Introducing the Wikimaps Atlas project by planemad

March 24, 2014

Something useful that one finds in almost any Wikipedia article of a geographical feature is a reference locator map that accompanies the text (Ever wondered where Timbuktu was?). The value of these static maps over the ubquituous Google type slippy maps that we see on the web today is that of context. Fixed scale reference maps like those on Wikipedia have been painfully handcrafted by a silent group of volunteer digital cartographers who put in significant amount of manual effort to create and upload each file or revision.

For the scale of the requirements of the Wikimedia mission to take such open content to every single human, the current maomaking workflow falls short in being able to produce high quality maps in large quantities. With advancement of web technology and greater availability of open geospatial data, there opens up exciting possibilities to make more accessible and interactive than ever before, which has been demonstrated by projects like Mapbox GL.

The Wikimaps Atlas is an attempt at bridging this gap between the attention to information of the traditional Geography Atlas with the abundance of digital information available today using the latest in web and interactive technology.

Our focus will be on looking at maps as self contained interactive documents that is reusable and repurposable for a wide range of applications.