Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Archive/Timeline in maps

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 ◄ Back to Archive  The survey has concluded. Here are the results!

NoN Too big for Community Tech

  • Problem: We do have Kartographer extension implemented now and maps are much better than before. But they still lack one basic dimension - TIME. Especially in articles about historic empires, you don't have single defined boundaries. They change overtime. But there's no efficient way to depict that at present.
  • Who would benefit: Everyone using maps.
  • Proposed solution: Add time dimension. User can navigate via lat, LNG, and zoom, add time and the map will be much better.
  • More comments:


@Capankajsmilyo: I think this would work better with the Graph extension. OpenStreetMap is a database of what currently exists and things that have been demolished are deleted entirely, so I don't think this would be suitable for Kartographer. (And then with the Graph extension this would end up being out of scope because it would be a request for Community Tech to create the content.)

The Graph extension is already capable of producing interactive content, although I have never seen it used that way in a live Wikipedia article. Jc86035 (talk) 17:09, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia and wikidata community is capable enough to create the content themselves. We just need the tech capability. Capankajsmilyo (talk) 17:17, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
@Capankajsmilyo: It's already possible to create animated using Extension:Graph, is what I meant. (I originally assumed you wouldn't draw the actual boundaries on the Kartographer map because you could zoom in and see all of the inaccuracies.)
If the areas are drawn using geoshapes and stored on Commons, then I think a timeline would be interesting for this, although probably not for maps with only a few individual geoshapes. (It is already possible to show multiple lines and areas – geolines and geoshapes – in a Kartographer map, and each object can have its own colour and pop-up description.) Jc86035 (talk) 18:26, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Enwiki currently uses Template:Maplink and <mapframe> to add maps, besides pics from commons and enwiki. Are you saying that we can already add timeline in Template:Maplink or <mapframe> using Graph extension? Capankajsmilyo (talk) 18:39, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
@Capankajsmilyo: I meant that the Graph extension could (probably) make a timeline on its own, not by interacting with Maplink or Mapframe. (I don't really understand the Graph extension because I've never had to use it, but there are interactive demos on the MediaWiki wiki.) Jc86035 (talk) 18:44, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
That is why I suggested to use Kartographer so that it can interact with Maplink and mapframe. Capankajsmilyo (talk) 18:46, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

This sounds as if you want the ability to swap out the background tiles and replace them with a historical map. Wikivoyage can already swap out the tiles and can also overlay things on top of the tiles. I've added an example at my userpage. But when loading a page, it seems to always default to the WMF tiles. So it seems you're asking for the ability to specify an image and use that to create the map background. Gareth (talk) 00:14, 2 November 2018 (UTC)

South Asia historical AD375 EN.svg
South Asia historical AD450 EN.svg

Let me try to clear the confusion with an example. See the above two images. The are both just lines and coloured background on basic map of India. Check this out now, it's also a few lines on basic map of India but navigable with latitude, longitude and zoom. I was suggesting of getting the ability to draw lines and overlay Color on map, at different years and then use a simple scroller or other tool to navigate through years. So when I navigate to 375AD, I see the first map Colors and when I scroll to 450AD I see the second one. Now imagine 100s of such boundaries mapped on a single map through 1000s of years. Capankajsmilyo (talk) 02:20, 2 November 2018 (UTC)

Another example, Haryana was formed on 1 November 1966. So these boundaries should disappear when user scroll beyond that year or the scroller should be limited to 1966 and ahead for this one. Just like we can limit the extent of map in Maplink template. Capankajsmilyo (talk) 02:28, 2 November 2018 (UTC)

See mw:Extension:Graph/Interactive_Graph_Tutorial for an example of an interactive graph. Drag the slider to see how world wide fertility rates changed between 1960 and 2013. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:35, 2 November 2018 (UTC)

For historical map data (rendering it on Wikimedia sites aside) there is the Open Historical Map project. It aims to duplicate the OSM structures, but add time attributes to every feature so that the map as it was at any point in history can be retrieved as desired. Sam Wilson 00:48, 14 November 2018 (UTC)


Unfortunately, this proposal is too big for our team to work on, considering that there will be 9 other proposals next year. Thanks for participating in our survey. MaxSem (WMF) (talk) 00:45, 14 November 2018 (UTC)