Wikipedia offers ‘Nearby’ articles based on location


Wikimedia Foundation has launched a ‘Neaby’ tool, filtering relevant Wikipedia articles to users based on their location.

The move comes after the charitable organization behind Wikipedia and other online collaborative projects, announced a new GeoData extension for MediaWiki, which promised to provide a “structured way to store geo-coordinates for articles,” this was in addition to an API so developers could build tools based on this data.

Location coordinates associated with articles are now stored separately in the Wikipedia database which makes it easier to ‘query’ the coordinates of a particular Wikipedia page.

“We’d like to be able to show users a map of articles needing images near their location, so that they can easily take and upload photos of subjects around them missing an illustration,” explained Max Semenik, a Wikimedia Foundation Software Engineer.

To help facilitate this, Wikipedia was enabled with photo uploads via the mobile Web back in March, though the bigger vision here isn’t necessarily restricted to locations ‘nearby’. It’s just that you’re more likely to upload photos of places near where you are.

The Wikipedia Nearby feature is currently available as a beta feature, though it’s no longer restricted to experimental mode.

“Thanks to the terrific work of our editor community, Wikipedia has accumulated a massive amount of location data associated with its millions of articles; until now we have not fully taken advantage of this information,” says Jon Robson, Software Engineer, Mobile at the Wikimedia Foundation.

“We are happy to announce that the Wikimedia Foundation mobile team has been working on a Nearby page to surface this information,” he continues. “Along with the goal of bringing awareness of the surrounding areas to our existing readers, we hope that this simple tool can attract new editors to these articles, whether it is to update the information on the exhibits in a local museum, or simply to add a photo of a nearby park that is in severe need of a properly licensed lead image.”

Read the full announcment below;

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