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::::::It is probably the first time I have come across a colour coded bottom level region as well. But it does work well I think. Showing city boundaries can't be unhelpful.--[[User:Burmesedays|Burmesedays]] 10:10, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
 
::::::It is probably the first time I have come across a colour coded bottom level region as well. But it does work well I think. Showing city boundaries can't be unhelpful.--[[User:Burmesedays|Burmesedays]] 10:10, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
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:::::If we can come up with a good name for 4, that would be my preferred option. I thought "Destinations" could work (i.e., combining Regions, Cities and Other Destinations), although I could see it creating long lists. After that, my preferred options are 3, then 2, and then 1. [[User:Shaund|Shaund]] 12:01, 6 August 2011 (EDT)

Revision as of 16:05, 6 August 2011

Contents

Additional goals

I offer to extend the expedition with additional goals:

  • to translate map to other languages
  • to find not copyrighted geo data

-- Sergey kudryavtsev 02:08, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

I think your first suggestion (translation) is probably beyond our scope here, since it is an English-version Expedition, and most contributors here have only limited knowledge of other languages. My feeling is that interested users from other language versions should just check Wikitravel Shared, to see if there are regions maps of interest that they could translate.
I definitely agree, though, with your second proposal. Just finding a good base for map traces can be a pain, so if someone sees a good one, they should put a link next to the article name in the lists. I'll add a note on the Expedition page about this. --Peter Talk 03:36, 1 August 2008 (EDT)
A map is easy thing to translte. The map makers should always keep a translation ability in their minds. I suggest to publish maps in a easy translatable form (single svg with several language layers). One person draw English-labeled map (a difficult process), others may reupload map with their native language traslation added (a relatively easy process). -- Sergey kudryavtsev 04:49, 1 August 2008 (EDT)
Right. So one of the goals, then, is not to translate the map, but rather to "ensure that the maps can be easily translated." I think that's a legitimate goal for a single language project. LtPowers 09:05, 1 August 2008 (EDT)
Ah, understood—that should definitely be one of our developing standards for regions maps. The way I like to do things is to create an "en" subsection for all text layers. That makes it really easy to then create additional sublayers for each additional language, as they are translated. --Peter Talk 19:01, 2 August 2008 (EDT)
Wikimedia Commons has county locator maps for every U.S. state, in SVG format, and released into the public domain. I've used them to easily create the region maps for Florida, Vermont, and Rhode Island. Takes an hour or two, and most of that is figuring out which counties are in which regions, and locating the cities. LtPowers 09:05, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

Standards

Our region maps may never be completely consistent in style. To some extent, that's because different regions have different requirements. Nonetheless, we can establish some basic standards to try to lend a uniform look.

When I was modifying Peter's map for New York (state), my guide for color selection was the maps at Ohio and Texas. I like their look of a clean white map; with the states, I don't think we need the context of the border states so much. They also have a distinctive color scheme, using low-saturation, medium-luminosity colors that come out bold without being garish (as was the case with California's old map).

At the same time, though, the Texas and Ohio maps are almost too spare. I think a balance can be struck between the blankness of Ohio's map and the busy-ness of California's map, and I've tried to hit that with Florida, Rhode Island, and Vermont. (I've currently got Florida without the cities because it looked so darn cool, but I think the cities are needed and will probably be changing it soon.) Each one of those three is slightly different (Rhode Island in particular because its regions are its counties and they're not further subdivided), but I think they all are clearly "Wikitravel".

Thoughts?

-- LtPowers 09:38, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

1) I think it would be really worthwhile to come up with a standard color palette of some 15 colors that we'll stick to. It might be good to open a separate thread to work on this goal.
2) One clear way (in addition to including cities & linked other destinations) to make the regions maps less spare is to include relevant subregional boundaries (usually counties). They give extra context to help readers/contributors understand where to stick information. And I really like the aesthetic of the maps on New York (state) and Florida, for example, that have faint and thin white borders for subregions and bolder white boundaries for the top-level regions.
3) I agree re: showing border states for US states, and I really like the simplicity of leaving the "background" clear. But I know there are cases when showing bordering countries/regions is useful. The Russia map, for example, looks kind of bad without showing boundaries along Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It makes it hard to tell where major geographical features are (like the Caspian and the Black Sea), and the Kaliningrad exclave looks downright silly. Ditto for country regions that lie along long borders. For example, the Central Russia map really benefits from having border countries shown (even if the map isn't too nice), since visitors to Western Russia are pretty likely to also visit Belarus or Ukraine. --Peter Talk 19:24, 2 August 2008 (EDT)
Thoughts:
1) Perhaps, although I like having flexibility when choosing colors. 15 would still give a good amount of flexibility (if we have 15 subregions it's usually time to group them into superregions), but what I did with Rhode Island and Vermont was set a specific saturation and luminosity, then eyeball four or five hues that were sufficiently different from each other. It'd be easier if our eyes saw the colors the same way the computer does (the green hues are relatively hard for our eyes to distinguish from each other, for example).
3) Absolutely, most region maps should have context to them. That Russia map makes it look like an island, especially because it uses the "ocean" background all around. Perhaps this is my own national bias, but the U.S. states (and probably Canadian provinces, too) have such distinctive and well-known shapes that they don't need the context. I can understand, though, if consistency demands we include bordering areas for all region maps.
-- LtPowers 10:33, 3 August 2008 (EDT)

