. “Mapping the Maracanã: Reconstructing the Route of Rio de Janeiro’s Second Major Aqueduct,” e-perimetron 13:1 (2018) : 1-22. http://www.e-perimetron.org/Vol_13_1/Metcalf_Smith.pdf
Metcalf, Alida C. “Water and Social Space: Using georeferenced maps and geocoded images to enrich the history of Rio de Janeiro’s fountains,” e-Perimetron, 9:3 (2014): 123-145. http://www.e-perimetron.org/Vol_9_3/Metcalf.pdf
The following papers and presentations were given at academic conferences, seminars, and events:
Metcalf, Alida C. “imagineRio,” The Digital Urban Past: Exploring GIS Across the Centuries, York City Institute, York University, July 9, 2021. [Link to YouTube Video]
Metcalf, Alida C. “Mapeamento histórico das águas do Rio de Janeiro,” LabHeN (Laboratório História e Natureza) Universidade Federal Rio de Janeiro, June 10, 2021. [Link to YouTube Video]
El-Dahdah, Farès. “The imagineRio Project.” Seminário Internacional: Niterói em Imagens, Laboratório Universitário de Preservação Audiovisual, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, RJ, May, 21, 2021. [Link to Youtube Video]
Passos, Martim and David Heyman. “imagineRio.” Community Call: IIIF and Omeka, February 17, 2021. [Link to Youtube Video]
Metcalf, Alida C. and Monica P. Rivero. “Visualizing Diversity and Inequality in Rio de Janeiro: Creating an Image Database through Text Recognition.” Rice Unicamp Mora Seminar, Rice University, Houton, TX, February 5, 2021.
El-Dahdah, Farès. “Split City: Marvelous yet Divided.” Cities by Design: Rio de Janeiro. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, November 10, 2020.
El-Dahdah, Farès. “Inadequate City: Unfit for a King, Two Emperors, and a Republic.” Cities by Design: Rio de Janeiro. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA , November 5, 2020.
El-Dahdah, Farès. “Compact City: Lodged Between Peaks and Bay.” Cities by Design: Rio de Janeiro, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, November 3, 2020.
El-Dahdah, Farès. "At the Intersection of Time and Space: A Temporal Cartography of Cities, Sites and Events. Baker Institute Webinar Series, Rice University. Houston, TX, July 21, 2020.
Metcalf, Alida C. “The Fading Colonial Mode of Water Infrastructure: Mapping water delivery in Rio de Janeiro, 1822-1850.” Social Science History Association, Chicago, November 2019.
El-Dahdah, Farès. “Temporal Cartography and the Visualization of Diverse Data." Visual Communication Symposium, Rice University, Houston, TX, March 2, 2019.
Metcalf, Alida C. “ImagineRio e o abastecimento de água na cidade do Rio de Janeiro.” Cecult, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, May 15, 2018.
Metcalf, Alida C. “Inequalities and Basic Needs: Mapping the Water Infrastructure of Nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro,” Social Science History Association, Phoenix, AZ, November 10, 2018.
Metcalf, Alida C. “Race, Class, and Water in Nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro.” Paper presented at the VI Rice, Unicamp, Mora Seminar, Mexico City, Mexico, March 13, 2018.
Metcalf, Alida C. and Sean M. Smith. “The 1870 Cadastral Map of Rio de Janeiro and Finding the Maracanã Aqueduct.” Paper presented at the 12th Conference of the ICA Comission on Cartographic heritage into the digital, Digital Approaches to Cartographic Heritage, Venice, April 26-28, 2017.
El-Dahdah, Farès and Alida C. Metcalf. “imagineRio: A Diachronic Atlas of the Social and Architectural Evolution of Rio de Janeiro.” Digital Frontiers conference and THATCamp , Rice University, September 22, 2016. Link to YouTube videorecording.
Metcalf, Alida C. “Ships and Water in Rio de Janeiro.”IV Seminário Rice-UNICAMP, Campinas, São Paulo, May 30 - June 1, 2016.
