Making encyclopedic maps for Wikipedia is currently a highly manual process resulting in a poor supply of maps that is unable to meet the demand of accurate and updated maps for various projects and languages.
Automate the creation of SVG base maps in a well researched cartographic style using the latest and most accurate open geographic data.
#How: automatizing the cartographer’s workflow for the basemaps creation
The Wikimaps Atlas (2014) project —currently under development— is a centralized, automatized, systematic way to produce the most needed and most difficult to create base layers. The central concept is to greatly simplify the mapmaking workflow by separating (1.) the map-data script-processing to generate accurate and elegant background, from (2.) the process of map design : selecting relevant encyclopedic items and events to display and explain upon a geographic area. The job of the project members is to provide a system which will crop, slice, simplify, filter, stylize these huge GIS files in order to provide a final SVG background of about 100~500KB each which will be fine for the end users, his/her web browser, and the WMF’s servers.
#Encyclopedic maps with elegance & style
Building upon well established best practices (colorschemes) and handmade workflows refined for years by the Wikipedia Map Workshops, following the Wikipedia:Kartenwerkstatt/Positionskarten project, WikiAtlas will provide volunteer wikipedia cartographers and graphists a complete and consistent set of high quality base maps, so these volunteer graphists may focus on designing semantics layers representing and explaining a given encyclopedic topic. Following clean and standard graphic guidelines, we want these maps to be elegant, consistent, readable, accessible to the reader, altogether building a graphical identity and feel for Wikipedia and for maps on Wikipedia. We want these maps to be standalone maps, so they stay easy to edit, print, embed, and spread inside and outside Wikipedia, by editors, journalists, web-developers. We also want these maps to be well coded SVG documents, with some hidden meta-data serving as anchors, so data and interactions may be bidden to them.
#System: sources and main requirements
The system reuse existing and notable graphic guidelines (best practices), various available online open GIS data and layers from providers like Natural Earth, OpenStreetMap, NASA, GADM.org etc (public domain, CC-by-sa-3.0), as well as web oriented data visualization technologies (D3js, topojson). The system keeps relevant metadata allowing to categorize maps and conserve traces of geolocalisation, so when on commons, it in effect create the first systematic, complete, and consistent atlas of free and open stand alone maps. The Wikimaps Atlas project is to generates all the set of target maps for countries, provinces, subunits, and custom areas under request. This set being about 5.000 basemaps easy to update, a major improvement for wikipedia map resources, in terms of reliability, scope, and content management.