WMDE Technical Wishes/Geoinformation/Ideas

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Technical Wishes Geoinfo Logo.svg

The focus area "Better support for geoinformation" was the "Technical wishes 2020" survey winner on German Wikipedia. This means the Technical Wishes Team will spend two years on this topic and tackle various problems in it. As a first step for this, the research collecting problems and needs is currently running. Therefore, everyone is invited to collect, structure, develop and discuss problems, wishes and ideas here (as well as on the corresponding German page).


Information icon4.svg
For a better discussion you will find here a rough introduction, including definitions of terms

Many encyclopedic topics have a geographical reference. This can be presented in various ways in articles and on other pages including images and Wikidata objects.

Geocoordinates locate the topic and are displayed on the page. They are either supplied in the source code using templates or obtained from Wikidata. The coordinates traditionally link to a page called Geohack (example: Coordinates: 48.8567°, 2.3508°). If an article has a coordinate that is marked accordingly, it appears at the top right or left of the article's header. Next to it, most Wikipedias show one or two icons (Openstreetmap logo.svg, WMA button2b.png), which enable an interactive map. On these maps you can see partly the outlines of the lemma (Geoshapes) and markers for other items (Geopoints/POIs).

WMDE Technical Wishes/Geoinformation/Ideas is located in European Union

Currently, maps in articles are mostly embedded as images. Location maps are often created by templates as an image with a dot overlaid. For the past few years, most Wikis have the possibility to directly embed maps into articles using an extension called kartographer, which allows interactive viewing after a click. These maps can also be tagged with numerous markers. (examples, English Wikipedia)

The actual map material comes from various freely licensed or copyright-free sources, most notably OpenStreetMap. Tiles are the image files of the maps that are generated from OpenStreetMap. A tile-Server is accordingly a service, which generates the maps from the database of OpenStreetMap and serves them. There is a designated tile server for the Wikimedia projects.

Problems & Needs[edit]

Please create a separate section whenever suitable, so that it can be discussed well. Following the motto "It's a Wiki", everyone is invited to add problems and feature requests and to improve existing suggestions. For longer or more fundamental discussions, the discussion page is available.

More map label localization improvements[edit]

What is the problem?
Labels on maps are written in a mix of languages. It would be much better to show them in the language of the wiki or to let the article editors control in which language they appear.
Why is this important?
  • As an example look at the article about Beijing in the Basque Wikipedia: w:eu:Pekin. It uses the map from Kartographer. As I'm looking at it now, I see all the labels in Chinese. Most people who read Basque cannot read Chinese, so this map is not so useful. It would be perfect if the labels appeared in Basque, or in a more useful fallback language, such as Spanish, French, or Latin. If you look at the same map in English or German, it will probably appear with labels in a Latin alphabet, but from Basque you don't see it.
  • Another similar example is the article about Chehriq in the Hebrew Wikipedia: w:he:צ'הריק. It has a Kartographer mapframe, and the labels are displayed in a mix of languages: Hebrew, Persian, Azerbaijani, and Turkish. Ideally, it should all be Hebrew. If there are no labels in any other language in OSM for the places whose label currently appears in Persian, a Wikipedia editor should have an easy way to contribute these labels (in any language—Hebrew, German, English, etc.).

I call this idea "More map label localization improvements" because the display of localized labels was already improved in 2018 by the WMF Community tech team. That was a great step forward, but evidently it needs some more fixes.

Possible solutions (optional)
Getting OSM data federated with Wikidata or contributing label translations directly to OSM are probably the best options. I would be happy to contribute to it myself; for example, I translate labels in Wikidata quite a lot. But as a Wikipedia editor, I don't know how exactly can I contribute map labels most efficiently. I couldn't find documentation on doing it. It should be accessible as directly as possible from the page with the mapframe.
(I, Amir E. Aharoni, wrote the first version of this idea, but I'm really not an expert on embedding maps in wiki pages. I permit any people who understand maps better than I do to edit this idea and improve it.) --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 12:15, 19 December 2020 (UTC)
Other comments & discussion
  • At some point I had the idea of importing Romanian Wikidata labels to OSM name:ro tags for features with a wikidata, wikipedia or wikipedia:xx tag, but the global bot approvals are tedious in OSM, so I gave up. Another alternative is to do the edits after we import the OSM data (kind of like a patch applied to OSM data). This would keep the labels up to date with Wikidata without drowning OSM, but I have no idea how long would each run take - I expect hours, if not days for a full run, but we could probably do it on the fly somehow.--Strainu (talk) 01:33, 25 December 2020 (UTC)

