Difference between revisions of "Wikitravel:Regions map Expedition"
Revision as of 23:36, 13 January 2011
If you'd like to join the effort, please add your signature to the section below!
Wiki articles, perhaps surprisingly, develop over time into something coherent, most often without any systematic management. Unfortunately, content organization does not. The Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy is an ideal way to organize Wikitravel destination guides, but the organic process that lends itself well to travel writing does not always work so well for the subdivision of our region articles. Ad hoc subdivisions often overlap, and even serious efforts to subdivide regions can fall afoul of the complexity of the task.
Regions maps (like, for example, this one) solve the problems inherent in dividing geographical units. They make clear to readers and contributors where the exact boundaries of regions fall, and crucially, they help us avoid the problem of overlap.
The main goal of the Regions Map Expedition is to create regions maps for all articles that have subregions. In pursuit of this goal we will:
Achieving this goal will not happen any time soon, so we have a more narrow current focus: to finish creating regions maps for all articles within specific categories of articles that already have a significant amount of regions maps created (e.g., U.S. states). If there is a category of articles you would like to add to the lists below, please bring it up on the talk page.
A secondary goal of the Expedition is to encourage the development of standards in regions maps. In pursuit of this goal we should:
To keep our maps somewhat similar, it's necessary that we use similar colors and icons. Hence this template. The template contains the items explained on the right, all in one layer in a simple svg file. To use it in a new map (or an existing one), just import it to the desired svg, under a layer of your choosing
All of our maps will need to come from somewhere, so you'll need to find a base bitmap or SVG image from which to create the Wikitravel-style map. The best source of maps in the Public Domain is the Perry Castañeda Collection  of maps created by the U.S. Government (mostly by the CIA).
Wikimedia Commons also has a wealth maps in the Public Domain and under other CC-compatible licenses, all of them conveniently sorted into categories, e.g., wmc:Category:Maps of Taiwan. Many of the maps available on Commons are already in SVG form, saving our mapmakers some tracing work.
The other very useful site to keep in mind is OpenStreetMap , which can provide great base bitmaps and SVGs (using the site's export function—choose Mapnik → SVG), particularly for smaller regions.
UN maps  are exceptionally helpful for country maps, as you can import their pdf files directly into Inkscape, which will convert the map to SVG form! Much of the map will be borderline useless, especially all text, but this is a great way to get a free country outline + roads, rail, and lakes/rivers without having to do any tracing. It's easiest to find (ctrl+f) the paths you want to save (identify them by style from the XML editor (ctrl+x)) and move them to a separate layer. When done moving the useful paths, delete the original layer.
Different maps will have different needs, but the basic 11-color palette on the Regions Map Template works pretty well. For maps with a lot of detail, however, lower saturation colors may be necessary. See discussion for ideas.
It is always nice to include official route shields on maps. Below is a collection of editable collections of the most basic route shields by country:
Note: to find route shields not available here, check Wikitravel:Route icons. When you find them, please create a basic svg collection and link it here!
Ease of translation
A major goal here is that the maps we create be easy to translate into other languages. To do so:
What to include
A "star-quality" regions map will include all of the following, but anything is far better than nothing! Don't be intimidated by all the guidelines—plunge forward and try creating a map with just the regions and major cities shown; consider whether you want to go further along these guidelines afterward.
We recommend mapmakers add the regionlist template to articles containing a regions map, to automatically display regions and their corresponding map colors in a standard format. To see how the template is used, and how the syntax works, check the Africa page for an example. If you have any questions regarding how to use this template, please feel free to ask an expedition member.
Articles lacking regions maps
Below is a quick list of regions currently lack region maps. Especially egregious examples are bolded.
If you are working on one, please add your name (~~~~) to the country/state you are working on, to let others know someone's taking care of it!
If you come across a good map base, that is, a good source for tracing that is compatible with our Copyleft, please add a link to it next to the article title below.