Collaboration with Wikipedia

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Wikipedia the free encyclopaedia, has been an inspiration for many design aspects of OpenStreetMap, but it also offers a lot of scope for cross-project collaboration.

  • There is obvious immediate potential for illustrating Wikipedia articles with rendered maps (This is the main area to focus on)
  • We already link from OSM wiki to Wikipedia
  • There is already a certain amount of linking from Wikipedia to OSM
  • We could also link to Wikipedia articles from within the OSM map data
  • There are Wikipedia articles about OpenStreetMap in English and in many other languages

The OpenStreetMap-Wikimedia cooperation began in 2009. A server was installed with OSM stuff inside Wikimedia cluster (toolserver). Most active are the mailing list maps-l and Toolserver-Wiki .

Why collaborate?

OpenStreetMap stands to benefit. We increase awareness and drive user traffic to OSM. Ultimately we want people to use OpenStreetMap, but at this stage we are particularly interested in attracting more mappers and more developers.

Wikipedia stands to benefit. Linking to street maps is all very well, but a lot of articles about places can be enhanced by having map images embedded alongside the text. OpenStreetMap is the best way to do this, while still presenting only open licensed content on the page -- in fact, it's almost the only way.

Wikipedia WikiProject

There is an (inactive) WikiProject page on Wikipedia which should provide guidance to Wikipedians on how to create map images for use in Wikipedia articles. Hopefully this process will be easy enough to be followed for many Wikipedia articles.

That page also describes a number of useful templates within Wikipedia, e.g. for labelling OpenStreetMap map images, and also categories that relate to OpenStreetMap.

Note the project page is in addition to the actual Wikipedia article about OpenStreetMap.

Illustrating Wikipedia articles with rendered maps

This is the main area where there's lots of obvious potential. We should get onto Wikipedia and upload images to illustrate some of the articles describing places.

Wikipedians will take offense if we plaster lots of low quality images on there. Obviously we need to pick only areas where we have achieved a good level of mapping coverage, and where the rendering comes out well to produced maps which are actually useful. Note that we can upload quite large images, but it is preferred that an image looks good and is useful in its thumbnailed form, appearing on the article page itself. For maps this might mean the street name text should be readable in the thumbnail. That is actually quite a tricky restriction to work with (pick zoom level and thumbnail size carefully)

The image description page for any such image, must attribute the image to OpenStreetMap and link to our copyright page. This is also a good place to provide good links to openstreetmap. See #Linking from Wikipedia to OSM below.

Attribution requirement

Map images from OSM are covered by the OpenStreetMap License, and so require attribution. More general details can be found on the Legal FAQ.

Technical enhancement to Wikipedia

Wikipedia supports:

Several other MediaWiki extensions are available, for example:

There are also tool, like:


At the German Wikipedia and others (no.wp, fr.wp and ru.wp) it is now possible for everyone to open an OSM iframe in each article which have a coordinate. See: Wikipedia:Help:OpenStreetMap and follow the mailing list maps-l mailing list. This feature shows Wikipedia articles on the OSM map. This data comes from Wikipedia-World-Project and you can use this map also as standalone WP-on-OSM map.


WIWOSM is a project to show for a wikipedia article geometric objects from OSM by using key:wikidata. key:wikipedia also still works.

Geohack for OSM

With Geohack for OSM we link to many OSM-maps for one place. This page is accessible from Wikipedia over the normal geohack and over the OSM-Wiki.

Query-to- map

See Query-to-map. The next step would be the inclusion of an openlayers element with special paths into the mediawiki.

Quick links to OSM

See quick links to Google Maps, Yandex Maps and OpenStreetMap from Template:Coord in Russian Wikipedia.

Wikipedia articles in the map

Wikipedia articles in the map

OpenSeaMap links worldwide 1.7 mio. Wikipedia-articles directly in the map. Concerning to the browser options, articles will be displayed automatic in the corresponding language and writing system. Actually there are 285 languages. Optionally the articles can also be displayed as photo gallery (ichoose in the menue "Display" the display as "Thumbnails"). By mouse over you will get a popup with the title of the article and a informative picture. By click you jump directly to the corresponding Wikipedia-article.

Link from OSM wiki to Wikipedia

We already do this on many of our Places pages (pages linked from the Mapping projects page).

Many of them using Template:Place, which includes a Wikipedia link. In other cases we should just add a link in the text.

Use {{Q|Q64}} (i.e. use Template:Q) (where Q64 is a wikidata item ID - Q64 = Berlin) to add a link to a Wikidata item, from an OSM wiki page. This renders as: Q64

Use [[wikipedia:article]] or [[wikipedia:lang:article]] syntax to add a Wikipedia link in OSM wiki.

Linking from Wikipedia to OSM

Coordinates hosted on Wikidata items are reused by various templates and "parser functions" in linked Wikipedia articles in any language.

Since 2016, the most impactful is the "mapframe" and "maplink" function, which integrates a dynamic map directly into the article and has been used for hundreds of thousands of articles across Wikipedias. See w:mw:Help:Extension:Kartographer for more.

