||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: There is a lack of sourcing other than Wikimapia itself.. (January 2015)|
|Slogan||Let's describe the whole world!|
Type of site
|Available in||101 languages, including English|
|Created by||Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev|
|Launched||May 24, 2006|
|Revenue||From AdSense and Wikimapia Ads |
|2,539 (February 2015[update])|
WikiMapia or Wikimapia is a privately owned commercial site based on an open-content collaborative mapping project that aims to mark and describe all geographical objects in the world. This mashup combines an interactive web map with a geographically-referenced wiki system. As of May 2015, over 24,624,248 objects have been marked by registered users and guests.
According to its website, WikiMapia is an open-content collaborative mapping project, aimed at marking all geographical objects in the world and providing a useful description of them.  It aims to, create and maintain a free, complete, multilingual and up-to-date map of the whole world. Wikimapia intends to contain detailed information about every place on Earth."
Wikimapia was launched on 24 of May in 2006 by two Russian Internet entrepreneurs, Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev. Although the project's name is reminiscent to that of Wikipedia and that the creators share the “wiki” philosophy, Wikimapia is not a part of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, but is maintained by a privately owned commercial company.
By late 2013, the website had over 2,000,000 registered users.
How Wikimapia works
The Wikimapia website provides a Google Maps API-based interactive web map that consists of user-generated information layered on top of Google Maps satellite imagery and other resources. The navigation interface provides scroll and zoom functionality similar to that of Google Maps.
The Wikimapia layer is a collection of "objects" with a polygonal outline (such as buildings, lakes, etc.) and "linear features" (such as streets, railroads, rivers, etc.). Streets are connected by intersection points to form a street grid. Both kinds of items may have textual descriptions and photos attached to them. All of these street, house, building names and other user added text can completely block out the map and make it appear less like a map and more like a cluttered mess of names. Viewers can click on any marked object or street segment to see its description. Descriptions can be searched by a built-in search tool. Facilities are provided to highlight objects by category and to measure distances between objects.
The interface is available in many languages, and the textual description of each item may have multiple versions in different languages.
Wikimapia maps can also be embedded on other websites.
Anyone can add a new item to the Wikimapia layer. Objects and linear features are supposed to be drawn onto the main window so as to match the satellite photo underneath, using a simple graphical editing tool. When an object is created the user is invited to specify its categories, add a textual description, and upload relevant photos. Only registered users can edit existing items.
Editors can set up a "watchlist" to monitor all changes that are made in one or more rectangular areas on the map.
A small team of administrators maintain and continue to develop Wikimapia. They introduce new features and determine further evolution course. These and overall Wikimapia improvements are influenced by users as well through discussions on the forum or reports and requests on the issue tracking system.
The editor community is largely self-organized, with users communicating through an internal email-like system and through a public forum. The system automatically assigns "experience points" to editors for various editing actions, and ranks them in levels according to points earned. Higher levels have increased access to editing tools and fewer restrictions on editing activity.
Editors at the top levels be invited to become "moderators" or "power users". As such they receive additional editing rights, access to more map-monitoring facilities, and authority to ban users. Those power users do most of the work of managing other editors, including establishing rules and fighting vandalism.
Quality of contents
Map coverage is very uneven. In some areas of the world, especially some developing countries, Wikimapia city maps have become cluttered with crude outlines marking the positions of private residences, added by their residents or friends, which require constant attention and pruning by regular editors.
The textual description attached to each item is free format, and there are no detailed rules about style or contents except "Try to be correct, neutral, and avoid advertising", where "neutral" is explained to exclude "Feelings, opinions, experiences. Words which display a personal bias or agenda. Politics. Religion". Users are not required to cite the source of the information, but are encouraged to add a link to a relevant Wikipedia article if there is one.
In spite of those recommendations, place descriptions often contain subjective evaluations, travel advice, advertisements, etc.. However, registered users can edit and delete annotations that they perceive as inappropriate.
In December 2009, Wikimapia launched an API and made its content available in several formats for non-commercial use. In December 2010, the data was announced as being available under a Non-Commercial Creative Commons license.
In May 2012, Wikimapia announced that all the content was available under Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA). This means that Wikimapia claims to offer all of its data for sharing, recasting, transforming or adapting in any form recognizably derived from the original for any use. Licensees must distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs the original work.
Despite this, because the WikiMapia's geo-located data is largely derived from aerial imagery provided from Google Maps (whose imagery is from a number of partners including TerraMetrics, Bluesky), the dataset (and any further derivations from it) may constitute a "derived work". Whilst dependent on jurisdiction, the principle allows aerial photography companies to license their exclusive right to derive geo-data from their imagery (commercially, or under proprietary restrictions). Although Google are (as of July 2012), not known to have launched copyright actions in the courts over use of aerial imagery, their terms of service do include a specific provision barring 'derivations' without a license from Google. Concerns have been raised about this. [by whom?]
Limited WikiMapia functionality is available on:
- Google Earth, using Google Earth dynamic layer in KML file.
- Embedded in any HTML page.
- Most Java-enabled cellphones using 3rd party software such as Mobile GMaps.
- iOS (iPhone/iPad) application.
- Collaborative mapping
- Google Earth
- Google Map Maker
- List of GPS Software for Mobile Phones
- List of wikis
- Participatory GIS
- Public Participation GIS
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to WikiMapia.|
- Wikimapia.org: Wikimapia.org
- Wikimapia.org: Wikimapia Ads
- "Wikimapia.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- Wikimapia.org: Wikimapia Help/FAQ page, section "Is it WikiMapia or Wikimapia?" Quote: This website is usually more referred to as Wikimapia. Accessed on 2013-03-04.
- Wikimapia.org: "Places total" statistics page. Accessed on 2014-01-23.
- Wikimapia.org: "About Wikimapia" documentation page. Accessed on 2013-02-27.
- Wikimapia.org: "User count" statistics page. Accessed on 2014-01-23.
- Wikimapia.org: "Happy Birthday Wikimapia!" forum page
- Google.com: "Google Maps/Earth Additional Terms of Service", Section's 2(a), 2(b).
- Wikimapia.org: CC-BY-SA Clarifcation forum page.
- wiki.OpenStreetMaps.org:  commentary on Wikimapia by openstreetmaps
- Wikimapia.org: Wikimapia's main page, menu "Login"/"Map on your page".
- Vitaly Pronkin. "Mifki.com".