From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
This page is inactive and have been supersed by the page OpenStreetMap and its collaboration project.

At the moment, the Wikipedia has many gazeteer-style entries (about 30,000 at the most recent count). Perhaps these belong in a Wiki-style gazetteer?

This is a proposal for "Wikiteer", from Wiki + Gazetteer to go with the Wikipedia and Wiktionary names.

What should the Wikiteer contain?[edit]

  1. information about places (not just populated places, but malls, churches, schools, streets, fire hydrants, etc.)
  2. Wikipedia-style articles about many of these places (example)
  3. Auto-generated navigational pages (example)

These can be enhanced with machine-readable links for:

  • latitude-longitude, national coordinate system, and other location systems
  • postal codes, FIPS place codes etc
  • automatically-generated maps, based on the information in the database

Examples of geocoding formats might be:

and so on...

The Wikiteer would be ideal for auto-generated articles, and there are a number of U.S. Government public domain databases that could be used to do the seeding.


Free GIS data is almost exclusively public domain. None exists as GFDL. It would be most useful if all of Wikiteer, including data and generated maps, was released into the public domain. This would allow the greatest reuse, and is unlikely to have a significant negative impact on the amount of free data that can be collected.


Queries to Wikiteer should be able to generate maps. This information derived from Maps/Markup Language, but it takes a different point of view. Specifically, this assumes that maps will be created on Wikiteer and then imported as images into other projects. This might be done using an automated tool, but the metadata wouldn't be contained in the article itself (it might be in the image description page, but this is optional). See also the first useful map.


A map must have a size in pixels wide and pixels high. This is separate from the area of the map, below.


A map must have boundaries. This can be specified via latitude/longitude or can be dynamically calculated by naming the geographic entities to be included.


One consideration is the map projection. By default the software should select a sane map projection. For small areas this is not of concern, but when mapping a large geographic entity (like Africa) a projection has to be chosen. The Dymaxion projection is of interest and should be supported, as well as the popular Mercator projection.

Entities to include[edit]

Another aspect of appearance is which entities to include. In addition to a manual list, queries should be able to be made and passed to this field. Thus, we could specify "Georgia, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, Tampa", or we could specify "states, gulfs, cities", or we could specify "states, gulfs, cities with at least 1 million inhabitants".

Background images, such as a satellite image (see BlueMarble), can also be included. Visible borders for polygon data should be optionally available. There should be an ability to turn these borders on or off for an entire layer (all continents) or for a specific subset (just Africa). Colors should optionally be specified, although defaults should be available.

Optionally, a scale should be added.


Labels should be available. Eventually there needs to be a selection of automated and manual schemes to handle labels. This is quite difficult to do algorithmically. See Map_generator for more on this. Also optionally, there should be a way to specify shortened labels (possibly numbers), which would additionally output a list of shortened labels and the full label. This could also be done by color coding.

Generated image maps would be a great addition to this.


Geographic entities[edit]

Wikiteer should have the ability to store points, lines, and polygons.

  • Continents
    • Africa
    • Antarctica
    • Australia (not including the Pacific Islands)
    • Eurasia (from a geographical standpoint it is too difficult to separate Europe and Asia)
    • North America
    • South America
    • Oceania (not a continent, but a continent-equivalent entity consisting of the Pacific Islands)
    • This partition should cover all land on earth as well as all water features not considered part of the oceans (lakes, rivers, etc.).
  • Oceans
    • Arctic Ocean
    • Atlantic Ocean
    • Indian Ocean
    • Pacific Ocean
    • Southern Ocean? (it is unclear what scientific benefit is derived from separating the Southern Ocean from the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. it might be a better solution to leave out the Southern Ocean, a la Eurasia. a survey of the available public domain data should be taken to determine the easier route, barring a scientific argument either way)
    • All locations on earth should fall under a continent or ocean.
  • custom entities
  • etc.

Map projections[edit]



quite extensive gazeteer. Good model for basic data structure? --PaulY 11:14, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

See also[edit]