Font

Oh, and can we agree we should be using Blue Highway as the font for all maps? LtPowers 10:50, 3 August 2008 (EDT)

We're sort of in the middle of mapping turmoil at the moment, with new developments like Open Street Map that will change how we create maps, and Wikitravel Press which is changing a few ways in which we do things... unfortunately the map guideline pages that are currently around need serious updating and syncing, so apologize that you're arriving in mapland in the midst of that... but glad that you're here to help us sort it out! Re: font, we used to recommend Blue Highway, but recently have shifted to Bitstream Vera Sans... it prints much clearer when small, and is a native font to most operating systems. – cacahuate talk 16:46, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
In the midst? The discussion was almost a year ago, and buried in a section ostensibly about map colors. Are the color recommendations on that page wrong, too? Not to mention the fact that I find Bitstream Vera Sans rather unsightly and generic. Blue Highway at least has the advantage of being distinctive. LtPowers 20:35, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
Yes, as I said, a bit of turmoil. We once had a pretty clear map guide, with about 3 total users who knew how or were interested in drawing maps. Over the last year or so we've gained several new mapmakers, and a few things have happened that have started changing how people are doing things, and at the moment there's not one clear way; we're forging a bit of a new one right now... and Wikitravel:How to draw a map is getting pretty outdated in some ways. Soo... Jpatokal suggested we use Bitstream which works better for print. Peter and I, maybe more, seem to have adopted it ok, and there haven't been any complaints until now, but if you feel strongly about it, then well, keep using blue highway. As for colors, you should read that whole section here... at least some of it is likely to be worked into the how-to, and a new official map template that is still-to-be-created – cacahuate talk 21:35, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
The Blue Highway is a prettier font than Bitstream Vera Sans, but Bitstream Vera Sans (especially when bolded) is much clearer at small resolutions. But there's another problem—Bitstream Vera Sans doesn't have any additional alphabet support. That adds an extra step to linguistic translation that can eat up a lot of time when a map has any significant amount of text. So I'd recommend we use an identical derivative font that does: DejaVu Sans Bold. I don't know of a better font for our purposes, and would recommend we start using it for all our maps.
And yes, the color recommendations are kind of wrong too—we've sort of been moving towards Jani's recommendations (at least I've been using those colors, since I work for him ;) ). But that relates to city maps, which are beyond the scope of this Expedition (and are unresolved, since we'll probably move towards using auto-generated maps from OSM data, which will likely have a different color scheme by necessity). --Peter Talk 22:51, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
Well, I figured out why Vera Sans looks too generic to me -- it's very similar to the Windows typeface Verdana, which has been one of the default Windows fonts for about ten years now. In addition to their (or at least Verdana's) ubiquitousness, they also both have another, more significant, problem in my book: they are too wide. Words take up far too much space, especially so when used on a map, where space is precious. I just installed and tried DejaVu; DejaVu Sans Condensed is better, but I worry that it might still be too wide.
I did test Blue Highway and I agree it's hard to read below 7 points or so. Minimally, then, I'd recommend use of DejaVu Sans Condensed, though I personally would love to find a free-use typeface that's a little more distinctive.
--LtPowers 13:31, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
Totally agree – cacahuate talk 13:49, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
Why bold? I like it for some things like region names, but city names I think look better unbolded – cacahuate talk 00:32, 5 August 2008 (EDT)
Because the bolded fonts are much more readable at small resolutions. I suppose it would be fine to use unbolded text when it is very large on the map (like for bordering country names?), but I've gotten used to just switching between bold & bold/italic. --Peter Talk 01:23, 5 August 2008 (EDT)
I've gotta say, my dislike of bolded city names is growing... I really think it's overbearing and unecessary... if dejavu sans isn't printing clear enough at smaller resolutions then perhaps we haven't yet found the right font? – cacahuate talk 02:56, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
I think you have a point. On a crowded city map, the bolded names are just necessary to make it readable--to get the street names to stand out from all the various details around them. But on the regions maps, since they're the only real text around, they do look too overbearing. Time for some experimentation. --Peter Talk 03:03, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
There are limited font options available that are supported by Mediawiki, unfortunately. LtPowers 11:31, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm not a fan of the bolded city names either. I've been experimenting with bold-italicized city names and larger non-bolded region names on the current map I'm working on. It doesn't look as overpowering, although the map isn't finished yet, so that may change. Shaund 23:27, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Russia regions map normal font.png
Russia regions map stroked.png
Russia regions map bold font.png
Bold-italics are an idea, they do look less harsh than straight bold, but for me, they raise the question, "why italicized." That could just be unfamiliarity. The happy medium between bold and normal (where text is thick enough to be readable even over complex background, but doesn't look garish) is attainable, but only in a goofy way: select normal, then add a stroke fill and adjust the stroke wideness as desired. That's an ad hoc way to get it just right, but I'm not sure I want to recommend it in our standards sections—I'd like to keep things simpler than that. Maybe a request to the DejaVu font maintainer to create a middle-of-the road option for DejaVu Sans Compact? --Peter Talk 23:36, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
I think a request to the font maintainer is definitely in order! But I agree on italicizing -- I wouldn't be doing it in the first place if I wasn't trying to avoid the bold lettering. I might try the stroke fill/wideness method you mentioned to see how it works. It's a shame we can't specify boldness on 1-9 scale like you can in HTML/CSS. It would come in handy. Shaund 00:12, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Adding a stroke outline should probably be avoided; it messes with the shapes and spacing of the characters in perhaps undesirable ways. LtPowers 09:47, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
I haven't noticed any problems yet with using strokes on dejavu sans compact, but perhaps I haven't experimented enough to know. Anyway, I've put up an example of using stroke outlines on the normal font to achieve a balance of readability and aesthetics—the latest Russia map. We can send a request to the font maintainers here, although I myself will not, since I'm not sure how to frame the request (my tech literacy doesn't extend too far beyond wiki). --Peter Talk 19:53, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Using normal, unbolded fonts isn't out of the norm at all in cartography, I find them readable... Central America or SE Asia, for instance? – cacahuate talk 20:53, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Right, but those maps have way less going on than the Russia map to the right (and I still intend to put major highways on that one!). Since the city/other destination labels remain the most important feature on the map, I think it's important that they be instantly readable. To get the same result with the Russia map, I'd have to increase the font size significantly if I were to remove bold & the stroke outline. --Peter Talk 23:46, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
How about [1] and [2]? And my revised California... I have faith in you Peter! Squeeze the region names in there too! ;) – cacahuate talk 00:49, 4 September 2008 (EDT)
Those maps absolutely would not be readable in article on Wikitravel. And there's no way I can fit the region names on that map (try Kaliningrad Oblast!) Anyway, I put up two example maps showing what it looks like with normal font and with bold font (from normal to stroked to bold).
Seeing them together, I actually like the bolded better than the stroked version. But I'm torn—the city names are way easier to read when bolded, but they do overwhelm the other features. Perhaps the normal font would be workable, although that would probably require increasing map resolution in articles. --Peter Talk 19:43, 4 September 2008 (EDT)
I think the top one with unbolded looks way more harmonious and map-like... that's a beautiful map by the way... I'm still not convinced that maps have to be fully readable in article, If I were traveling across Russia I would definitely print that map as a full page regardless, but maybe that's just me. I really feel though that our top priority should be making awesome maps that rival any other guidebooks, and if turns out that they're also readable at 350-400px or whatever within an article, then it's a bonus, but I don't think we should form our guidelines around (at least what I see as) a secondary goal – cacahuate talk 20:41, 4 September 2008 (EDT)
A beautiful illustration of why using a stroke on the text is less than ideal. =) You can see how much it muddies the text compared to the bold. As for the other two options: I think it depends on the goal. If the goal is to show where the nine highlighted cities are, then the bolded version works best. If the goal is to show a map of the country/region, then the unbolded works best. LtPowers 21:22, 4 September 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, what's holding up this discussion is that we haven't yet seriously discussed the goals of our maps! --Peter Talk 00:31, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

