Maps/Markup Language

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Some thoughts about a possible markup language for Tomasz's Maps[edit]

Some basic requirements:

  1. Easy to use
  2. similar to Wikipedia's available markup
  3. flexible to render different maps

The best solution seems to use TeX-formula-like syntax:

Maps could then be included as <map>options</map>.

The alternative of image-like [[Map:options]] isn't very practical.


When creating a map, three kinds of parameters have to be given

  1. which area the map should contain
  2. how the map has to look like (political, topological, satellite image, ...)
  3. which objects to show (cities, borders, rivers, ...)


Longitude and Latitude are the usual ways to specify coordinates on earth.

longitude of the center of the map
latitude of the center of the map
the width of the map in degrees (kilometers are quite ambiguous as the Earth isn't a cylinder).
the height of the map in degrees.

Most often nevertheless, an article's author doesn't know the coordinates of the area he wants to have a map of. He probably writes about a country or the area an animal lives in.

A comma-separated list of contintents to show. North and South America are treated as two continents.
A comma-separated list of the countries to show.
A comma-separated list of regions to show (where region is considered to be the next sub-country entity, like US states, Polish voivodships or German Bundesländer)
a comma-separated list of seas to show (e.g. Baltic sea, North sea)

All these can be given in parallel, resulting in a map showing all the specified places. Should cities be an option, too? They are somewhat ambiguous.


Show countries as coloured polygons, the sea is light blue.
Use Blue Marble satellite images to generate the map.
Generates a topograhical map.
Draw borders. Can be used together with the above to add country information.
Draw borders of sub-country enitities, too. The number specifies how many levels to show. 0=countries, 1=first level, etc.
Add rivers to the map. Can be combined with the above.
Add capitals to the map. Can be combined with the above.
Add major cities to the map. Can be combined with the above.
A comma-separated list of cities to include. Can be combined with the above. Can be given several times.

For displaying historical data (mostly borders, but also city data), we could also include add some time markup. But we don't have historical data (except 1988 country borders). See also: spacetime_DTD


  cities=Berlin,Dresden,Frankfurt Main,Bonn

Problems with this syntax[edit]

The biggest UI problem I see now is that there are many cities with the same name, and our data doesn't distinguish which one is the important one. For example there's more than one Łódź in Poland, more than one Poznań, more than one Kraków, and more than one Olsztyn (unlike other pairs, the other Olsztyn isn't one-cow village). Taw 15:22, 30 Aug 2003 (UTC)

What can be edited online[edit]

Which raises an interesting question, what will the format of the political border be in Wikipedia? It will have to be something relatively easy to modify, because borders can change. -- Gutza 10:56, 17 Aug 2003 (UTC)

There's absolutely no hope of having that border data modifiable from Wiki textbox. Technically can't happen. But we could have coordinates and names modifiable that way. Taw 11:46, 17 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I assume the default names of the geographical locations (cities, countries, continents, and so on) will be in english (or the local language). But, ¿will be possible to modify them as, for example, the MediWiki messages to show appropiate names in each language? The table could be infinite so I think is better to specify both, coordinates and names for specifical localtions to show in the map, avoiding ambiguous names and translating them to the apropiate language, maybe:
In many cases the information is in the article about the city, is possible to extract these information from it linking only the appropiate article? Why we need a new table to extract the coordenates of the different locations if these information is in wikipedia? Willy 16:13, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Especific locations - Highlights[edit]

If the program generates automaticaly national (and sub-national) boundaries, ¿shoul be possible to highlight with a different color especific sub-areas of the map givin any location (coordenates) of one internal point of the areas we want to highlight? These would be useful not only for countries, estates or provinces tables but to show other interesting regions like, Hispanoamérica, UE, OTAN, Euskal-Herria, ... an so on whose limits are not predefined (as continents or countries because there are no, in fact, political boundaries as the first's are) indicating one internal point for each country or region we want, for example:

Willy 16:13, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)