Community Wishlist Survey 2021/Miscellaneous/Kartographer icon improvements

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Kartographer icon improvements

Icons urgently needed for Wikimedia maps
Some icons currently available, but of little use to Wikimedia maps
Currently, a skyscraper is an office, a capitol building is a town hall, a hotel is a bed, a church is a cross, and banks are credit cards?
  • Problem: There is no one clear set of icons dedicated to Wikimedia maps. Three things need to happen – (1) an established set of icons particular to Wikimedia mapping needs, (2) the rewriting needed in order to add this set of icons, and (3) better support to more easily add and modify icons in the future.
  • Background: Kartographer-based Mapframe maps work wonders to easily show maps in Wikipedia infoboxes and beyond. However the mapping tool really suffers from a lack of identifying icons. Especially for maps that show numerous features, editors are having to be creative to come up with icons that just barely associate with their topics. This is because MediaWiki uses an obsolete version of Maki icons, but even that still wouldn't fix all the problems relevant to Wikimedia spaces. The Maki icon set was designed for maps, though not for Wikimedia. Therefore it has numerous icons useless to Wikimedia spaces, and lacks icons essential to mapping here. There are at least 11 unclear icons, and at least 47 missing icons key to mapping here.
Other problems include, for accessibility, making more options for legibility. Right now, icons only display white. Icons should be able to be at least colored black, if not more colors, for increased contrast when the marker color is set to a lighter color. Markers should also have options for shapes other than the default teardrop shape, to allow for differentiation when using grayscale maps and for people with low color recognition (see task T131618).
  • Who would benefit: Innumerous Wikimedia spaces, primarily Wikipedia and Wikivoyage, but including numerous unique projects like Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Earth, which need good mapping.
  • Proposed solution: Developing an additional entirely new set of icons, including many of the below missing or unclear examples:
Part one: coding
  • Code to allow for easy icon additions and improvements. This needs to happen now, and likely as Kartographer becomes more widespread on WMF projects, future changes will be necessary.
Part two: icon/marker formatting
  • Icons, currently only available in white, should be available at least in black as well, for increased contrast when marker-color is set to a light color
  • Markers should have more shape options behind the tear-drop shape.
Part three: fixing unclear icons
Part four: adding missing icons
  • More comments: The above set of icons proposed are only ones I have found immediately relevant; others in the current Maki set or elsewhere may prove to be as well. Careful care needs to be taken to ensure a non-Western view, as some instances of map icon bias have already been pointed out.
How this should best be solved needs investigation, whether it be adopting later Maki items, WMF or community creating new icons, utilizing existing free Commons files, or a combination of those options. Nevertheless, the technical function of adding and modifying icons needs to take place.