The Pop-Up City is always interested in mobile apps that create new experiences of the city. So when Wikipedia, the most popular source for all things information announced its spatial-debut, we paid attention. Wikipedia recently introduced its GeoData extension. This streamlined, centralized source for geographic information means that ‘mapping Wikipedia’ is about to explode.
There have been past attempts to map Wikipedia, but they fell short in their reliance on a static source for data. As you can see with this map showing word counts of articles geo-tagged in Amsterdam, it is based on a fixed source, relying on the mere 5% of Wikipedia articles that had spatial coordinates then. The other maps of Europe are similarly static.
Europe word count
With Wikipedia’s new and easily accessible source for geographic data, articles and images can be quickly geo-tagged. The number of Wikipedia articles with spatial coordinates are bound to increase hugely. The new initiative will also enable developers to mine and map the data, and create new apps quickly and easily: the possibilities are endless!
The first use of this new spatial database will be an improvement of Wikipedia’s mobile app and its Nearby add-on. The GPS-enabled Nearby shows you a list of Wikipedia entries close to your current location. Want to know more about your city, your neighbourhood or your favorite shopping street? Check Nearby for places, monuments, and events that you’ve probably never heard of! The app also will be able to show users which articles nearby are in need of photos, directing people towards needed additions.
Wikipedia’s entrance into the world of spatial data, alongside popular location-based apps such as Foursquare, means that it will continue to strengthen itself as the main source of information. We’re excited to see what developers will do with this new wealth of location-based information, and hope that someone will take mapping Wikipedia all the way by making use of Augmented Reality!