Metcalf, Alida C. “The Next Step: Research and Teaching using imagineRio.” Modeling and Mapping Historic Sites and Events, HRC Spatial Humanities Conference, Rice University April 8-9, 2016.
Metcalf, Alida C., Sean Morey Smith, and S. Wright Kennedy. “’A mere gutter!’Seeing and Mapping the Carioca Aqueduct of Rio de Janeiro.” Paper presented at the Brazilian Studies Association [BRASA] XIII Meeting, Brown University, March 31 – April 2, 2016.
El-Dahdah, Farès and Alida C. Metcalf. “ImagineRio: A Diachronic and Iconographic Atlas of Rio de Janeiro’s Social and Architectural Evolution.” Houston Philosophical Society, Houston, TX, November 19, 2015.
Aroom, Jean, Farés el-Dahdah, David Heyman, and Alida C. Metcalf. “imagineRio: A Diachronic Atlas of Rio de Janeiro’s Social and Architectural Evolution.” Paper presented at the International Cartography Conference, Rio de Janeiro, August 2015.
Metcalf, Alida C. “The ArcGIS Underwear of imagineRio” III Rice-Unicamp Seminar, Rice University, Houston, TX, March 2015.
Metcalf, Alida C. “Water for a City: Using Geo-referenced Maps and Geo-located Images to Enrich the History of Rio de Janeiro’s Fountains.” 8th International Workshop “Digital Approaches to Cartographic Heritage.” Rome, September 2013.
Andreatta, Verena, Farès el-Dahdah and Alida C. Metcalf. “imagineRio.” Novas Cartografias Symposium, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 5-7 June 2013.
Metcalf, Alida C. “Free and Unfree Labor at Fountains: Artists and their Depictions of Fountains in Europe and Brazil.” First Rice-UNICAMP Seminar, Rice University, Houston, TX, April 2013.
Metcalf, Alida C. “Public Spaces and their Fountains in Nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro: The Views of Visiting Artists.” Rocky Mountain Conference on Latin American Studies,” Santa Fe, NM, April 2013.
Metcalf, Alida C. “Mapping the Ephemeral City.” Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, April 26, 2012.
Silva, Antonio Carlos Higino, “ImagineRio - Uma ferramenta indispensável”, April 17, 2021.
17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia: How will we live together? Venice, Italy - Sneak Peek: Farès el-Dahdah; Alida Metcalf; David Heyman; Sergio Burgi., March 31, 2021.
Henriqueta’s Day on the Streets, Rio de Janeiro, 1850s by Sandra Lauderdale Graham and Alida C. Metcalf. 2020.
O cotidiano de Henriqueta nas ruas do Rio de Janeiro nos anos de 1850 por Sandra Lauderdale Graham e Alida C. Metcalf. Tradução de Ludmila de Sousa Maia. 2020.
Rio de Janeiro: A Colonial City until 1850 by Mary C. Karasch with Alida C. Metcalf, Bruno Sousa, and Lívia Tiede. 2020.
Rio de Janeiro: uma cidade colonial até 1850 por Mary C. Karasch com Alida C. Metcalf, Bruno Sousa, e Lívia Tiede. Tradução de Lívia Tiede. 2020.
Rio de Janeiro in the Time of the King. By Alida C. Metcalf with Jamie Donnelly, Gabrielle Humphrey, Sarah Gao, and Ranie Lin. 2020.
Era no tempo do rei: Rio de Janeiro no romance de Manuel Antônio de Almeida. Por Alida C. Metcalf com Jamie Donnelly, Gabrielle Humphrey, Sarah Gao, e Ranie Lin. Tradução de Lívia Tiede. 2020.
Seeking the Carioca Aqueduct by Alida C. Metcalf. 2018.
Em busca do aqueduto da Carioca por Alida C. Metcalf. Tradução de Ludmila de Sousa Maia. 2018.
A bibliography for imagineRio is available on Zotero and may be accessed here: