WikiMapia as seen in Firefox with fullscreen mode
|Slogan||Let's describe the whole World!|
|Type of site||Collaborative mapping|
|Registration||Yes (not compulsory)|
|Available language(s)||101 languages, including English|
|Created by||Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev|
|Launched||May 24, 2006|
WikiMapia is an online map and satellite imaging resource that combines Google Maps with a wiki system, allowing users to add information, in the form of a note, to any location on Earth. It was created by Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev, and was launched on May 24, 2006 with the aim of describing the whole world. It now has over 10,000,000 places marked. Although registration is not required to edit or add to WikiMapia, over 387,000 users from around the world currently are registered.
Tag a location
WikiMapia allows any contributor to add a "tag" (placemark) to any location by marking out a polygon around the location and then providing a default language, title, description and one or more categories. An optional note can be provided, as well as images and embedded YouTube videos, which all appear on the place's information window.
Multiple categories can be added to any placemark by clicking the add category link and either selecting from a list of common categories, or by typing in the first few letters of the word to search for a category. The numbers displayed in parentheses next to each category indicate the number of placemarks belonging to that category. Basic functions also allow users to link to a corresponding Wikipedia article, add an address, or specify whether a polygon outlines a building (as opposed to a parcel of land).
Users also can add up to seven pictures to each tag by selecting Add/Manage Photos from the placetag's menu. This opens a dialog box, allowing the user to upload a photo from their computer or the internet.
Location tagging is fully multi-lingual, meaning that there is no need to create separate tags for different languages. If a place is described in multiple languages, the user can navigate to other language pages by clicking on the link at the bottom of the window. Currently a total of 101 languages are supported, and 100% of the interface has been translated into 56 languages. Most of the languages (except Chinese) use ISO 639-1 naming conventions. Registered users can help translate the WikiMapia interface at a special page (http://wikimapia.org/translate/).
Wikimapia also allows users to add so-called "linear features", meaning roads, railroads, ferry lines, and rivers. The interface allows users to specify the size of the road (major highway, side street, dirt road, etc.), to indicate one-way streets, and to provide a brief description. It also allows users to describe intersections and tunnels.
The railroad and ferry line interfaces are similar to the one used for roads. The river marking tool is somewhat more complex, as there are secondary lines that can be used to define the river's shoreline.
The roads feature is also used to populate a dropdown list of nearby street names in a tag's address box.
WikiMapia also allows registered users to set up watchlists to monitor changes on certain areas of the map. Users can define the size and location of each watched region and save it under a unique name.
User accounts and levels
There are three user-levels, as explained in the WikiMapia FAQ.
Voting and user statistics
Users can vote in favor of or against other users' contributions, thereby allowing users to rise in status among the community. There also is a user statistics and ranking board which automatically ranks users based on their contributions. However, vote tallies and user statistics have no impact on a user's user-level.
In October 2008, a Beta version was made accessible to registered users for testing. The new interface adds new features such as "terrain patches" and a new layer, called "WikiMapia Map". The WikiMapia Map layer shows only information that is made by WikiMapia users, such as polygons and roads — and the polygons are in different colors depending on the category of the tag, e.g., blue for a lake or reservoir, or green for a park. Users can also filter what places are displayed by category. A WikiMapia wiki was started for documentation and to help with collaboration.
Wikimapia Beta is now the official version of WikiMapia (since July 3, 2009), although some users have shown their discontent with this decision. 
Clutter and filtering
In some areas of the world with out-of-date or very expensive mapping, such as India, WikiMapia growth has been phenomenally rapid. This rapid growth brought problems of its own, however. Urban areas became covered with thousands of overlapping rectangles marking the positions of private residences, but there was no provision in the WikiMapia interface for distinguishing those residences from places of public interest. Recently, however, category browsing has been introduced, allowing users to select what category or categories of features they want displayed.
Unlike Wikipedia, all user content on WikiMapia is licensed exclusively to WikiMapia. WikiMapia does not use a GFDL license, so royalties and many usage rights are forfeited to WikiMapia upon submission. According to the site's Terms of Service, user submissions are available for personal or educational non-commercial purposes through the website.
The site generates some income using Google ads. In July 2007, the founders of WikiMapia decided to start looking for an investor to accomplish their plans.
Limited WikiMapia functionality is available on:
- Google Earth, using Google Earth dynamic layer in KML file.
- Google Maps Mapplets using special layer.
- Any HTML webpage, using code for a map frame which can found on the top menu, under "WikiMapia:Map on your page"
- Collaborative mapping
- Google Earth
- List of wikis
- Participatory GIS
- Public Participation GIS
- Bear, David (2007-01-07). "Getting a bird's-eye view of any place on Earth". http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07007/751307-96.stm. Retrieved 2007-11-13.
- "Wikimapia Main Page". http://wikimapia.com. Retrieved 2009-05-06. (See upper left corner)
- Koriakine, Alexandre (2006-12-04). "Place types, etc.". http://wikimapiablog.blogspot.com/2007/01/place-types-etc.html. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
- Jones, Matt (2007-01-11). "How To #5: YouTube in Wikimapia!". http://wikimapia.mattjonesblog.com/2006/12/04/how-to-5-youtube-in-wikimapia/. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
- "Wikimapia forum: ISO letters". wikimapia.org. http://wikimapia.org/forum/?t=2823&goto=55070#goto55070. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- Koriakine, Alexandre (2006-10-08). "Registration started". http://wikimapiablog.blogspot.com/2006/10/registration-started.html. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
- "WikiMapia FAQ". 2006-10-08. http://www.wikimapia.org/faq.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
- WikiMapia wiki
- "Wikimapia Terms of Service". 2007-10-27. http://wikimapia.org/terms_reference.html. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- Wikimapia blogspot entry
- GPS to WikiMapia (at this time for Windows only)
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