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 also link to Wikipedia articles from within the OSM map data.
  • There are Wikipedia articles about OpenStreetMap  in English and in many other languages.

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 article about OpenStreetMap on Wikipedia.

Illustrating Wikipedia articles with rendered maps

This is the main area where there's lots of obvious potential. Thousands of map images based on OSM have already been uploaded and are being used to illustrate Wikipedia 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. Templates such as Template:OpenStreetMap can help with that. 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: Help:OpenStreetMap on Wikipedia 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 on Wikipedia and you can use this map also as standalone WP-on-OSM map.

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.

When accessing GeoHack from an English Wikipedia article (example), the tool lists various links to both OpenStreetMap and OpenHistoricalMap.

Quick links to OSM

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


WIWOSM is a project to show for a Wikipedia article geometric objects from OSM by using tag wikidata=* (wikipedia=* also still works).


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

Wikipedia articles in the map

Wikipedia articles in the map

The website OpenSeaMap links worldwide 1.7 Millions 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.

On Android devices you can use AndroidGeo2ArticlesMap to see articles from wikipedia and wikivoyage in an interactive map near a given location provided by OsmAnd and many other geo-aware apps.

Linking between OSM data and Wikimedia wikis

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}} (where Q64 is a wikidata item identifer — Q64 = Berlin) to add a link to a Wikidata item, from an OSM wiki page. This renders as: Q64

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

See also the Wikidata article.

Linking from Wikipedia to OSM data

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 (OpenStreetmap data rendered on Wikimedia tile servers, along with additional Wikimedia-specific layers pointing to geolocated articles and medias) 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").

Linking to Wikipedia articles or other Wikimedia projects from OSM data

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

See wikidata=* and 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 (only for Italy) can be used to identify some nodes which need links.

You can also link to Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, using wikimedia_commons=*.

Using pictures from Wikimedia Commons for tag description/Map Features page on this wiki

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 the OSM community applies more strict criteria regarding derivative works.

As well, images found in Wikipedia but not in Wikimedia Commons may be ineligible for Wikimedia Commons due to their licence: Wikimedia Commons is more restrictive than Wikipedia in frequent cases, notably because English Wikipedia allows "fair use" of trademarks according to the US law (and permitted only to illustrate the directly related articles in English Wikipedia for simple citation purpose), but this is not permitted in Wikimedia Commons. These Wikipedia images are not accessible directly from this OSM wiki (and should not be reimported on this OSM wiki or in Wikimedia Commons, without first checking their actual licence or getting a permission from the legitimate rights owner to republish it under CC-BY-SA on Wikimedia Commons or on this OSM wiki).

Geodata import/exports with Wikimedia projects

Exporting OSM geodata to Wikipedia

 The English Wikipedia explicitly encourages to use locations from OSM in articles.

They encourage also to use sources we are not allowed to use (e.g. Google Maps) because Wikimedia Foundation has a different opinion in regard with copyright. They claim that their project is no database and therefore they do not have to care for database rights. In addition  sui generis database right is not recognized in USA.

Importing geodata from Wikipedia into OSM

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,  Wikipedia encourages to derive coordinates from sources which we are not allowed to use (e.g. Google Maps).

We are much stricter on copyright than the Wikimedia Foundation because  sui generis database right is recognized in United Kingdom (unlike USA), OpenStreetMap should be useable all over the world, and OpenStreetMap has no project to explore the grey areas of copyright. For this reason, it is an established principle in OpenStreetMap that we don't import geodata from Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is also licensed under CC-BY-SA which is not compatible for import in OSM.

Overall, it is not possible and acceptable to import data from Wikipedia and all such imports should be reverted as a copyright violation.

Note that one is still allowed to add the same information to both Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap, both are using nonexclusive licenses.


See Wikidata#Importing_data

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 or any leading path starting by / (such as /wiki/ or /w/index.php), 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 Wikipedia 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 displayed title).

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 {{OSM user|username}} on your Wikipedia user page.
  • To identify yourself as a Wikipedia editor on OSM, place {{Wikipedia user|lang|username}} 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.


The  OpenStreetMap-Wikimedia cooperation began in 2009. A server was installed with OSM stuff inside Wikimedia cluster (toolserver). The  Wikimedia Toolserver was replaced by  Wikimedia Cloud Services (formerly known as Wikimedia Labs) and the original toolserver was shut down on 1 July 2014.

Notes and references

Further reading

See also