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There has been rapid progress on the subject of adding OpenStreetMap maps to Wikimedia projects (e.g. Wikipedia) during the MediaWiki Developer Meet-Up[1] taking place right now in Berlin.

We now have a clear plan of action for getting OpenStreetMap maps embedded in Wikimedia wiki pages soon:

  • Wikimedia will set up a database to mirror the OSM data (Planet.osm)
  • Wikimedia will set up its own rendering infrastructure for rendering tiles & other maps from the OSM data
  • The existing MediaWiki extensions for displaying OSM data in a MediaWiki article will be improved to work acceptably in production on Wikimedia servers

To prototype all this we'll be using new infrastructure provided by Wikimedia Deutschland[2]. Once things have been tested there they'll eventually be deployed on the main Wikimedia sites.

After discussion with the Wikimedia operations people (including Brion Vibber, Mark Bergsma et al) there seem to be no objections to the above plan as long as:

  • The maps will work not only for JavaScript enabled browsers but also non-JavaScript enabled ones
  • The tools involved are improved to be relatively stable & deployable on Wikimedia, e.g. being able to embed more than one slippy map, the internationalization of error messages etc.
  • The end product (the generated tiles or map files) are cachable so that they can be thrown at the frontend squids, as they're static images this should be easy.

The featureset that we're aiming for to be able to deploy this on Wikimedia sites from the view of the user (more can be added later once we've got it working) is:

  • The ability to embed OSM maps in articles with something like the Simple image extension[3], perhaps automagically turning into a Slippy Map if the browser supports it
  • A static or slippy map that can be used by geotagged articles[4] so we can have maps without explicit inclusion of a <map> tag.

We'll also set up a map toolserver for experimenting with other uses of OpenStreetMap data on Wikimedia. People with relevant projects can get access to this toolserver to try out their ideas for tools that could eventually be integrated on the main Wikimedia sites.

This project is seeking help from anyone who's interested who'd like to be a part of making this happen, if you want to be a part of adding free maps to the world's largest encyclopedia please subscribe to this mailing list:


And/or read/edit/comment on the relevant wiki coordination pages:

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/OpenStreetMap http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Collaboration_with_Wikipedia

1. http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Project:Developer_meet-up_2009
2. http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/OpenStreetMap#.E2.80.9CMap_Toolserver.E2.80.9D
3. http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Simple_image_MediaWiki_Extension
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Coord