I'm finally coming around on this one. That Russia map is still readable, and a good deal more nice looking, with the normal font. I'll try to keep using it on maps and see how it works for me. --Peter Talk 00:35, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

I'm a bit late on this discussion, but I'm also coming around to the normal font. Purely on looks, I like the second, but I agree that if the goal is to show a map of the country/region (I guess that's the point after all :-; ), the unbolded works best.
Just to throw my thoughts in on whether or not a map should be readable within the article, I feel it depends on what we're trying to do... If it's to show how the regions, major cities and destinations relate to each other, I think making the map readable within the article is good. If it's to provide a lot of detail about the region, its cities, how to get around (like a city map), then we shouldn't worry about making it readable in the article. Personally, at the region/country level I like the first approach, and since we're only listing nine cities, nine other destinations and major roads, I think we can squeeze that on and still be readable (I'd like to try anyway!). Shaund 01:34, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

Amount of info on maps

I'm all for trying to get more info onto maps while making them look good in the process. I'm not at all a fan of having 4 or 5 different maps on an article. I'd like to see at most two... one with regions, major cities, and the "other destinations" noted on it (and maybe even major freeways), and a second with much more detailed highways and towns. I'd love if we could make this all happen in just one map, but I think the one thing that is adding to much to the puzzle is the region sections / labels.

