Wikipedia:Coordinate-referenced map templates

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This draft guideline was created to provide wikipedians with basic instruction and advanced techniques in using coordinate-referenced map templates to generate maps in wikipedia articles.

For the purposes of this article, Geolinks can be defined as links to commercial maps using geographical coordinates. The most common geolinks in wikipedia are referenced with lattitude and longitude.

Basic steps for beginners[edit]

Four steps[edit]

The steps for adding a geolink can be summarized as follows:

  1. Find the coordinates (generally latitude and longitude) of the geographic location you want to link
  2. Select the template with the appropriate scale for the map to zoom into
  3. Add the coordinates to the template using the template's format
  4. Place the template reference into the article

Suggestions for accomplishing each step are below.

Example of adding the coordinates using the template's format[edit]

1. If you wanted to add a map of Washington DC, you would first have to use any of the below links and find out that the Washington Monument in DC is located at lattitude 38.8895563 and longitude -77.0352546. Remember that you want to have decimal coordinates rather than degrees/minutes/seconds.

2. Next you can choose templates of the right scale. Suppose you were interested in just looking at a Washington Monument at building scale, then the map would be close in on the monument. (click to see the Washington monument map at building scale)


3. After you choose your template, you would enter in the coordinates into your chosen template using the correct coordinate format. If you chose Template:geolinks-US-buildingscale, the wiki code would look like this: {{geolinks-US-buildingscale|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} and the map would look like this: (click to see what Washington monument map at building scale)

And the template would look like this:

================================
38°53′22″N 77°02′07″W / 38.8895563°N 77.0352546°W / 38.8895563; -77.0352546Coordinates: 38°53′22″N 77°02′07″W / 38.8895563°N 77.0352546°W / 38.8895563; -77.0352546
================================

You can check whether the map worked by right clicking on, say, Google Local, and seeing if the scale you selected is appropriate.

Other scales follow the same format, as listed below. Somply copy and paste, with your correct coordinates in the

4. The template you have assembled ahould go into the external links section of the article. If there is no external links section, the following two lines should go at the very bottom of the article:

 == External links ==  
 *{{geolinks-US-cityscale|YourLattitude|YourLongitude}} 

Once you preview and save, you will have successfully added a coordinate-referenced map template to the article. Congratulations!

tools and advanced techniques[edit]

Finding lat/long info[edit]

Remember, North and East coordinates are positive, South and West negative. Here are some resources for figuring out the lat/long of the location you want:

  • USGS GNIS service is extremely extensive: almost any officially named place in the US is searchable. Provides coordinates in Degrees/Minutes/Seconds format. The easiest way to convert to decimal coordinates (if you don't want to do arithmetic yourself) is to choose the "Display feature in TopoZone" option. You can click around the map on the TopoZone page if you don't think it's centered quite right. Then in the sidebar of the TopoZone page change the "Coordinate Format" to "DD.DDD". The decimal coordinates are now displayed above the map.
  • Libre Map Project - As part of The Libre Map Project I've created a database with all the GNIS place names from the USGS. It displays the Latitude and Longitude in decimal format so you don't have to convert. To display a list of every town, county, villag, etc., select a state and set the Feature Type to "civil". All data and queries are Free. If the data could be formatted in a more convenient way, let me know. - Redjar 14:14, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • GeoCode Eagle will give you coordinates for up to 25 U.S. addresses free.
  • TopoZone can give you coordinates for a number of U.S. place names free. From the USGS, so biased towards natural/national landmarks. The topozone interface has changed, so be sure to select NAD83 coordinate system, as it is no longer the default.
  • Epodunk will give you coordinates for a number of U.S. place names free. Seems to be biased towards East Coast, historical community sites. Good for cemeteries.
  • TerraServer-USA gives lat/long for the U.S., and is clickable (you click on the map and it gives you the lat/long of the recentered map, to a certain degree of precision).
  • NASA World Wind has a limited database of U.S. and global placenames. Sorry, no street addresses. Press Ctrl-F, enter the official place name, click Search, you will probably find the place you're looking for. Click Go and press Ctrl-C to copy the decimal coordinates. Paste it into Wikipedia. Example: For Tucson International Airport → "worldwind://goto/world=Earth&lat=32.11611&lon=-110.94109&alt=24389"
  • Driving around in Google works surprisingly well, if you know generally where things are. It is searchable so if you know a street address that works too. But I often just open up maps.google.com and navigate around, zooming in and using landmarks, features, etc, to find what I want. This works well for highways and bridges. Once you have found the thing, click on "link to this page" which generates a new URL in the URL box, copy that and you have your coords (they're in the page URL as parms and easy to spot) Example: For the Jack Rabbit coaster at Kennywood Amusement Park (this URL: [1]) → "http://maps.google.com/?ll=40.386538,-79.862891&spn=0.002926,0.004249&t=h"

