Topic on Talk:Wikimedia Maps/2015-2017/Conversation about interactive map use

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What types of articles would use interactive maps?

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Please share examples of article types, categories, or other use cases where interactive maps might be useful. Include links to the example articles.

Slowking4 (talkcontribs)
TheDJ (talkcontribs)

Accidents, disasters. Where did the plain crash, which reactor exploded etc.

Yurik (talkcontribs)
Yurik (talkcontribs)

slowking4, thanks for the links. I think your examples all fall under "show the location of a monument-or-building sized object on a street-level map. Ideally we should show (possibly in one image) the globe (political, country outlines), the country (also political, with some major highways and possibly rivers), and the street-level map. When clicked, the street map becomes interactive so that viewers can easily locate themselves on it (we should add "show user's location on the map" capability when in full screen mode - should be useful for mobile viewers)

Slowking4 (talkcontribs)

yes a streamlined  "show user's location on the map" would be useful for public art for mobile users, we have been cobbling together OSM screenshots + gps links on list articles. an integrated "public art near here" or historic buildings near here is a better solution.

Vojtěch Dostál (talkcontribs)

Plant and animal species. Imagine we could fill in distribution maps for each species using distribution data loaded from Wikidata. Not sure this is within scope of this project, but I still wanted to draw attention to it.

Yurik (talkcontribs)

Absolutely in scope. I would love to provide a way to draw regions like that. What kind of a base map would be better suited for this, and will you ever need to zoom-in, and if yes - how far? Realms are very imprecise, plus they change with time. I don't think you will ever want to zoom to the street level - perhaps zooms 0..8 should be enough? Also I guess that land type is important (desert, tundra, rainforest, etc), and hillshading (its important to see mountains for such maps). But at the same time you want to be able to relate to the political location - at least countries / states / provinces and major cities.

John Cummings (talkcontribs)

This would be great, you can currently generate maps from Wikidata queries, e.g here is a query for all the World Heritage Sites. I assume with a little fiddling you could get it to output links to specific language Wikipedia articles rather than the Wikidata items.

This post was hidden by Yurik (history)
Ziko (talkcontribs)

Hello. Although I understand that historical maps are regarded as something of the future, I still would like to emphasize how much they would help my work. As I write about the German history of the 19th century, I deal with many different states with different borders through the times. Mostly I use the general map of Germany for 1815-1866, but territorial changes are difficult to show. I have also downloaded blank maps of the region and era, but always when borders have changed I have a problem. Also, when I fill in colors it doesn't look as neatly as I'd like to. For the readers it would be great if they have an interactive historical map in order to show the location of a state or city, and if the reader can choose the time and also the scale of the map in order to understand where within a state, within Germany or within Europe the citiy is.

Sabas88 (talkcontribs)

Articles about collections of geographic objects would greatly benefit with a dynamic map plus a geojson / topojson overlay.

Example in this page I designed the map with Tilemill, an older version of osm bright and a postgis query

- how to host geojson content?

- how to create it? There could be an editor similar to umap for this (or a customized umap instance) (talkcontribs)

Maybe articles about rapid transit (subway, metro, MRT, etc) lines.

Strakhov (talkcontribs)

I'm a complete noob as far as map-related-"technologies" are involved but... I would use them in articles of monuments, buildings, disasters and "punctual" entries. It would be nice using them for articles of streets or subway lines too, loading a hypothetical Wikidata property where it would be stored street's vertices (coordinates). I don't know if it's possible taking that stuff directly from Openstreetmap. Something like that. Anyways, thanks for your awesome work, folks!

RHo (WMF) (talkcontribs)

A couple of more suggestions based on the use case of a a researcher/student exploring a topic where location is a focal point.

They user want results of articles and article sections to be visible in a map view so that they can use the map view as a way to filter/explore further more articles they are interested in.

Some example articles:

  1. Similar to previous suggestions, articles about a group of locations would be great to show on a map; such as in the article about Ivy league universities or about the Colleges of the University of Cambridge.
  2. Plotting the travels of Magellan
  3. Mapping the locations along the route in the plot of the novel On the Road
Andrew Gray (talkcontribs)

One strong use case I can see is articles on battles (and similar events), where the local geography is very important. These articles often involve a lot of discussion about "a valley with forests to the north and west, and two bridges over the river in the east". These points usually won't have articles themselves, and may not be of any interest outside of this topic, but being able to highlight them on a map in this context is useful. For example, in this article it would be good to have a map identifying the geography, the position of the main landmarks, etc. Where we do have coherent maps - such as the American Civil War articles - it tends to make them a lot easier to follow.

This is an example of a regional map I attempted for an article some years ago - very crude, as it's taking a 1900s map and highlighting relevant locations. If I could have simply dropped four pins onto a pretty map, this would have looked a lot nicer. As soon as the extension is enabled on enwiki, I'll try and replace it!

These types of articles would particularly benefit from a couple of additional features:

- the ability to add lines and polygons, rather than just points, eg to show a front-line (I know this is a major request!)

- a topographic/geographic base layer. On a small scale, it can be very confusing to use a current map which may have a suburb or motorway now built over a site that was still open land at the time. Being able to use a topographic-only layer (contours, rivers, perhaps forestry) would help avoid this problem.

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