The "coord" template that allows displaying links showing coordinates at the top of the article page. One of this link will bring you to a generic page allowing you to search the location on various mapping services (including OpenStreetmap), and another link showing a slippy map (rendered on Wikimedia tile servers) within a closable panel appearing directly on top of the article itself. Other templates may be inserted to show other coordinates for other more specific locations discussed in the body of the article, that will link to the generic page for choosing your online mapping service.

Logged on users on Wikipedia may also configure their account to avoid the generic selection page and display directly the map on the mapping service of their choice (there are plugins available for this that users may activate in their own Wikipedia account preferences), or create their own personal extension (using javascript stored in their own personal subpages, and named according to their selected skin (such as "Special:Userpage/Vector.js" or "Special:Userpage/Monobook.js").

Link to Wikipedia articles from within the OSM map data

We can link features of the map (especially "Place" nodes) to Wikipedia articles.

See key:wikidata. Key:wikipedia also works.

How these links might be rendered/used, is a something people can decide on their own external projects/websites. The obvious use would be 'pins' with links on a Slippy Map. For Wikipedia it would be interesting to draw the real OSM-objects (that were linked to Wikipedia-article) in a map inside the Wikipedia-article.

Other usages will be translations by using Wikipedia Interwikilinks or to exchange other data.

A tool to create such links is JOSM/Plugins/RemoteControl/Add-tags. wtosm aka wikipedia-to-OSM can be used to identify some nodes which need links.

You can also link to Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, using Key:wikimedia_commons.

Using pictures from Wikipedia for tag description/Map_Features

Auto importing of images from Wikimedia commons is enabled on this wiki. With the usual [[File:Example.jpg|thumb|example description text]] you can use any image from the Wikimedia's "Commons" repository, then it gets used within the wiki – complete with remote image description details. You can use pictures from Wikipedia if the license is Public Domain or CC-BY as well as CC-BY-SA. Simply reference the name of an image if it is in commons. Other images can be uploaded explicitly, but you must copy the license text and the original author's name onto our wiki image description page. A link to the original picture is also required.

Note: The license of the OSM-Wiki is CC-BY-SA, and we have more strict community acceptance criteria regarding map images. You are NOT allowed to use pictures with GNU-License like GFDL or GPL. In this case you can contact the author and ask if he wants to make his picture available in CC-BY-SA for osm. You should probably not use any map image from Wikimedia, even where they are pronounced cc-by-sa on Wikipedia, because this community applies more strict criteria regarding derivative works.

Importing geodata from Wikipedia

Wikipedia articles are often geocoded, and it has been suggested a number of times that we should import data from wikipedia (for example, using the pages on villages in a particular country to add place=village nodes). However, it is believed that a proportion of wikipedia's coordinate data is derived from Google Maps, and so isn't actually available under the stated license. For this reason, it is an established principle in OpenStreetMap that we don't import geodata from wikipedia.

There seems a high potential to use the interwikilinks of Wikipedia to translate geographical objects in different languages. Also other data like the population of a city could be checked with help of Wikipedia. For such a usage there should be no legal problems.

Importing geodata to Wikipedia

English Wikipedia explicitly encourages to use locations from OSM in articles (see w:Wikipedia:Obtaining geographic coordinates#OpenStreetMap). This is possible because OSM data is explicitly opendata and its licence is compatible with imports to Wikipedia.

The reverse however is not true: Wikipedia is licensed under CC-BY-SA which is not compatible for import in OSM. That import may only be initiated by the Wikipedia contributor that added this data to Wikipedia.

However Wikipedia also encourages to place geolocated data in Wikidata, whose licence CC0 is compatible with OSM. However the export of OSM to Wikidata is not possible (this would violate OSM terms): we have the reverse situation. So the direction of possible exports are:

  • from Wikidata (CC0) directly to Wikipedia (CC-BY-SA) - this adds a required attribution (you should mention the source), and the share-alike restriction for reuses (under CC-BY-SA terms only)
  • from Wikidata (CC0) to OSM (ODbL) - this adds a required attribution (you should mention the source), and the share-alike restriction with database adhoc terms (under ODbL only)
    • the reverse is not possible without relicencing by OSM authors (even if the OSM authors are credited), as this removes the ODbL requirements.
  • from OSM (ODbL) to Wikipedia (CC-BY-SA) - only permitted on each Wikipedia project according to their local policies about acceptable licences (you must preserve the attribution and ODbL terms)
    • the reverse is not possible without relicencing by Wikipedia authors (even if the Wikipedia authors are credited), as this removes the CC-BY-SA requirements.

The exports from Wikipedia to Wikidata requires relicensing but problematic even if many Wikipedia users do that frequently. However it permitted only by collective decision allowing such relicensing (this applies to mass exports from Wikipedia to Wikidata). Individual exports from Wikipedia to Wikidata is permitted only for normal edits by individual users, it is not OK to import geodata from OSM to Wikipedia and later import this geodata from Wikipedia to Wikidata.

This means that Wikidata could become the only source really universal for both Wikipedia and OSM. Now there remains the question of exports from OSM to Wikidata: this is not possible without again changing OSM licence, this time frm ODbL to CC0 lacking any protection.

