Getxoweb is a pioneering interactive map that the Agirregabiria De la Sen family created in 1996, more than 10 years before Google Maps, to show Getxo to the friends their daughter Leire had made while studying English in Britain.
Mikel Agirregabiria, a theoretical physicist and engineer, his wife Carmen De la Sen, along with their children Leire and Aitor, travelled round more than 300 streets, took more than 15,000 photographs and programmed a website that explored the possibilities and problems involved in the creation of an online interactive map. The images were taken on Sunday mornings to avoid getting people in them and, for example, some businesses asked to be included while other neighbours demanded that they omit their streets for security reasons. The problem posed by the possible use of Getxoweb‘s photographs without permission was solved by including little Aitor in the images as a human watermark. At a time when the Internet was barely used, the page was widely reported on local and national radio, newspapers and television channels.
25 years on, Getxoweb can still be visited and continues to bear witness both to the architecture and urbanism of the town, and to the quality and aesthetics of the technology used to make it. Despite some broken links, most photographs, animations, icons and features remain, offering a unique, vital piece of cultural heritage worth preserving.
Mikel Agirregabiria (Bilbao, 1953) is a theoretical physicist who has advanced studies in Computer Science, Industrial Engineering (Electronics and Automation), as well as expert in Museology. He was a tenured professor of Didactics of Mathematics and Experimental Sciences at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and Director of Training at the Basque public television. He has worked for the Basque administration in several departments and he is also author of numerous publications, lectures, programs, works and conferences. His current interests include digital innovation in various cultural and social environments, as well as Silver Economy.
Carmen de la Sen (Bilbao, 1955), one of the first Spanish women graduated in computer science, has been a professor of Computer Science in Secondary Education, having worked in the last decades at the Basque Institute for Educational Evaluation and Research (ISEI-IVEI).
Leire Agirregabiria de la Sen (Bilbao, 1983) completed her studies in English and French Philology at the Universities of Deusto, Cork (Ireland) and Rennes (France), and she teaches both languages in Secondary Education.
Aitor Agirregabiria de la Sen (Bilbao, 1986) is a Technical Architect and Construction Engineer from the University of Navarra, as well as an Executive MBA from the Hult International Business School (Dubai-London). He is specialized in civil works for airports and various sustainable energies.
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