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Proposal Description: Wikimap is a proposed Wikimedia project that combines the geographic model of OpenStreetMap with the semantic data model of Wikidata.

Status: Draft/researching

Author: Lectrician1 (talk · contribs)


  • Why do we need to replace OSM?
    • OSM's data model uses "tags" which are very limited in relationality/usability and ill-defined compared to their semantic Wikidata property/item counterparts which are also SPARQL-compatible.
  • Why can't we just fix OSM?
    • OSM can't be fixed. The current ten-plus-year-old API v0.6 will likely never be upgraded due to the lack of leadership in pushing for monetary funding expansion for project software development (In my opinion. Others in the community think that we should limit spending as much as possible and keep OSM in it's current extremely limited state). OSM is currently 98% a do-ocracy with only 1 paid developer (new sysadmin being hired currently though). Various other highly/important-requested changes like implementing vector tiles for the main website have also suffered from this roadblock. If you want to see a lot of the major problems OSM faces, I'd recommend reading the API v0.7 idea page and this inspiring blog post (sorry if the blog site is down).
  • Why Wikidata + OSM?
    • As a invested Wikidata and OSM contributor myself, I see so many data parallels/duplicates of work between both databases. The freaking OSM editor iD copies data from Wikidata and then inversely, Wikidata references OSM. Literally both of them and their communities are doing duplicate work. Yes, this is meant to be a "linked database connection", but clearly, because they are not synced 100% of the time (changes to OSM data that could be used in Wikidata are not immediately reflected in Wikidata and vice-versa), and there is a clear "better structured database (Wikidata), there are mass inefficiencies in the entire system and the best solution would be to combine and consolidated the two of them.
  • Why is this a potential Wikimedia Foundation project?
    • As I noted in the answer to "Why can't we just fix OSM?", there are clearly little to zero opportunities of fixing OSM due to its community's lack of leadership and track of stubborness. On the other hand, we have the Wikimedia Foundation: one of the largest and most successful digital open data nonprofits ever to exist. This can be a Wikimedia project because it primarily builds-upon/links-directly with Wikidata/Wikibase and follows the Wikimedia mission of having an open and freely-editable resource.
  • Why now?
    • I'm telling you. The OSM and Wikidata communities are bound to collide and have to address this issue at some point. I consistently see Wikidata question discussion on OSM mailing lists and just this year, the Wikidata community is asking for better ways to edit Wikidata in a map. The problems with the current data system of OSM, how Wikidata and OSM should be linked, how OSMers and Wikidatians can contribute each other's platforms, etc. are all approaching. I hope this proposal can offer a solution.


Current open(ish) geographic databases[edit]


Geospatial Semantic Web Projects[edit]


  • New types of Wikidata entities for geospatial representations based on the requirements of Semantic data model outlined by GeoSPARQL that relies on Simple Features, etc.
  • 3D coordinates (not limited to 2D like OSM)
  • Convert/remove/replace (idk) data between OSM and Wikimap. Not sure how this is going to work license-wise though since OSM is ODbL and Wikidata is CC0.
  • Separate **combined** viewer/editor for Wikimap than Wikidata (comparable to OSM website today). Editing interface will be similar to standard Wikibase viewer, but could be tuned for mapping functions. Data for every geographic entity should still be accessible in Wikidata.
  • Combinations of entities, or OSM Relations, will be standard Q items in Wikidata. The exact organization between how geographic entities are arranged in these items in accordance to the item is yet to be determined. For example, how do establish a link between the Wikimap geographic area entity of a building and it's Wikidata item counterpart? Do you use a Wikidata property?

Diagrams & views[edit]

Coming soon

  • OSM to Wikidata diagram
  • Wikimap data structure diagram
  • Wikimap website interface
  • Wikidata connection to Wikimap on Wikidata interface

External discussions[edit]

Contribute to this idea[edit]

Please feel free to contribute to this idea by editing this page itself or discussing on the Talk page.