Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Newsletter/Issues/Volume08/Issue01

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The Center Line
Volume 8, Issue 1 • Winter 2015 • About the Newsletter


The tin jubilee year for the project has certainly started on a cold note for much of the country as Old Man Winter has definitely been making his presence known again this year. Hopefully everyone has been able to safely deal with his wrath. As we look forward in 2015 to renewed progress in the project, we also look to the past. Editors are improving articles in various ways. As we near our 10th anniversary, the future is looking bright for USRD. ❖Imzadi1979

MUTCD sign with a snowflake!
Featured story

Be part of the turnaround... now become part of the solution

Contributor: Rschen7754
10th anniversary logo used for the U.S. Roads WikiProject

Once upon a time, when writing the USRD newsletter, I was not paying attention, and corrupted one of the closing sentences of the issue.

At the time, we had just completed one of the most turbulent times in USRD's history, following the state route naming conventions poll that drove members of the project apart. Activity had dwindled, and the articles were in poor shape. Thus, we wanted to encourage people to get involved to save the project.

Somehow, we survived that year, and the next six years, and came to 2015.

Seven years later, I find myself thinking along similar lines. Not because USRD is about to die, but because we always are in need of more people to contribute, in ways that we cannot do so ourselves.

So, to the casual reader among the 100+ on our subscription list, what does this mean?

Sure, there are a few of us that write a featured article every few months and are "famous" for that, and others of us have served in high-profile roles across Wikimedia. But it is easy to make an impact on the U.S. Roads WikiProject (and Wikipedia in general) in many ways, involving many different sets of skills. I was surprised at how involved I was able to become in creating quality content that rivals that of other leading roadfan sites. I have been so grateful to work with people over the last ten years to create something that I could not just by myself; after all, working together has created something more than our individual abilities summed together can. And that is the overall purpose of Wikimedia.

So what are you waiting for? Be part of the turnaround... now become part of the solution! If you are looking for ways to get involved, feel free to post at WT:USRD or drop by our IRC channel, #wikipedia-en-roadsconnect, and we would be happy to help you contribute.

Raising the speed limit on KML creation

Contributor: TCN7JM
KML logo as used in the banner templates

I'd consider myself something of a specialist in KML files. Creating KML files accounts for a large chunk of my work in this project, whether it's been adding one to an article while it's at WP:GAN or mass creating all of them for a single region or state. Not being proficient in GIS software, I've created most of mine using the Google Earth method. However, this method does have its problems; for one, it's repetitive and time consuming. Painstakingly clicking on the route, point by point, to trace it from one terminus to the other is a task that requires some time and energy to complete, and this hinders my efforts to create many KMLs in one sitting. Sometimes I've had trouble even completing one.

Then I was told about the Google My Maps method, and I'm glad I know about this method now. There's a more in-depth tutorial here, but the basic gist of it is that My Maps allows us to use Google Maps' driving directions feature and export the results to a KMZ file, then tweak it to match standards and upload it to Wikipedia. Since learning of this method a few weeks ago, my KML file output has increased exponentially. I can draw up over 20 of them in an hour if I'm working at full speed, which is in stark contrast to the Google Earth method, with which I could only finish a couple of them in that time period depending on the lengths of the routes.

I thought this method was new, but I was surprised to look through the history on the tutorial page and find that User:TheWombatGuru posted the tutorial for this method last May. If I hadn't heard of it until earlier this month, I figure there are probably others who don't know it exists either, and my intention in writing this is to change that, because it's a far superior method of creating KMLs, whether you're creating just one or a whole bunch.

RCS coming for the Texas FM/RM routes

Contributor: Dough4872
Blank Farm to Market Road marker

It was recently decided at WT:USRD that the best way to handle coverage of Texas's Farm to Market and Ranch to Market roads is through lists using the Rockland County Scenario (RCS). The FM/RM routes are a secondary system of state highways in Texas that connect rural areas to population centers. Many of these routes are short and have little to say about them, resulting in relatively short articles. Due to the article length and the notability of the roads as secondary highways, it was decided the FM/RM roads should be merged into lists. After some discussion, the determination was made to apply RCS to cover the routes as it would get rid of the large quantity of short articles but would also preserve the descriptive information and history pertaining to the routes without having to cut information. Due to the large number of FM/RM routes that exist, the lists will be split into 100s. List of Farm to Market Roads in Texas (300–399) serves as an example of what the RCS lists for the FM/RM roads will look like. Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Texas/Starter/FM list can be substituted in order to start a list for a certain number range. At press time, guidelines for RCS lists are still under discussion at the project talk page.

The bar is set for 2015

Contributor: Imzadi1979

As we edit in our 10th year as a WikiProject, members set two goals for 2015.

  1. I-blank.svg
    US blank.svg
    We want to improve the various national articles on Interstate and U.S. Highways. Many of these have state-detail articles, such as Interstate 75 in Michigan or U.S. Route 6 in Iowa, but for 2015, we will be working on improve the parent articles like Interstate 75 and U.S. Route 6. We have a page to track our progress on the Interstates, with one coming for the U.S. Highways.
  2. Greek letter omega.svg
    We also want to decrease the cumulative WikiWork by a net 1010 classes in honor of our 10th anniversary. This can be accomplished by improving a Stub-Class article to Start-Class for a one-class gain, or an ambitious editor could take that stub all the way to GA for four classes. However, all new articles created will add to the total needed.


State and national updates

Assessment roundup

Contributor: TCN7JM

Here are the top ten states in relative WikiWork as of February 28, 2015.

