Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One planet, under wikipedia

Google Maps displays geographic Wikipedia articles now!

The map is marked with Ws representing wikipedia articles. The location of each W is determined by the latitute/longitude coordinates on the wiki page.

It's kind of amazing how thoroughly wikipedia has colonized the world. In general, whenever I see an incredibly detailed, obscure wikipedia article, it sort of reminds me of how explorers must have felt when they found almost every corner of the earth inhabited. Wow. There are people here, too?

The problem with this particular application is that some Ws are big and some are small -- and the size seems to depend on the precision of the geotagging. My hometown is tagged superprecisely (down to hundredths of an arcsecond ), which means it's tiny on the map. This building in my hometown is the only W you see when you're zoomed out.

Or maybe that's because the building is tagged in "cityscale" units? Does anyone know?

Update: Google seems to be following Wikipedia's own guidelines, which say (rather imprecisely) that locations should be tagged with a degree of precision appropriate to their size. (Thanks, Pete.)

Previously in mapped wikis...

(Meanwhile, Yahoo maps continues not to integrate with Flickr. Hello? Jerry? Nobody in the public knows about the flickr map. Are you trying to make your company irrelevant? Do you guys have any sort of framework for adding onto applications? Will I see font tags if I view the source?)


Dan said...

How often does Google update its database of geotagged Wikipedia articles (used in this new feature as well as for quite a while on Google Earth)? I've been making an effort to add coordinates to many articles that lacked them before, but still haven't seen any of the newly-tagged articles appearing on the maps.

Ben Yates said...

Hm. I wonder if google built in a long lag period to prevent people from spelling out their names out across the atlantic ocean, etc. More than likely not.

Pete Forsyth said...

This is cool. The articles have been up for some time, but the Wikipedia logo must be new -- and very helpful. I like the size thing, too. Wikipedia guideline states that the precision should be appropriate to the entity tagged, so it seems like a good idea for Google Earth to assume they are...if there's a problem, it should be fixed in the article. Anyway -- thanks for the image, this is cool!


Ben Yates said...

On Google Earth, they've been around, yes -- but they're buried among 100 possible layers. On Google Maps they're new -- and they're one of only two mashup-style overlay options.

Pete Forsyth said...

Ah, I see -- sorry, missed the distinction before. Very, very cool then :)