Nick was on a roll with region map experimentation for a while for South Africa, and I think came up with some good elements. He did a good job of getting lots of info on maps, but I think it largely works because he kept it grey-scale... but what gets lost in this mix is the subregions boundaries, which are barely noticeable. See South Africa Northern Cape, Western Cape. I still like multi-colored maps, I've been muting my colors more than I used to, but maybe we need to get even softer to if we want to find a way to fit everything into 1 map. – cacahuate talk 16:46, 3 August 2008 (EDT)

Roads / trains

LtPowers has a good point about the color of highways/roads... my one attempt at adding all the info that I wanted to see to Pakistan wasn't a resounding success :) Our current (outdated) how-to recommends white... which is a very confusing on this example. On India I wouldn't even attempt major roads, there's just too much and it wouldn't look right. We're very much in experimentation mode I think right now with region maps, so let's all keep doing just that and see if we can come up with some good combinable ideas. But it's definitely going to be hard to establish a set criteria that works for all regions – cacahuate talk 16:46, 3 August 2008 (EDT)

I don't think we necessarily have to have one set of standards for all regions. Different types regions have different requirements. Even within a type of region (say, U.S. states), some may need slightly different information showing than others do. LtPowers 20:35, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
My general feeling is that roads are best done in McDonalds colors—mustard & ketchup. I'm not joking, those actually work really well IMO.
Railroads are a pain, and I don't have a good solution to them. Since we're leaning white for region boundaries, that makes it easier to distinguish black lines as railroads, but without cross lines (tracks), they still aren't obviously railroads. The way I've done these is to set stroke style to contain StopM midpoints, and then fill up the railroad path with extraneous nodes. But that's not an ideal way of doing things, and I'd be very happy if someone came up with a better way. --Peter Talk 22:58, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
Agree, I used yellow in the CA maps on the right and I think it works well, red sounds good too. For railroads, the only time I've attempted it was on Pakistan, and I did exactly as you describe above... it wasn't too much of a pain, especially since it's a very curvy route to begin with – cacahuate talk 23:50, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
How do you create those railroads? I can only make the black-white-black-white railroads now, they are nice for some maps, but cluttering for others (for example, it looked awful on the Czech Republic). --globe-trotter 15:01, 13 March 2010 (EST)
See Wikitravel talk:How to draw a map#Railroads. I'd recommend the second of the two methods there (the "hairy dash" rather than the mid-stroked line), but both work. --Peter Talk 04:09, 14 March 2010 (EDT)

Other regions

I think it's important on all regions to show context... someone traveling around Southern California may well be heading to Las Vegas next, and they should be able to see that it's just over the CA border and what highway to take there on the California map... we should be aiming to make our maps at least as useful as LP etc, and they always do this... I rely on it personally. Agree with Peter, it's very helpful to show neighboring countries/regions and not just have a "floating" region... it makes no sense to me to turn each region into an

At the very least, for countries anyway, I propose showing neighboring countries, capitals (that fall within the map borders), and cities that are going to be encountered when crossing land borders, similar to what I did on Afghanistan, or took a step further on Pakistan where I added a few international roads. – cacahuate talk 17:11, 3 August 2008 (EDT)

Actually, I tend to agree with LtPowers on this one. It seems clear to me that it's fine to leave out bordering states for U.S. states. If things work as they should, the region map one level above the state should show the major cities & routes in between them, so a reader can just refer to that map when curious about how to move in/out of the state. But I'm having trouble identifying what exactly it is that makes this ok for U.S. states, and not for, say, Mexico (which I'm now revising to include bordering countries). I dunno, I'll have to think about this one some more. --Peter Talk 23:01, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
Having thought about this more, I've identified that there is, in fact, no reason why this is ok for US States and not for other regions. It's always useful to show a bare minimum of context around the mapped region, and this can be as easy as drawing a couple white lines on a background and then labeling the external regions. --Peter Talk 12:39, 9 February 2009 (EST)

Color palette

I've been thinking the same thing, and I agree we should, but this will be difficult for a couple reasons... firstly, getting everyone to agree on a palette, and secondly, finding one that translates into multiple scenarios. I found some that I like, and have been using on multiple maps,... but it's amazing how the same colors can work differently depending on the map – cacahuate talk 17:11, 3 August 2008 (EDT)

