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Commons app Android
summaryImprovements and new features for the Commons Android app to increase and broaden participation in Commons, and Wiki Loves Monuments integration.
targetWikimedia Commons (primarily); geolocated Wikidata items and Wikipedia articles lacking images
amount61,500 USD
contact• josephinelim86(_AT_)gmail.com• nicolas.raoul@gmail.com
organization• Commons app (group)
this project needs...
created on10:05, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

Important update


10 May 2020: We have been informed by WMF that the development of a Commons iOS app will not be funded. Therefore, as requested by WMF Product and the PG team, I will be making major changes to this proposal over the next few days, to remove the iOS component and focus on the Android app and publicity. For reference, the original proposal can be read here. I will only be modifying my own edits, and will be leaving other people's edits intact. (Also I am not sure what side effects changing the title of this page will cause, so I am leaving the original title up.)

My sincerest apologies to those of you who have been looking forward to an iOS app. We wanted to make one for you, too.

Best regards, Misaochan (talk) 12:35, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

14 May 2020: The changes have been completed and the proposal is ready to review again. Misaochan (talk) 17:06, 14 May 2020 (UTC)

Note from Program Officer: The proposal and pagetitle have been modified to reflect its revised scope. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 19:41, 26 May 2020 (UTC)

Project idea


What is the problem you're trying to solve?


What problem are you trying to solve by doing this project? This problem should be small enough that you expect it to be completely or mostly resolved by the end of this project. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

The Wikimedia Commons Android app, an open-source project maintained by grantees and volunteers since 2015, allows users to easily upload photos to Commons from their Android mobile device. As of today (11 Feb 2020), we have 6,131 active installs, a total of 23,599 distinct images (17.14% of all images) uploaded via our app have been used in Wikimedia articles, and 1,398 places that need photos have had photos added to them via the app. At the moment, we are halfway through a Project Grant for stabilizing and improving the Android app, which we expect to complete by June 2020.

Two of the main issues that remain unaddressed are: (1) The lack of diversity among Commons contributors in general, and (2) Integration with campaigns such as Wiki Loves Monuments, which would be the logical next step for our app.

Active installs for Android app over the last year
Map of p18 edits made

What is your solution to this problem?


For the problem you identified in the previous section, briefly describe your how you would like to address this problem. We recognize that there are many ways to solve a problem. We’d like to understand why you chose this particular solution, and why you think it is worth pursuing. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

We intend to develop new features for the Commons Android app based on user requests and findings from a study re: increasing and broadening participation in Commons, and implement Wiki Loves Monuments integration within our app. We also intend to improve the user experience for our existing users by further polishing and stabilizing the app. In the final phase of the grant, we plan to start publicity initiatives to increase awareness of Commons in the general public.

Project goals


What are your goals for this project? Your goals should describe the top two or three benefits that will come out of your project. These should be benefits to the Wikimedia projects or Wikimedia communities. They should not be benefits to you individually. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

Project impact


How will you know if you have met your goals?


For each of your goals, we’d like you to answer the following questions:

  1. During your project, what will you do to achieve this goal? (These are your outputs.)
  2. Once your project is over, how will it continue to positively impact the Wikimedia community or projects? (These are your outcomes.)

For each of your answers, think about how you will capture this information. Will you capture it with a survey? With a story? Will you measure it with a number? Remember, if you plan to measure a number, you will need to set a numeric target in your proposal (i.e. 45 people, 10 articles, 100 scanned documents). Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

  • All tasks completed, final deliverable available for download on Google Play and F-Droid.
  • Wiki Loves Monuments integration set up in the app (preferably in time for WLM 2020, but depending on development progress and Covid-19 effects, at the very least for WLM 2021 onwards).
  • 50% code coverage (the percentage of code which is covered by automated tests). This metric is a predictor of app stability in future releases, as failing tests provide early warning of issues with new code. It will be measured after completion of the grant via Codecov reports. (Projected code coverage by June based on current PG goals: 25%)
  • Crash rate of <0.5%. This metric is an indicator of app stability, and will be measured via data obtained from the Google Play developer console 2 weeks after the final version is released to production. (Projected crash rate by June based on current PG goals: <1.0%)
  • Open bug issues on GitHub reduced by 50% from the start of the grant.
  • >10,000 active installs. This metric will be obtained from the Google Play developer console at the end of the grant. (Currently: 6131)

Do you have any goals around participation or content?


Are any of your goals related to increasing participation within the Wikimedia movement, or increasing/improving the content on Wikimedia projects? If so, we ask that you look through these three metrics, and include any that are relevant to your project. Please set a numeric target against the metrics, if applicable.

  • >2000 new contributors who were introduced to Commons via the app during the grant period. This metric refers to the number of app users whose first upload to Commons was via the app, during the grant period, and is measured by a query similar to this. (Number from previous IEG grant: 1728)
  • A total of >35,000 distinct images uploaded via the app are used in Wikimedia articles. This metric defines not just the number, but also the usability of images uploaded via mobile app, and will be measured via a GLAMorous query. (Currently: 23599)
  • >70,000 new images uploaded to Commons via the app throughout the grant duration, while maintaining a deletion rate of <10%. Both of these numbers will be measured via analysis of data from the Commons app stats tool at the end of the grant. (Number of images uploaded to Commons using our app during the last IEG grant: 57,446)
  • A total of >2000 places that need photos will have photos added to them via the app. This will be measured at the end of the grant by querying the number of unique P18 edits made in Wikidata by our app (an edit is made automatically to the corresponding Wikidata entity whenever anyone uploads an image via the Nearby feature). (Total number of unique P18 edits as of 11 Feb 2020: 1398)
  • [Optional: Depends on WLM integration being completed before Sep 2020 so that we can measure this during the grant period] A total of >100 submissions made to Wiki Loves Monuments via our app - this will be measured at the end of WLM.

Project plan




Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing? What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?

What will you and other organizers spend your time doing?


We will be spending our time on:

  • Design and development of the planned features
  • Testing - both manual testing and writing of unit tests
  • Publishing releases on Google Play Store/F-Droid
  • Communicating with users on a regular basis to obtain feedback and bug reports
  • Fixing any issues with releases
  • Supporting and fostering volunteer code contributors
  • Outreach and socializing project

What will you have done at the end of your project?

Stability and code quality improvements

We intend to continue supporting and polishing the Android app by:

  • Further decreasing the rate of app crashes experienced by users
  • Actively working on all bugs reported and reducing open bug issues
  • Increasing code coverage by writing tests, so that in the future there will be early warning of issues with new code
New features to increase diversity and encourage more people to upload (usable) photos to Commons
Achievements feature in Android app
Current Nearby map - green pins are Wikidata items that have p18 images

For this goal, we draw from findings in the study “Sharing small pieces of the world: Increasing and broadening participation in Wikimedia Commons" by A. Menking et al. (Full disclosure: I (Josephine) was emailed by the authors early in the study, but only to provide technical details - I had no influence in the design of their study or the results obtained). The authors ran a survey about a hypothetical mobile game for uploading to Commons called "Scavenger Hunt". Some of their notable findings were:

"Considering our quantitative and qualitative data in tandem, we suggest a game-based approach to facilitating contributions in Commons may provide a novel means of increasing participation as well as broadening the demographics of those contributors. Wikipedia [37] has reported 53% of contributors are less than 30 years old and only 16% identify as women. Similarly, Viégas [29] reported the respondents to her survey about the demographics of Commons contributors were on average aged 33.6 and were 100% male (N=29). Conversely, 77% of our participants were under 31 years old, 50.5% self-identified as women, and fully 74% of respondents indicated they would be interested in contributing to a system like Commons after being exposed to Scavenger Hunt."

"First, the two most common codes identified in our data across all respondents were the “desire for social and/or community interactions” and the “desire to make impact and/or contribute” (e.g., be useful). Characteristics common among observations coded thusly included the desire to be a part of either a local or a virtual community, to have a tangible connection between one’s own efforts and another’s needs, and to be responsible—either solely or in part—for the making of something meaningful."

While creating a whole new mobile game would be beyond the scope of this grant, these findings have inspired us to head further in the "light gamification" direction with the existing Android app.

  • Allow users to view other users' profiles (achievements) (#3389). We already have an Achievements page in the app, where the user can view their own upload statistics (pictures uploaded, deletion %, images used in articles, etc). We now plan to allow users to view other people's achievement/profile pages, for instance when they are browsing pictures in Explore and tap on an author's name, or when they tap a name in the Leaderboard feature (that is planned for this year's GSoC/Outreachy). They would also be able to view a gallery of that user's uploads. This could later be further gamified with profile badges, or other forms of profile enhancements.
  • Display existing photos on map of "nearby places that need photos" (#28). We currently already retrieve all geolocated Wikidata items and display them on the Nearby map - users can choose to toggle items that already have p18 images on or off, but even if toggled on they are only displayed as pins, and in order to view the actual image, the user must investigate further. With this feature, users who choose to toggle it on can view these items as small thumbnails instead of just pins. This feature will be disabled if the user chooses to enable "limited connection mode" (a feature that we are implementing very soon as part of our current grant), so as not to waste bandwidth. After a user makes a direct upload through Nearby, they will then be able to see their own photo as one of these thumbnails, in the spot that they uploaded to.
New feature for power users
  • More powerful pin filtering of "nearby places that need photos" map via allowing users to modify SPARQL query (#3410). There is a limit to the number and type of user-interface filters that we can offer in the Nearby map - if we offer too many, it will be difficult for newer users to adjust or to find what they need. On the other hand, power users may have specific requirements that are not covered by the filters we already offer. This feature was requested by power users who would like more control over customization of their Nearby map, and are familiar with SPARQL.
Wiki Loves Monuments integration (added after 10 May 2020)

At the moment, we already display news of active campaigns in the main screen of our app, but the app does not have any real integration with campaigns otherwise. We now intend to integrate support for Wiki Loves Monuments into our app - if this succeeds, we can iterate on it in the future by integrating support for other campaigns as well.

Our work on this will proceed in two phases:

Phase 1: Analysis, planning, and feedback

  • We are aware of the 2012 legacy WLM mobile application (built for PhoneGap) that was developed by WMF and did not take off. We intend to analyze this app, figure out what we want to take from it and what we want to omit. We already have much of the infrastructure mentioned in their ToDo/wireframes (e.g. the login/authentication process, the image upload process, the map), so the development of the feature for us should be much more cost-effective than it was for them. We also plan on referring to the current Monumental web app for examples of current API usage.
  • Based on the results of this analysis, we will develop a more detailed technical plan for implementation, along with mockups for how it should look. User:Multichill (one of the previous organizers of WLM) has volunteered to provide feedback on our plans, and we will also send them to any other WLM organizers who are interested in participating.

Phase 2: Implementation

  • After we have received this feedback, we will make any requested changes and then proceed to implementing it in our app.
  • Based on discussion with Multichill, this is the rough plan of what we plan to do (pending results of Phase 1):
  • In our "Nearby places that need photos" map, when WLM is active, we would have a special indicator for map items that are in scope for the campaign, and users should be able to filter solely for these items too. We already have a filters system in place, so that would provide the foundation for this.
  • If a user uploads a photo to that item, the data fields will be prefilled appropriately, and the upload will be tagged as part of the WLM campaign
Outreach and publicity

These tasks will be undertaken at the end of the grant to increase public interest and awareness of the app.

  • Organize a “Nearby places that need photos” walk (#3388). An event like this might sound more fun and attractive to new contributors than an official "workshop" on contributing to Commons. It would be an outdoor exercise where a leader would guide participants on a walk through the city, point out interesting landmarks, and show them how to take photos of places on Nearby and upload them. We will not need additional resources for this other than time, as it can be advertised online, there is no need to pay for a venue, and a grantee (or volunteers if anyone wants to) can hold it locally. (Note: This will be held at the end of the 12-month grant, tentatively May 2021)
  • Organize a competition for Nearby contributions (#2428). We plan to experiment with organizing a virtual competition for Nearby contributions, and iterate/improve on it in the future if successful. For instance, the winner could be the person who has the most valid (non-reverted) p18 edits from the Commons app on a particular week. Rewards would be non-financial - perhaps barnstars or other types of profile enhancements and a mention in our website/blog.
  • Write blog posts for the Wikimedia blog, if approved by the blog team.
  • Contact blogs and tech-related online magazines to ask if they would be interested in writing about the app. We tried this once a long time ago, in my very first IEG in 2017, and failed - the authors/editors were not interested. The main reason, as I noted in my final report, was that the effort was premature - we were barely known in the Wikimedia community at that time, so it made a lot more sense to focus our effort on promoting awareness of the app within the communities instead of trying to engage the general public. We have focused more on community efforts ever since. But now the community is (for the most part) aware of us, the app looks a lot better and has a lot of new features. I believe it is time for us to try again.

COVID-19 planning


As per the email received from the Project Grants team, we would like to confirm these items:

  • Offline events are only a minor focus of our proposal, and the only task affected would be "Organize a 'Nearby places that need photos' walk". This task is only a very small part of our project; the vast majority of the project revolves around the development of the Commons app, which can be done completely online.
  • We can complete the core components of our proposed work plan without offline events or travel.
  • We are able to postpone the "Organize a 'Nearby places that need photos' walk" task until the Wikimedia Foundation’s guidelines allows for it, without significant harm to the goals of our project.
  • If travel and offline events prove unfeasible throughout the entire life of our project, we can cancel the walk and put the time that we would have spent on organizing it, into further polishing the app and/or additional online publicity measures.

Community engagement


How will you let others in your community know about your project? Why are you targeting a specific audience? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve at various points during your project? Community input and participation helps make projects successful.

