Monday, October 19, 2020

Wiki Maps of the World


Once upon a time Google Maps had a Wikipedia layer. Using this Wikipedia layer you could discover all the places around you which had an article on Wikipedia. This Google Maps layer was a fantastic way to learn about all the interesting, historical points of interest around your location. It was definitely one of the most useful functions on Google Maps. So Google got rid of it.

Luckily there are a few other interactive maps which can help you learn more about the world around you using information posted to Wikipedia.

For example, Wikimap is an interactive map of all the geo-tagged Wikipedia articles. Zoom in on any area of the world and map markers reveal all the nearby locations which have entries on Wikipedia. Click on any of these markers and you can read a short introduction to the selected point of interest and click-through to read the whole entry on Wikipedia. Wikimap is a great way to discover interesting things to explore near your current location.

You can also find nearby points of interest using Wiki Atlas. Open up Wiki Atlas and you can immediately view all the places around you which have a Wikipedia entry. Click on any of the mapped links and you can read the entry directly from the map. 

All the locations with a Wikipedia entry are shown on Wiki Atlas using colored markers. The colors of the markers indicate the category of the Wikipedia entry (culture, geo, society or STEM).  

Like Wiki Atlas and Wiki Map Geopedia can be used to find and read Wikipedia entries about points of interest around any location. Geopedia uses the Wikipedia API to load all the Wikipedia entries for places around a location on an OpenStreetMap based map. Enter a location into the search bar or right-click on the map and markers will show all the Wikipedia entries near your chosen location.

If you want to discover more about nearby points of interest then you can also use Wikimapia. Wikimapia is one of the most successful interactive maps of all time. For over ten years Wikimapia has provided a great map based resource for discovering information about locations and points of interest around the world.

In essence Wikimapia is a website which lets you describe locations in the same way that Wikipedia allows you to add and edit articles in its wiki database. Like Wikipedia it provides an invaluable resource for researching and discovering information about the world - except with Wikimapia every entry is a real-world location.

To use Wikimapia you just need to search for a location on the map. and click on any of the highlighted areas to discover information about the selected location. For example, if you see an interesting looking building on your daily travels, you just need to click on the building on the Wikimapia map to read its Wikimapia wiki entry.

1 comment:

Piotr Konieczny said...

I'd love to know why Google axed the Wikipedia integration.

Anyway, good post. But it's good to add that Wikipedia has its own map system, more than one in fact. Look in the top right of an article about a place - if there are GPS coordinates, there's small planet icon that opens a map, and you can click through to the coordinates to a bunch of tools.

What is perhaps even more useful when well done (which is rare) is the Wikivoyage map, as it has a tons of touristy POIs. Here's are two examples of well mapped locations in WV: , . Note that the the interactive maps are kind of mixed with other images (and even maps); I am talking about the ones with pins. They are awesome, when well done (i.e. when volunteers define the GPS for the pins and properly code the stuff...).