Rank State Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub ω Ω
1 Michigan 26 6 172 9 0 0 0 377 1.770
2 Delaware 1 0 61 1 0 0 0 125 1.984
3 New York 12 3 197 329 109 25 0 1945 2.881
4 Washington 0 2 72 78 54 4 1 622 2.948
5 Maryland 4 1 66 343 47 7 0 1385 2.959
6 New Jersey 1 2 102 47 18 82 0 829 3.290
7 Utah 4 3 16 64 131 6 1 787 3.498
8 Iowa 2 1 18 17 88 11 0 495 3.613
9 Arizona 2 0 12 17 46 20 0 359 3.701
10 Oklahoma 2 0 14 67 37 58 0 667 3.747

There was no movement within the top ten this quarter, but the relative WikiWork continues to trend downward, even if at a slow pace. Congratulations to Delaware for becoming the second state to fall below 2.000 in relative WikiWork, joining Michigan in this prestigious club.

For full stats on all 50 states and more updated almost daily, take a look at WP:USRD/A/S. Now let's see how the project is doing overall.

Project Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub Total ω Ω
USRD 67 22 961 1378 2848 4537 1688 11501 50283 4.372
IH 20 1 47 42 266 189 0 566 2236 3.951
USH 15 3 61 38 204 331 2 654 2722 4.162
Auto trail 7 0 6 1 9 28 8 59 239 4.051

I'll start with the bad news: we're going backwards in our goal to decrease the cumulative WikiWork by 1010 classes. A lot of new articles, many of which are stubs, have been created since January 1; as of print time, we need 1146 classes to meet our goal.

Now the good news! Since the beginning of the year, Interstate 8 has been promoted to featured article status, and we've also gained 10 net good articles. Finally, despite us gaining classes in the cumulative WikiWork, our relative WikiWork has decreased by 0.009.

Task force reports

U.S. Highways

The project has been steadily whittling away at the national-level U.S. highway articles that do not have a "Major intersections" section, that have a badly-formatted one, or that have missing intersections. So far, several articles from US 1 through US 34 have been done, excluding some that already have full tables or do not need the lists added. ❖Morriswa

California

California State Route 243 passed the GA process, but more importantly, Interstate 8 became a featured article, a project over two years in the making. ❖Rschen7754

Delaware

Delaware achieved a milestone on February 8 when Delaware Route 279 was promoted to GA, lowering the state's WikiWork below 2.000 to 1.984. Delaware became the second state after Michigan to get its WikiWork below 2.000. In addition to DE 279, Delaware saw the addition of five other GA's. At this point, all the road articles in Delaware are GA or better with the exception of Interstate 295 (Delaware–New Jersey). In the future, I-295 will be brought up to GA, the list will be improved, and the overview article will be created. ❖Dough4872

Michigan

As noted in the last issue, the Michigan Legislature changed the name of the historic/recreational/scenic byway system in the state to Pure Michigan Byways. The article has been updated accordingly, and we're in a holding pattern until MDOT unveils the new design for the signage used on these highways. The inclusion of the new signs in the infobox and some minor updates to the table are all that have to be done before the list can be nominated at WP:FLC. Otherwise editing in the state has been limited to verifying and updating some of the control cities as used by MDOT in junction and exit lists. Expect to see some nominations at GAN, ACR and FAC/FLC later this year, however, as editing returns back to normal. ❖Imzadi1979

In other project news...

Contributor: Imzadi1979

We've also been discussing the elimination of metropolitan area navigation boxes devoted to highways, much as we phased out similar boxes listing all of the highways in a county. As of press time, the one box for Valdosta, Georgia, has been deleted, and one for Lubbock, Texas, has been nominated for deletion.

Articles on secondary highways in Montana have been merged into a RCS list just as with the Farm/Ranch to Market Roads in Texas. Additionally, two poorly sourced lists of county roads in Ohio were deleted.

In the realm of templates, there is a new proposal to update {{infobox road small}} so that it can display the KML links and content like {{Attached KML}} when used in RCS lists; as of press time, nothing has been implemented yet. There is also some ongoing work aimed at updating {{cite map}} so that it works off the Lua module that powers other CS1 and CS2 templates. There are additional parameters that will be added so that editors can properly cite maps printed in periodicals (like journals or magazines) in addition to those published in books or as sheet maps, among other upgrades. Putting the template on Lua will also speed up preview times in many of our articles that are heavily cited to maps.

Selected articles

The following articles appeared as the Selected article on a portal or task force page in the fal quarter:

October
US: Alabama State Route 73
MI: M-94 (Michigan highway)
NJ: New Jersey Route 124

Selected pictures

The following photos appeared as the Selected picture on the U.S. Roads Portal in the fall quarter:

October
Natchez-Trace-Parkway-Highsmith.jpeg

The Natchez Trace Parkway extends 444 miles (715 km) through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.
November
US: U.S. Route 30 in Indiana
MI: List of Interstate Highways in Michigan
NJ: New Jersey Route 147
November
Alcan construction.jpg

The Alaska Highway under construction in 1942
December
US: Interstate 895 (Maryland)
MI: M-28 Business (Newberry, Michigan)
NJ: New Jersey Route 284
December
Astoria from Astoria Column, Dec. 2011.JPG

Overlooking Astoria, Oregon, and the Astoria–Megler Bridge, which carries U.S. Route 101 over the Columbia River.

From the editors

The next quarterly issue should be out in the spring. The editors of the newsletter would like to hear from you, the reader. What do you like about the current format? What should be changed? Removed? Added? Your comments are needed.

Lastly, remember that this is your newsletter and you can be involved in the creation of next issue released for the spring. Any and all contributions are welcome. Simply let yourself be known to any of the undersigned, or just start editing!

Contributors to this issue

Issue 1 | Issue 2