Actually, now that I think of it some more, I'd recommend coming up with a set of palettes, each with 15 colors that go well with each other. Because yes, it would be too hard to get everyone to agree on a single palette. Also, it's sometimes worth doing to have a "single color" palette, like the shades of green I used for Ireland. --Peter Talk 23:23, 3 August 2008 (EDT)

Inclusion/Exclusion

In the past, we've tended towards multiple maps of regions to show different things. In particular, we've separated transport maps from "regional breakdown" maps (e.g., Ireland). We also sometimes have maps separate from regional breakdown maps to show linked cities/destinations (e.g., USA). I think, particularly with the aid of external keys like the regionlist template, we can include all these things on one map, without it looking overly crowded. The only example I can think of offhand is the one on Finger Lakes (er, actually it doesn't identify the regions, but it's still a nice example). --Peter Talk 19:24, 2 August 2008 (EDT)

Finger Lakes doesn't have any defined sub-regions yet, so I left it all one color (the same color used on the New York region map, by the way). I'm not sure the level of information currently present requires subdivision yet, anyway. The one map I can think of that has both region breakdowns and some transport information is on California. The old map already had all that; I just fixed up the colors and the highway shields, not wanting to futz with the status quo too much. I'd like to see some more examples of a combined map before endorsing it, though; it can be hard to find a color for the road lines that is visible on all of the different region colors. LtPowers 10:21, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
I think he's confused by the multiple shades of each color that are in use on finger lakes, what do they denote? @ Peter, I like when a map works as a total standalone if it were printed, meaning the region names should be written on each region, not just in the article's regionlist template – cacahuate talk 17:15, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
The only multiple shades I used there were to fade the surrounding colors to gray. Is there something else you mean?
On many maps, the sub-region names can be hard to fit into the map aesthetically. I think the map at California is a little crowded, for example. Perhaps only use them when the subregions are defined political areas (as in, for example, Mid-Atlantic) rather than Wikitravel-defined regions? I'm not sure (for example) that the map at New York (state) would benefit from having region names crammed in. LtPowers 20:19, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
Hmmm, I seem to be confusing something else I read, clearly tired :) I was thinking of the Florida map, ignore above. Re: regions, I don't think California has too much info on it, rather it just needs more tweaking. I'm all for our maps looking pretty, but the #1 goal should be function, for a traveler, and at the moment our maps our giving travelers about 1/4 of what a LP map would offer – cacahuate talk 21:24, 3 August 2008 (EDT)
Regarding the value of "standalone" maps, I'm still hesitant to show regions with names, simply because they take up a lot of space we could be using for other purposes (while letting colors do the work for the regions). Also, this adds another step to translation.
Ideally, regions maps should display in article at a resolution high enough so that you can print the article, rather than the map, and still have the map be legible. The only big downside to leaving the region names off the map, though, is that you can't understand them when printed black & white. I might have to mull this one over a bit more too... --Peter Talk 23:30, 3 August 2008 (EDT)

Map size

Continued from 23:30, 3 August 2008 (EDT), in this section.

Is it even possible to have a map that is legible at 250px when printed with an article but detailed enough to be useful when printed standalone at 800px? Maybe we need different maps for different purposes; in the context of this discussion, we could, for example, have one map without region names (and with bigger text for legibility) for use when printing an article, and another map with region names (and smaller text to make room for them) for use when printing a standalone map. LtPowers 10:56, 4 August 2008 (EDT)

This is the first I've heard of that being a goal, I've always thought of maps as stand-alones. I think aiming for anything other is just adding one more difficult hurdle to mapmaking – cacahuate talk 13:51, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
Well, take, for instance, Wikitravel Press. On page nine of the Chicago book (which is only 4.25" wide) the top of the page reprints Image:Chicago districts map.png, with the text of the article starting beneath. LtPowers 15:31, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
IMO that's something WTP has to sort out with their special bookmaking contraption, our aim should be to make the best maps for use on the site and individuals who print them... hopefully those maps translate well for WTP too, but if not, then I would leave it up to the editor of each WTP edition to modify the respective map for their purposes, no? – cacahuate talk 17:22, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
Well you would know better than I whether people print the articles without maps, but I don't see the purpose of printing the maps without the articles. LtPowers 19:43, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
Honestly I've never printed either one, but had always thought that if I did, I would print them separately... but now that I just tried that, it seems I can't... printing is rediculously non-customizable, or am I missing something? We should at least be able to print without images, or control their size – cacahuate talk 20:23, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
To print the image alone as I want it, I have to download the image & then use an app to do it right. But I think it's actually pretty doable to make most maps readable as print out in-article. If you check a WTP book (or some lesser guidebook), maps use small text. The WTP maps print in the book at a mere 3.95"x6.875", which isn't so bad on a 8.5"x11" sheet of paper. This one is perfectly readable at that size, and is jam-packed with text and graphics. But moreover, regions maps need not take up nearly as much space as a city map, since they convey less information (and have way less text).
I think it's a worthy goal to have the maps be readable within the article, at least insofar as it's possible. The fact that it's otherwise hard to print makes this an even more important goal.
For Y-axis-heavy maps, I think we can go as high as 400-450px without destroying the article's appearance; for X-axis heavy maps, we can abandon the right-aligned format and run the map across the top of an article section. (Although this is something I don't think I've seen done before, I can't see a good reason not to.) Square maps are the hardest, but can still be pushed to 450px—this one is eminently readable at 450px even on a 1200x800 screen, and has room for transport graphics (and would still be readable even at a lower res). --Peter Talk 22:52, 4 August 2008 (EDT)

