The Wikimedia Foundation announced today the addition of a new Nearby feature designed to help users discover articles about subjects relevant to their location. It’s available for both mobile and desktop.
The feature not only will help users discover interesting things about the area around them, however. It will also help the foundation improve Wikipedia, by calling on those most familiar with particular subjects to add to the articles.
“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,” says Wikimedia Foundation mobile software engineer Jon Robson. “As a first pass, the mobile team has focused on using the Nearby page to surfaces articles in close proximity that lack images, inviting users to add one. Upon visiting those pages, the user will be prompted to illustrate the article, which they can do quickly and easily if they’re on a mobile device that supports taking and uploading photos.”
“In the future, we envision this as a useful step in the editing onboarding process, helping new users learn about editing by encouraging them to improve an article on a topic nearby,” says Robson.
This follows a feature released earlier this year, which lets you upload photos from your mobile device, as well as the separate launch of a Wikimedia Commons app for Android and iOS.
The Nearby feature is in beta.