Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Wikipedia's Languages Mapped

Terra Incognita is a map based visualization tool for exploring the geography of Wikipedia in different languages. It provides a great way to research Wikipedia's global coverage in different languages.

Terra Incognita was created to reveal the biases and unevenness in Wikipedia's coverage in different languages. If you select a country on the map and a number of different languages the map provides a clear visualization of the coverage that can be found in each of the languages selected. For example the screenshot above shows that there are a lot of articles in Dutch about places in the USA. Coverage is not so good for Chinese, Lithuanian and Hindi speakers.

As well as its intended use I think Terra Incognita is quite useful as a local tourist guide. If you are visiting a foreign country you can select the country on Terra Incognita and find all the articles about the country in your mother tongue. The map therefore provides a great way to search Wikipedia for the locations that you are visiting, which actually have a Wikipedia article in your language. Click on the dots on the map and you are even given the link to the relevant Wikipedia article.

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