Throughout the grant, we will continue our usual user feedback cycle, and will engage with users and volunteer contributors on an ongoing basis through these media:

  • GitHub - Our source code is publicly available on GitHub, and anyone is welcomed to fork and contribute to our repository - the Android repo currently has 556 stars and 768 forks. Also, most of our new features/improvements and details of their implementation are discussed publicly on GitHub.
  • Mailing lists and village pump - After major releases, I will usually post on the wikitech-l, mobile-l, and commons-l mailing lists, as well as on the Commons village pump.
  • On-wiki discussion page - We engage regularly with users who have questions or problems with the app in our on-wiki discussion page.
  • Google groups forum - We have a "feedback" option in-app that sends an email to our Google group forum, this is the most convenient options for new and casual users to contact us.
  • Social media - We have a Facebook page which is regularly updated.
  • Hangouts - Volunteers receive news about beta releases and help with getting started in our Hangouts group, an invite can be requested here.
  • Blog - Screenshots and details of major releases are posted here.
  • Mentorship - We mentored GSoC/Outreachy students for 2018 and 2019, and plans are ongoing to mentor another student this year. Our 2018 and 2019 students have remained fairly active in the community, with two of them mentoring GCI this year.



How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. (You can create a table later if needed.) Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!

Budget is for 12 months, to pay grantee salaries.

Grantee Role Job description Commitment Person-weeks Rates Cost
  • Project & product manager
  • Android developer
  • Responsible for the entire project, product quality, and meeting grant reporting requirements
  • Managing app releases, communicating with users, integrating user feedback into the app
  • Organizing & coordinating app development and publicity initiatives
  • Android development
25 hrs/week 46 weeks 30 USD/hr 34,500 USD
  • Android developer
  • Android repository maintainer
  • Android development
  • Managing Android code repository - testing and reviewing pull requests, organizing issues, supporting volunteer contributors
15 hrs/week 50 weeks 20 USD/hr 15,000 USD
  • Android developer
  • Android development
12 hrs/week 50 weeks 20 USD/hr 12,000 USD
Total 61,500 USD

Get involved




Please use this section to tell us more about who is working on this project. For each member of the team, please describe any project-related skills, experience, or other background you have that might help contribute to making this idea a success.


  • Josephine Lim - project lead (User: Misaochan, GitHub: misaochan). I have been the project lead/maintainer of the Commons app since September 2016, and have worked on the app as an Android developer since October 2015 (when it had 20 active users!).
  • Neslihan Turan (User: Flanoz, GitHub: neslihanturan). Neslihan has been with our team as an Android developer and repository maintainer since 2017. She has participated in several hackathons representing our app, and was a GSoC mentor for our app.
  • Ashish Kumar (User: Ashishkumar468, GitHub: ashishkumar468). Ashish has been with our team as an Android developer since 2018, and was a GSoC mentor for our app last year.


  • Nicolas Raoul (User: Syced, GitHub: nicolas-raoul). Nicolas has been a Wikimedia contributor since 2005 and was the previous project maintainer of the Commons app.
  • Vojtěch Dostál (User: Vojtěch_Dostál). Vojtěch is a member of the board of Wikimedia Czech Republic, a Wikidata enthusiast, and an avid user of the Commons app.
  • Stéphane Coillet-Matillon (User: The other Kiwix guy). Stéphane is the CEO of Kiwix and a regular user of the Commons app.
  • Dmitry Brant (User: DBrant_(WMF) , GitHub: dbrant). Dmitry is a software engineer on the Wikipedia Android app team and a collaborator of the Commons app.
  • Note: We want to thank Carolyn Li-Madeo from the WMF iOS team for volunteering as our iOS advisor prior to us removing the iOS component. We hope to be able to work with her again in the future.



Sign up here if you like :)

  • Volunteer Android developer and repository maintainer Domdomegg (talk) 20:12, 18 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Volunteer I have been part of the Wikimedia Commons app team for the past 3 years. Would love to continue contributing to the project as a volunteer. Maskaravivek (talk) 09:30, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Volunteer I would love to help the app in all the ways I am capable of. Some ways that come to the top of my head:
  1. Noting and reporting any bugs
  2. Providing feedback about design ideas, changes
  3. etc.
-- Kaartic correct me, if i'm wrong 19:05, 26 February 2020 (UTC)

Community notification


You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a Village Pump, talk page, mailing list, etc.--> Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?



Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).

