[Foundation-l] NEH grant

Aude audevivere at gmail.com
Sun Jan 14 18:06:06 UTC 2007

Getting wiki to be able to handle geographic areas/features would begin to
make mapping Wikipedia content more useful and increase the potential for
integrating it with other geographic information - such as old historic maps
and materials held by map libraries, government data, and gps data .  The
historic maps would be available in a more accessible form for the public,
and allow us to perhaps use certain historic maps from one map library,
others from other archives/libraries, and combined with other geographic
information and wikicontent.  People could find material more easily to use
for articles.

We could possibly develop a "map generator" that adds value, extract, and
synthesizes information from the historic maps and other data.  People could
make maps and use them with articles, and/or add "atlas" type pages
somewhere (on commons, on wikipedia, somewhere) to augment articles, and the
wiki format would allow people to add descriptive information and
collaborate.  That, in turn, would allow us to develop "atlas" type material
about particular places.

Maybe as a pilot project effort, we could (1) pick one or two places (2) see
what historic maps and other material would be useful for that place, and
find basic base map data (3) develop a way for mediawiki to handle
area/polygon geospatial data (gml files?) (4) make a set of historic maps
for those particular places more available as an article supplement (5) make
some thematic maps for the place, using information derived from the
historic maps and other sources.

Another thing the libraries likely have is historic census data, which can
often be mapped out in thematic maps.  So, not just their map holdings but
other records and material they have could be useful.  I think that Penn
State would be willing to work with us - I know folks there and they have
done innovative things with GIS.

The benefit to the library/archive would be that their materials are
available to the public in a more accessible way.  Wikipedia tends to
"summarize" things, and as always there would be links to the references and
sources used for people that want more details beyond our summaries.


On 1/13/07, Brianna Laugher <brianna.laugher at gmail.com> wrote:
> Aude, I will look a bit at your GIS links, but remember that they
> specifically won't fund projects that are only digitising existing
> collections. Quote: "We encourage projects that explore new ways to
> share, examine, and interpret humanities collections in a digital
> environment and to develop new uses and audiences for existing digital
> resources." Hm... actually some kind of GIS project might work well,
> especially if it making them more accessible. OK, two things to think
> about: What will the benefit to a potential partner be? Anything
> besides a credit acknowledgement? Secondly how would such a project
> exploit the benefits of using a wiki? Or would it not at all?
> cheers,
> Brianna
> On 13/01/07, Aude <audevivere at gmail.com> wrote:
> > One of the greatest shortcomings I see with Wikipedia and Wikimedia
> projects
> > is with our use of maps and geospatial data.  I have seen ideas here and
> > there on this mailing list and other places, but it's a big issue to
> work
> > through.
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