The Wikimedia Foundation has announced the launch of a new GeoData extension to usher in “a new age of geotagging on Wikipedia”. Roughly translated, Wikipedia will be getting a lot more useful at the location level.
The extension for MediaWiki adds coordinates to articles to be stored separately in the database, as opposed to in wiki markup, which the foundation says makes it easy to query the coordinates of a particular page or a list of pages around a set of coordinates. The functionality will also be available via the API, so developers can utilize it in their apps.
“One of the first major uses of GeoData information will be in the experimental mode of the Wikipedia mobile site, which will allow beta users to see a list of nearby articles,” explains the Wikimedia Foundation’s Max Semenik. “We expect to release this feature into our experimental mode in the coming weeks. In the future, we also hope to build this functionality into our contribution tools: for instance, we’d like to be able to show users a map of articles needing images near their location, so that they can easily take and upload photos of subjects around them missing an illustration.”
The functionality will be supported by all Wikipedia and Wikivoyage sites. Wikipedia in English, German, Simple English and Chinese are already using it.
More on the technical side of things in this blog post.