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Hi, my name is Chris Thomas, and I and my friend Wilson Stockman, have been working on website, Mapedia, that combines a Wiki and a Map with History and Culture. The idea is to build a Wiki map, that focusses on the culture and history of locations, rather than on where you can buy a latte or whatnot. We have spent the last year or so working on a feature of Mapedia that kind of side-tracked us somewhat. We have created a system that allows us to show Wikipedia articles, with a location, on our map. Getting a list of these articles was easy enough, but then we needed to write a way to link their categorisation with ours. This, combined with making the system work well with 20,000+ articles (there ARE a lot of articles on Wikipedia) took the best part of a year. But it is working now, and so, I am pleased to ask you to check out our Architecture map. The sites URL is...
So, a quick explanation of how itworks, its pretty simple. On the left is a button Pick Location Type that allows you to choose the type of location you are interested in. Right now we only have one Type, Architecture, in the Topic History & Heritage. To its right is a text box where you can type in a Location. Then to its right is theSearch button. Just press that to do a Search and see some results. Those are the basics….
Beyond that, to the right of the Search button are two drop down menus of Options. These vary for each Topic/Type, but in this case they are filters for the buildings on the map, by their Use, Architectural period, Their status, listing buildings say, and if they are Skyscrapers and so on. These Options can be used simply to filter the shown results down, and also combined. Lets say you look at New York. You can choose Period: Art Deco and combine it with Skyscraper to only display Art Deco skyscrapers. We have even reflected the hight categorisation here, so you can filter by the hight of Skyscraper.
A little more info on the user interface. You can drag the Blue circular C icon around on the map, to change the centre of the search, and the green R icon, to change the Searches radius. There is a slider on the search bar as well, that allows you to adjust the Radius. As you move the search around with the C icon, the Filter stays in place, so you can look around the map for that item you are interested in.Please give the map a try, we think it is the perfect way to discover buildings around your location, or indeed anywhere worldwide. Its a work in progress, so of course we would love to hear any feedback you guys have.
Neat. Congrats! You've already contributed more to this world than the vast majority of the people on this site ever will.
I'm interested in how you justify using this website over standard Google Earth/Maps with "location" markers that will lead you to Wikipedia articles. This just seems like its cutting down an extra button click or two, which I don't think is enough to convince people to go here over the already-embedded-in-our-brains Google. The big advantage I see is that you can look up buildings by categories.
Keep it up!
"I'm interested in how you justify using this website over standard Google Earth/Maps with 'location' markers that will lead you to Wikipedia articles."
Well, Mapedia is actually a Wiki as well as being a map. Our original design was that these maps would be based on a blank canvas, and we would ask our users to add locations. The problem is, a blank map, is not really that interesting. So, we hit on the idea of manifesting Wikipedia's own articles, those with locations at least, on our map. Think of these locations as seeds. Look for buildings in your area, does our map have ALL of the locations of note? I know it does not where I live, no-where near. So this is where our Wiki system comes in. People can add locations, give them descriptions, add images, comments and so on.
We are still working on how to reconcile our original Wiki system, with the Wikipedia articles that we host. Our current thinking is something symbiotic. Where a user can go to Wikipedia and request for an article to be added to one of our maps. Or indeed, to take one of our native locations, something that ONLY exists on Mapedia, and submit it for publication on Wikipedia. We hope that in this way, a virtuous circle could be established.
"This just seems like its cutting down an extra button click or two, which I don't think is enough to convince people to go here over the already-embedded-in-our-brains Google."
Mapedia's aim is to help us map out the culture, history, art and character of our environment. The Architecture is just a start, one facet of what we can do. Future maps will deal with facets of history, science and so on. Its a way of discovering what happened near where you live, the great buildings near by, the battles that took place in a local field. the scientific breakthroughs and so on. Google tends to focus on where to buy bread, or petrol and of course, that has its place too, but its not where Mapedia is heading.
"The big advantage I see is that you can look up buildings by categories."
Yes, the power of Mapedia is in its Categorisation system. We start with top level Topics, in this case History & Heritage, and then we have suitable Types within that Topic, such as Architecture. Our next map will be on Prehistory, and another on World War II. Within each Topic, we set a number of Options, and these allow you to filter down the results of your search in a very atomic manner. So really when you are looking for a location you have this structure to focus down your Search.
Topic > Type : Options
History & Heritage > Architecture : Gothic Revival + Religious & Spiritual +
This is a still an evolving system, but we think it works pretty well right now. Any feedback would be welcome of course.
I can see it's benefit over Google Maps/Earth. It's clean and clear. The one thing that I noticed was an inconsistency in your border-radius. Some corners are rounded and then others aren't. (found | visible button has only one rounded corner, Map overflows the rounded corners on the right)
Yes, the map will not adhere to visibility:hidden as you would expect. The corners of its container ARE rounded, and its container is set to overflow:hidden, and yet.. you see the corners. Seems to be a quirk of Google Maps. We have little control over it, apart from the API. So right now, thats the best we can do in terms of that issue.
Apart from rounded corners, do you have any comments on the content of the site. The buildings, how they are classified. Would you like to see anything changed, or added?