  • As always, this is an excellent proposal by Josephine and her team and should be selected for funding. A growing number of app users is the best evidence of their success. "When will you make it for iOS" is really the most frequent question the team is getting. Vojtěch Dostál (talk) 19:18, 18 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Would love to see the Commons mobile apps improve! Domdomegg (talk) 20:11, 18 February 2020 (UTC)
  • It should be noted that besides working on grant tasks, Josephine and her team have always also taken responsibility for fixing legacy bugs, adapting the app to server-side changes, and helped WMF with mentoring (Google Code-in, Google Summer of Code, Outreachy), welcomed new volunteers, answered questions on the forum and Google Play, for free. Syced (talk) 06:45, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Will be nice to see Commons Apps come to iOS RhinosF1 (talk) 14:46, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
  • I am excited to see this proposal! As an iPhone user, I would use a Commons app every day to take photo of buildings, nature, and landmarks. Right now, I take photos on my phone, email them to myself, download them to my desktop, and upload them to Commons. With an app, I think this process would be so much faster, that I would upload many more photos. -- Cloud atlas (talk) 15:20, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
  • I highly endorse this project. I am an iPhone user myself and as a long-time Wikipedian have missed an app like this for years. Neitram (talk) 15:39, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
  • I am starving to wait for iOS app coming. In Japan, there are a lot of Wikipedia Town events, which consists of photowalk and editathon. iOS commons app is useful for participants to upload photos to be included in subject article(s) of editathon part. And the market share of iPhone among smartphones is significant (nearly 60%) in Japan. That's why I am awaiting iOS app to come. --Takot (talk) 15:42, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
  • iOS app! I highly endorse this! iPhone users are wikipedians too. --Frettie (talk) 19:17, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Would be perfect! The best camera is the one you have with you. And the iPhone can nearly keep up with my canon in some situations... Indeedous (talk) 20:59, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Support Support This is a very welcome proposal! The absence of a commons app for iOS has really been a big hindrance to contribution. I'm glad it's finally on the table :).--Jamie Tubers (talk) 16:11, 23 February 2020 (UTC)
  • So excited to see this proposal! After seeing how the Android version of the Commons app has significantly added value to the Wikimedia Commons project, I can only imagine what the iOS version will bring. Also, having worked with/observed all the three grant writers more closely as they have mentored several times in the Wikimedia outreach programs and Hackathons, I am positive that they will bring this project to fruition. SSethi (WMF) (talk) 01:21, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Excited for the iOS app. Maskaravivek (talk) 09:31, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
  • It is a great app supporting documentation of the world around us using Wikidata. Czeva (talk) 16:51, 26 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support I totally support this proposal. I strongly believe the iOS would be a great thing to achieve during this proposal period. Personally, I'm a huge admirer of the quality of the images taken using the iPhone's camera and I could only imagine how the introduction of the iOS app would help the users to easily upload their wonderful images to Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. I would love to see the impact that the iOS app is going to have.
Also, I would love to see all the features planned for the iOS app implemented within the grant period. I hope that should be possible given a person who has the appropriate iOS development experience. Kaartic correct me, if i'm wrong 17:52, 26 February 2020 (UTC)
  • I have had a great experience using the Commons Android app and would be thrilled to see a similar iOS app. I take most of photos using my cellphone's camera and the ability up upload directly from my phone to Wikimedia Commons has resulted in me contributing more. The development team is incredibly hardworking, welcoming, and fosters a good community. Mds08011 (talk) 22:49, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
  • An iOS app is very exciting, and will reach a whole new audience. As an Android user myself, I'm also glad to see the commitment to further support and development of the Android app. The plans for the grant look very well thought out, and with clear metrics for success. the wub "?!" 23:24, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Support Support, this open source project is run well, by trusted Wikimedians. Not a user of the app myself but porting it sounds pretty sensible. − Pintoch (talk) 13:25, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Support Support Anthere (talk)
  • Support Support --Anonymous Apple Addict (talk to AAA) 13:04, 13 March 2020 (UTC)
  • This will greatly improve workflow for Commons contributors using iOS devices, and should lead to more content and new contributors. Lack of this app has restricted our outreach activities related to photo shoots Pru.mitchell (talk) 00:58, 15 March 2020 (UTC)
  • I'm excited to see that the focus has been shifted to include a workflow for campaigns like Wiki Loves Monuments - this has been a long-requested solution by our participants. I hope that the grantees will manage to reach out effectively and early on (asap: don't wait) to national organizers. The WLM international team is happy to help facilitate a conversation on what workflow would be most effective and most likely to get the tool adopted as official recommendation by national organizers. Designing this workflow correctly will be both particularly challenging, and rewarding, given the specific parameters for these campaigns: more data available than average, but also high proportions of new contributors. Effeietsanders (talk) 06:53, 24 May 2020 (UTC)