[OpenLayers-Dev] Wikipedia to integrate OSM and OpenLayers

Aude (Kate) maps2wiki at gmail.com
Wed Apr 8 12:36:18 EDT 2009

Wikimedia is actively developing a MediaWiki extension, improving upon
various existing extensions, to allow integration of OpenStreetMap and
other map sources (e.g. WorldWind).  The extension will utilize
OpenLayers to help facilitate things.  We are also setting up an
infrastructure to host our own copy of the OSM planet data files,
along with our own rendering and tile caching, so that we can handle
the large expected demand and server loads.

I'm one of the main developers on the project.  As we proceed, we
likely want to make some contributions or tweaks to the main
OpenLayers code, if there are some aspects that don't quite meet our


PS - below is an article describing the project that was published in
this week's Wikipedia Signpost on the English Wikipedia.

Interactive OpenStreetMap features in development


By Aude, 6 April 2009

A new initiative is underway to make OpenStreetMap available as
interactive maps within Wikipedia. OpenStreetMap is a collaborative
project to create free, open source street map data, mostly generated
from user-submitted GPS tracks. To get the project going, Wikimedia
Deutschland (WM-DE, the German Chapter of Wikimedia) is providing
€15,000 (~$20,000) for a map toolserver, which will be a place for the
project team to setup a prototype infrastructure and for developing
other mapping-related ideas.

The maps will be integrated into Wikipedia pages that have
coordinates. The default option will be to have a link in the
coordinates template that allows the maps to pop up and expand,
similar to how the WikiMiniAtlas currently works. There will also be a
tag (e.g. <map>) that can be used (with parameters) to place an
individual inline map in an article or infobox. The map will be
rendered as a .png static map, which works whether or not the reader
has JavaScript enabled, and the static map images can be cached. If
the reader does have JavaScript enabled, then they will also be able
to click on the map and interact—zoom, pan, etc.—similar to how Google
Maps works. The dynamic maps work by displaying map tiles, which are
.png images and also can easily be cached.

Wikimedia Deutschland is providing three servers: one that can host an
independent copy of the OpenStreetMap planet.osm data; another for
rendering and tile caching; and a third server for developing new
applications and other mapping ideas, tools, and uses for
OpenStreetMap data. With this setup, the project team can determine
the exact technical setup that would be needed for deployment on the
main Wikimedia production servers. Another part of the project is to
develop a MediaWiki extension, expanding upon the existing SlippyMap,
Simple image, and other extensions, making them robust and very
reliable, and working to make the whole map system usable and
well-integrated with Wikipedia.

The plan is to get the maps ready for implementation on English and
other language Wikipedia versions as quickly as possible; developers
hope to have mapping ready for deployment by the time of the Wikimania
conference at the end of August 2009. The initial implementation will
be kept simple, just focused on OpenStreetMap. Once the maps are
working, there are many possibilities to improve them, such as
integrating satellite imagery from NASA World Wind and adding map
icons showing the location of Wikipedia articles. At some point the
project developers would also like to provide a number of different
map style options, as a street map is not a good fit for all types of
articles (e.g. showing bird species ranges and migration patterns).

See also


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