Make groups play nice with the Visual Editor[edit]

What is the problem?
Defining the data source for a mapframe somewhere else in the page is disabled on Wikipedia per VE team request. I don't recall the exact argument, the bottom line is that it was a hard problem to solve with the infrastructure we had at the time.
Why is this important?
  • Building maps for list articles without duplicating data helps maintain such lists (e.g. the map at the end of this section: ro:Lista_celor_mai_înalte_clădiri_din_România#Finalizate_(cel_puțin_60_m))
  • Aggregating data from several templates (this can be done by combining external data sources but if we want to reuse that template in other articles we need to duplicate the data source)
Possible solutions (optional)
  • take a look at what changes occurred in VE since maps were introduces, maybe we're lucky and most of the hard work has already been done--Strainu (talk) 01:33, 25 December 2020 (UTC)
Other comments & discussion

Wiki-defined editor-friendly colored world maps[edit]

Difficult-to-maintain map
What is the problem?
Maintaining a map of colored countries is hard. See the two maps here, they are needlessly different in style, and switching a country's color is very hard (requires Inkscape or equivalent software). Current state-of-the-art wikicode-defined maps (example) are even more difficult to edit.
Why is this important?
  • Wiki is about fast edition. The less immediate edition is, the more outdated such maps will be.
  • Editing should not be restricted to graphic designers.
  • Consistent maps are more reader-friendly.
Possible solutions (optional)
  • Wiki template such as {{world-map | green=Free | yellow=Partly free | red=Not free | grey=No data | albania=yellow | algeria=red | [...]}}
Other comments & discussion
  • If that actually exists already, then what is blocking its adoption? For instance does it behave nicely on mobile, is it printable, etc? Country-level would be great too, for instance for election results.

Community wishlist ideas[edit]

--Strainu (talk) 08:22, 25 December 2020 (UTC)

External maps menu[edit]

What is the problem?
External maps menu of Kartographer is not as useful as it could be becouse of lack of links to local maps.
Why is this important?
  • Local map sources provide better information than global maps
  • It would help communities to accept the dissapearance of GeoHack in Kartographer
Possible solutions (optional)
  • Allow community members to define local map links, see bug links for specific ideas.
Other comments & discussion

Display results of a SPARQL query on a map in Wikipedia[edit]

The aim of this proposal is to embed such map from query.wikidata.org in Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, etc.
What is the problem?
On query.wikidata.org, you can easily display the result of a SPARQL query on a dynamic map (see the Venues in Broadway for example). But if you want to add this map to Wikipedia or any other Wikimedia project, you can't (except if you take a screenshot..).
Why is this important?
  • Taking a screenshot of the results has many inconveniences:
    • Not zoomable
    • Not updated with new results
    • Quality related to screen size and resolution
    • Details cannot be obtained by clicking or hovering over the points
    • etc.
  • Wikidata contains millions of geolocated items that could be used for illustrating articles in WP
Other comments & discussion

UX of Mobile App[edit]

The mobile app experience when tapping a coordinate link is terrible experience. **every** time you click one, it takes you out of the app, to your browser, and **every** time, you have to choose from hundreds of options! Why can’t I set my preferred map option ONCE in the mobile app?

🗺 🗺 🗺 ➡➡ To add a new idea, please copy this template: ⬅⬅ 🗺 🗺 🗺[edit]

Name of the problem[edit]

What is the problem?
Problem description.
Why is this important?
  • Argument 1
  • Argument 2
Possible solutions (optional)
Other comments & discussion


To get a better picture of the problems and ways of working with geoinformation, we are looking to interview a wide range of users, from experts on geoinformation to those who only sometimes interact with it but find it confusing. If you are interested, please add your name to the following list and tell us what you are interested in or how you work with geoinformation. Depending on the direction of the project, we will reach out to users on their talk page.

  • You? (Interested in ...; Main wikis: …; Experience with the topic: …)