Map template

Regions map template.png

Here's a very bare-bones svg file with (I think) all objects that belong on a regions map. I've put up a thumb of what it looks like. I left out layers, since I generally like to have control over exactly which layers make it on to a map (too many extraneous layers makes future editing more difficult). Is this missing anything, or otherwise wrong, or should I move it into the article proper? --Peter Talk 14:13, 12 August 2008 (EDT)

Note: the scale is convertable into a km only version, for translation into virtually any language other than English. --Peter Talk 14:15, 12 August 2008 (EDT)
1) What's the thin green rectangle outline for? 2) The "1" and "10" boxes should have rounded corners like the blank one does. 3) The digit "1" in the "1" box appears different than the digit "1" in the "10" box, but they should probably be the same. LtPowers 19:10, 12 August 2008 (EDT)
The green rectangle is just what I use as a frame, to clip maps that need clipping. I'll just get rid of the numbered boxes, since we anyway want people to label right on the map, not in a separate key-box. --Peter Talk 22:42, 12 August 2008 (EDT)
OK, I've fixed this up now—look good? --Peter Talk 21:52, 17 August 2008 (EDT)
Hate to nitpick so much, but... the city dot isn't circular (needs to be taller). I'm also wondering if we could get a gray outline on the capital star like there is on the dot, so that they kind of "match". LtPowers 22:24, 17 August 2008 (EDT)
How about a darker grey box for the "other regions". Also we should probably discuss a standard title design... Peter's been using straight black underlined which is a hand-me-down from the old template when the title was within the "key". Personally I think it's a bit harsh (and often a bit big)... I've been trying to use blues to tie it in with the scale and the arrow which I think is nice, but I'm open to ideas that improve upon it... unless everyone just prefers the chunky black – cacahuate talk 00:58, 18 August 2008 (EDT)
Capital icons
Nitpicking is very welcome—I'd like to really nail this down well, and I'd be happy to work on it for some time. I fixed the city dot, and here are two additional possible capital icons that incorporate the gray city outline. For "other regions" do you mean the background color? I'd worry that darkening that color further might decrease the visibility of black text. (We should also work out what shades of grey are best for text outside the foreground regions.) I agree regarding the title box; I've now redone it to include a more Cacahuatesque title box. That color scheme definitely looks great for maps with a water background—I'm not sure if it does as much for a land background map, but I like the idea of matching the text color to the key & compass rose.
To clarify what everything is here, the brown square is the color I use for buildings on city maps. Not too many buildings will show up on regions maps, but I can imagine the Great Wall, or maybe Area 51 showing up in that color. I used a darker version to show exposed rock in Antarctica. The green forest pattern is good for parklands and the sea pattern for water. I don't have a good solution, though, for main waterways like rivers, which don't show up well against foreground color regions if they're done in the same color as the sea pattern. Also, regarding the patterns: to avoid the line breaks between pattern squares, you can just duplicate the object, fill it with the basic sea pattern color, move it below the patterned object, and group the two. The light gray is for non-colored foreground (I usually use it beneath translucent foreground colors). The yellowish-beige is what I've used for sand, be it desert or beach.
Also, I could include non-Latin alphabet compass roses, but do other languages actually use them? I've been using a Cyrillic С for north on my Russian maps, and Sergey hasn't told me I'm wrong, so I figure I'm right to do so. Would it be useful to create a host of non-Latin Compass Roses? The obvious ones beyond Cyrillic would I think be Japanese/Chinese. We could link them in a file from this page. --Peter Talk 06:26, 18 August 2008 (EDT)
Translucent foreground colors over a gray background make it difficult to match the colors in the map with the colors in the {{Regionlist}} template; I would suggest using opaque fills for that reason. The dot is circular now, but the gray outline is now thinner than what I've been using; would you consider thickening it back up to about 15% of the circle's diameter? LtPowers 13:28, 18 August 2008 (EDT)
Oh, and I do like the star with the circle behind it. Can't qualify why, but I do. =) LtPowers 13:30, 18 August 2008 (EDT)
Oh yeah, sorry, I meant the background color, it's already represented there as well, the background... my bad. No need to darken. Though I've been using light grey text against it, which I think breaks it up nicely from the foreground regions. I like the new title, I think it looks sharp. Also like the circle behind the star, looks nice. could also live with the upper right option too – cacahuate talk 14:47, 18 August 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, I've been using light text on other regions too--maybe it would make sense to have a couple regions map templates, one for countries, one for continental sections, one for sub-countries, and then one for small areas. The translucent colors over gray backgrounds aren't as hard as you think to convert to html codes—just hover the eyedrop tool over the region, and the color code will appear at the bottom of the screen (way easier than copy/pasting from the color tool). Lets go forward with the circle backdrop to the star; I like it best too. If anyone has a better suggestion later, we can switch. --Peter Talk 18:00, 18 August 2008 (EDT)
That sounds complicated, it would be ideal to be consistent no matter what kind of region, but admittedly I'm mostly working on the country level and higher right now, so if there's reasons that the same things can't apply to lower levels you're more clued into that than I – cacahuate talk 18:07, 18 August 2008 (EDT)