Finding lat/long info in Google Earth[edit]

Google Earth is a free program for Linux Macintosh or Windows which displays satellite photos, road maps, and other forms of geospatial information. If you can find a location, landmark, landform, stationary object, etc., on a satellite photo or road map, you can easily get its coordinates from Google Earth. If you have trouble positioning maps.google.com on your location of interest (the Google Maps display may snap back to your starting location when you click "link to this page" rather than sticking to the point you navigated to, if you navigated by dragging the map instead of by clicking on the direction arrow controls), you won't have that problem with Google Earth. With Google Earth, you can drag a placemark symbol exactly where you want on a map, and easily copy its resulting coordinates. The following procedure worked with version 3.0.0762 (verified on 17:56, 26 June 2006 (UTC)):

  1. Download and install Google Earth.
  2. Open Google Earth.
  3. Select Tools | Options | View tab. The Rendering options group has radio buttons for displaying latitude/longitude in either degrees, minutes, seconds, or decimal degrees. Click OK to save your options choices.
  4. Use the navigation controls to find the object or location you seek in a satellite photo, road map, or hybrid display.
  5. Select Add | Placemark. A New Placemark symbol appears at the center of the Google Earth map pane, and a New Placemark dialog window opens.
  6. On the New Placemark dialog window, check the Advanced checkbox to expand the Advanced pane.
  7. On the Advanced pane, select the Location tab.
  8. As you drag the Placemark, the Latitude and Longitude fields dynamically update to show the Placemark location. The display units are what you selected under Tools | Options | View tab | Rendering.
  9. Once you have positioned the Placemark onto your location of interest, you can copy and paste the Latitude and Longitude fields into another application. For example, you may paste them into a Wikipedia coordinate-referenced map template.
  10. You may edit the descriptive fields for the Placemark (Name, Description, etc.) and save it by clicking OK. Do this if you need to retrieve the Placemark again quickly in a future Google Earth session.
  11. You may also export your Placemark as a KML file.

Geolinks templates[edit]

Once you have the latitude and longitude you want, you have several choices for adding a geolink to the wikipedia article. The following sections lists these:

Start templates[edit]

Basic templates[edit]

Macro templates[edit]

Color aerial templates[edit]

For many urban areas (notably not NYC or Boston) TerraServer-USA provides color aerial photos. Since this template links only to one resource, I am putting the zoom argument into the template as the third parameter. This argument can range from 8 for the most zoomed in, to 19 for most zoomed out.

Weather satellite templates[edit]

Specialized templates[edit]

examples of other Geolinks templates[edit]

The following links all use the washington monument as the feeder for the template:

Examples
Template Link template message wiki code comments
Template:geolinks-start {{geolinks-start|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} {{geolinks-start|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} none
Template:geolinks-US-loc {{geolinks-US-start|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} {{geolinks-US-start|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} none
Template:geolinks-US-surrounds {{geolinks-US-surrounds|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} {{geolinks-US-surrounds|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} none
Template:geolinks-US-loc {{geolinks-US-loc|38.8895563|-77.0352546|Washington Monument}} {{geolinks-US-loc|38.8895563|-77.0352546|Washington Monument}} extra variable for location name
Template:geolinks-US-colorphoto {{geolinks-US-colorphoto|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} {{geolinks-US-colorphoto|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} none
Template:geolinks-sat {{geolinks-sat|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} {{geolinks-sat|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} none
Template:geolinks-US-sat {{geolinks-US-sat|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} {{geolinks-US-sat|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} none
Template:geolinks-US-mountain {{geolinks-US-mountain|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} {{geolinks-US-mountain|38.8895563|-77.0352546}} none

extinct templates[edit]

Former versions of wikipedia used "mapit" and other templates. These are no longer considered "in style" now that geolinks have been configured.

  • Template:Mapit-US-buildingscale
  • Template:Mapit-US-hoodscale
  • Template:Mapit-US-cityscale
  • Template:Mapit-US-countyscale
  • Template:MQ-deg
  • Template:MQ-dec
  • Template:TS-urb
  • Template:TZ-m
  • Template talk:Coor dms

related articles[edit]