  • This means that when we'll import from Wikidata (CC0) to OSM (ODbL), we may actually import data that was originally from Wikipedia. But it's not the fault of OSM if the initial Wikipedia authors are not credited and CC-BY-SA terms are not present in Wikidata.
  • Normally Wikipedia authors must not import from Wikipedia to Wikidata any data that they did not contribute themselves to Wikipedia, for all other cases they should only submit their own data directly to Wikidata, or ask permission for relicencing from Wikipedia to Wikidata; and it's up to Wikimedia to enforce this policy on Wikidata (where imports should be strictly controled and cannot be made massively by unauthorized bots).
  • If Wikimedia enforces the Wikdiata policies, it may happen that some imports from Wikipedia to Wikidata were canceled and redacted as there was a violation of Wikipedia terms (by not asking for permission to the relevant Wikipedia community after following the Wikipedia guidelines and policies). If it ever happens when we have already legally imported Wikidata to OSM, we'll have first (in OSM) to notice the removal/redaction of data in Wikidata (but we won't be notified if we do not inform Wikidata that we have imported legally their data in OSM in good faith). If we are notified by Wikidata that such redaction occured, we'll have to also delete/redact the data imported into OSM from Wikidata because of the violation of Wikipedia terms (made by someone else). But we are still in a good position. Wikidata is intended to be freeely reusable and without having to follow or being notified of any such removal/redaction event that occured in Wikidata. The import from OSM to Wikidata was valid according to Wikidata's own terms.
  • It may also happen that data was imported first illegally to Wikipedia under a copyright violation (not detected immediately by Wikimedia before it was later reimported to Wikidata). When this happens, Wikimedia will delete/redact both Wikipedia and Wikidata when they notice this copyvio, but we could be left uninformed if we also reimported these problematic data from Wikidata that were initially in "copyvio" situation in Wikipedia. Once again, if there are damages against third parties, the legal fault comes primarily to the initial Wikipedia user, but Wikimedia will still assume its own responsability if Wikimedia is constrained to execute a deletion/redaction by a legal order. We (at OSM) may also receive as well a similar request from the same third parties, but the OSM importer would not be faulty and can legitimately assume good faith when there was at the time it was done, valid CC0 terms for these data.
  • Ideally, Wikimedia should inform OSM if it detects problematic geolocated data in Wikidata, that could have been legitimately reimported to OSM, but we should have a permanent and trusted point of contact from Wikimedia to OSM to receive early notifications, before even we get a legal order from a third party that could claim damages to OSM.

Data checking

Find malformed or not found wikipedia tags

The rule is that the value of a wikipedia=* tag must not be a full URL (starting by http:// or https://), it must not contain the domain name and leading path (/wiki/), and it must not be URL-encoded (it should not contain any underscore, or UTF-8 encoded bytes represented by %nn hexadecimal values).

It must be prefixed by a language code (the supported codes are those used on Wikipedia for its interwiki links, and in a few remaining cases this code does not match a standard BCP47 language code used as suffixes for tags like name:*=* : not all possible language supported in BCP47 are supported for Wikipedia linguistic edition codes, because there's currently no defined Wikipedia edition for that language). Many (but not all) of these Wikiepdia language codes are 2 or 3 lowercase ASCII letters. The language code must be followed by a colon (:) and then by the actual name of the article, without substitution of spaces as underscores (don't copy the final part of the URL, use the effective name of the article page, normally shown at the top of the rendered page (sometimes, for technical reasons, the effective article name is different from the title displayed because the article name cannot contain a few reserved characters, and the title displayed has been replaced by a special template to change the displayed title ; these cases are extremely exceptional on Wikipedia and are usually signaled by a small notice below the display titled).

If the article is on the English edition of Wikipedia, use the "en:" language prefix explicitly before the article name (often the article may be found on English Wikipedia with the supplied name, but there's no warranty that it will match the actual location, as the language code may have been forgotten and could bring to a desambiguation page at best, or to an article speaking about a location elsewhere in the world with the same name).

The value may also supply an optional anchor pointing to a location within the article page, by appending an hash character (#) followed by the effective title of a section heading (here also there must be no underscores - use regular spaces instead -, and the heading must not be anchor-encoded). Alternatively, you may also specify an anchor matching the value of an HTML id attribute (in that case use the identifier as it is encoded within the article rendered in HTML): this may be useful if there are several identical subheadings in a long Wikipedia article (in the Wikipedia article, make sure this supplied id is readable, unique within the rendered page, and that it does not contain any space or underscore ; these additional anchor identifiers should preferably only contain letters, digits, and punctuations).

Identifying users

  • To identify yourself as an OSM editor on Wikipedia, place {{User OSM}} on your Wikipedia user page.
  • To identify yourself as a Wikipedia editor on OSM, place {{Wikipedia user}} on your OSM wiki user page, with the Wikipedia's language and your Wikipedia username, thus: {{Wikipedia user|en|Pigsonthewing}}.
  • To find other Wikipedia editors on this OSM wiki, see Category:Wikipedians.

See also