Text color

I like straight black for most map labels; it shows up very clearly always.

Rivers

This one is causing problems for me. The color of the water pattern Jani made doesn't always show up well against light region colors (or even the light grey foreground color).

Beach/Desert

I like the one on the above proposed template—it shows up nicely against the other standard colors even in black&white. --Peter Talk 00:20, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

Parks, lakes, oceans

I like Jani's high contrast patterns for these, but we may want to adjust the water colors—when used for rivers, the existing pattern seems too light to show up against some region colors. Then again, maybe the solution is to adjust the region colors palettes, so that the water pattern shows up well even for rivers. --Peter Talk 00:20, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

Palettes

This section will placehold for palette ideas. --Peter Talk 14:13, 12 August 2008 (EDT)

Master palettes

master palette

It will probably be easier to have some master palettes, from which to draw colors for the actual region map palette suggestions we'll develop. Here's one. The very light colors might be most useful, since they tend less to interfere with colors of roads, rivers, etc. --Peter Talk 00:15, 20 August 2008 (EDT)


Proposal discussions

The following palette was used by Nick for his maps of the U.S. regions (such as South (United States of America)), slightly tweaked by me for readability:

Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox

The following palette was used by User:Fastestdogever for the map of Ohio:

Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox

Note (if you view the code for this section) that the color values are all 66, 99, or (more rarely) 33 or CC, which contributes to the consistent feel of the colors. Other colors in the same pattern could include:

Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox

The following palette was used by User:Troy34 for the map of Texas:

Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox

I used the following palette for the map of New York (state), basing it primarily on Fastestdogever's Ohio patterns:

Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox

(I used similar colors (keeping very close to the same saturation and luminosity while varying the hue) for my other state maps.)

-- LtPowers 13:29, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Oh and here are California's palettes. First, the original version by Ryan:
Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox
Second, my revised palette. I tried to keep close to Ryan's colors but had to make big changes in a couple of cases in order to make each one distinct:
Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox Template:Colorbox
-- LtPowers 13:41, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
W Africa suggestion
I quite like #s 1, 5, & 7. I'll add some more suggestions in a short while --Peter Talk 22:25, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
Here's the simple color palette I used for West Africa. For whatever reason, I liked the way this regional color scheme looked. --Peter Talk 00:23, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

Help!

Anyone understand why template:regionlist is breaking here? --Peter Talk 00:53, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Unclosed link brackets. Fixed. (Colors are way off though.) LtPowers 08:42, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Aim

We should establish what our priorities are in our maps, and rank them, to help us focus on what's most important. The only one set a priori is "tourist-style map showing all the linked destinations... and routes between them." (from Wikitravel:Region guide status). That's for a star article, though—I don't mean to discourage contributors from making simpler regions maps for more immediate purposes. Any way, here goes a first draft:

  1. Demonstrate and define regional boundaries
  2. Identify & locate all linked cities & destinations
  3. Show routes between said cities & destinations
  4. Show major routes in/out of the country
  5. Keep map readable in-article
  6. Ensure ease of translation
  7. Show major geographic features
  8. Enable further use for subregional maps

#1–4 are the basic bread and butter of our maps, and fulfill the star article requirements (note that we don't actually have a single star region guide yet).

I know Cacahuate isn't a huge fan of #5, but I think it's really a very important goal. It takes time & multiple programs to print out the article and then also maps, whereas two clicks can do it with a well constructed map. Also, in comparing our maps to other guides' maps, remember that they are constrained by print page sizes, and therefore also must figure out how to cram info onto small spaces. Moreover, I don't think it's been a problem to achieve this goal—I've done it easily with countries as small as Costa Rica to frikkin' Russia.

