The Mission

The Team





Normandy Snaps:
The Mission

The Normandy Snaps team, consisting of four experts in media, technology, and intelligence collection and analysis, are investigating an early open source collective-intelligence effort launched during World War II and involving millions of photographs and additional records supplied by the public to war planners designing the 1944 invasion of Normandy. Specifically, the Normandy Snaps team aims to investigate the 3,471 cardboard boxes containing photographic prints and postcards showing topographical views of locations in Europe collected by, and on behalf of, the U.K.'s Inter-Services Topographical Department and held by the Admiralty Photographic Library, Oxford, from 1941 to 1945, and at the Joint Intelligence Bureau Library, Ministry of Defence, from 1945 to 1964 and since 1964 in the possession of the U.K. Imperial War Museum (IWM).


As the collection description states, "The postcard views are a mixture of original and copied material; the prints are mostly copies of original photographs, either taken by NID, ISTD and JIB operatives, or obtained or loaned from British military and other official sources, shipping companies, commercial and business firms, magazines, newspapers, technical and trade publications, tourist and photographic agencies, the geological, geographical and other departments of Universities, private photograph collections, individual members of the armed forces, civil servants and members of the public." These images were sorted by place, annotated with longitude and latitude information, and assembled by Allied war planners who studied the design and topography of coastal areas, docks, beaches, bridges, waterways, and roads as part of the D-Day planning effort. While this collection has been curated by the IWM for 35 years, it has never been made available to the public nor processed for any of digitization, preservation, and modern-day human and machine analysis.