The number 8 is a bigger question though--it's ideal when you can do this, but it's not always going to work, I think. I'll sure try to make it work for Russia, but the curvature along the projection makes this hard. It also requires a high level of detail (and therefore patience in tracing it) to be able to use the existing map to create subregion maps.

7 isn't always necessary, just when geographic features are really relevant for travel. So in Russia, those rivers are often major ways of getting from point A to point B and should be included, while in the US probably only the Mississippi would be important enough to get on the map, IMO. --Peter Talk 00:31, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

So, then, you'd like to move away from simple maps like (say) Image:Map of Vermont Regions.png and Image:Map-USA-Cities01.png, toward maps like Image:Map of Pakistan.png? LtPowers 09:35, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
Ideally, I'd like the regions maps to have all this information. But a simple map showing the regions breakdown is much better than no regions map at all. It also provides a base to work with in creating a more detailed map. --Peter Talk 09:49, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
I think it's ideal to have all that on a map too, if it can be made to work... Vermont just needs roads added, USA would be ideal if we could combine the 2 maps that are currently in the article instead of having a regions and a cities/other destinations map (and if possible the major interstates should be added), and Pakistan actually does have pretty much everything of relevance to a traveler - all the major roads, trains and destinations are there, it shows which borders are open to foreigners and which are closed, and shows the route to all four of the possible cities that you could be heading for once you leave.
Regarding readability in-article, I'm not against it, I just don't want to define our style around it... no other guidebook would give a major country or region map just a 1/3 page and wrap text around it, it would take up at least a page if not a double page spread... which is why I don't think it's weird if the map needs to be printed separately – cacahuate talk 00:38, 6 September 2008 (EDT)
I agree with those aims, particularly 1-7, although I worry that someone new to maps might find it overwhelming and decide not to start one. If someone can do all eight, that's fantastic, but even if we can get a bunch of maps with just 1 and 2 (as a start) I think it would improve our country, and particularly, region pages a lot.
With #4, should we be placing airport and ferry terminals and border crossings on country maps? I see the border crossings on the Pakistan map, but I haven't noticed any airports or ferry terminals on other country/region maps.
I think it was discussed briefly before, but should we also design the maps so they work in black and white as well? I'm guessing that some people still print in black and white and I find that with a lot of mid-luminosity colours, it's difficult to distinguish between regions when I print a map in B&W. I've been experimenting with this in the Belgium map -- I'll upload some samples later. Shaund 00:48, 6 September 2008 (EDT)
To Cacahuate: unlike WT printouts, guidebooks are not 8" by 11" so a map that displays on a standard pc resolution for Wikitravel will be similar in size to that of a printed guidebook. (I've got a good handle on that one from WTP Chicago, which is even smaller than most other printed guidebooks.) Again, these aims are ideals, and there's no reason to try and "force" contributors to meet them. Rather, I think #1–5 is what we should require for star articles (although we don't have any star regions!).
To Shaund: I think major airport + ferry terminals are great, but not always feasible, given constraints of finitude. Especially airports are hard to show since they overlap completely with cities. More ferries + vague dotted lines showing routes, however, would be awesome, but only in the case that you can show where they lead (i.e., the destination country should be visible on the map—if it's not, I say leave the ferry off).
Black & white is standard for WTP maps, and there isn't IMO a good fix for this. My "solution" is to have two layers for the color regions, one for color and one for black & white only. Colors just muddle up b&w maps, so it's better to go grayscale. Printing in B&W is never optimal for maps, though, since you can't make out other details very well--like primary versus secondary roads, for example. --Peter Talk 01:31, 6 September 2008 (EDT)
For the record LP's country maps are often 8" x 10", believe it or not, across 2 pages – cacahuate talk 22:25, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

USA map

USA with roads and Other destinations added
Revision A - Removed some cities, upped font size especially for 9 cities, capitalized regions for clarity, etc
Revision B - Highway font suggestion, swapped out and added suggested cities, swapped a few region colors per LtP, remove extra dots etc
I combined the 2 USA maps, it does get a little busy in the northeast, but... comments? – cacahuate talk 05:38, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
  1. Interstates 84 (in Oregon and Idaho) and 25 (through Denver and Cheyenne) are not labeled. (Neither is I-4, but it's too small.)
  2. I don't think state and provincial capitals are particularly useful to the traveler, and they certainly overcrowd the northeast. If the nine cities from the article aren't enough, add some more popular travel destinations.
  3. I'm not a big fan of the palette; the state names in the Northwest, Southwest, and South are particularly hard to read, and I think some of the adjacent regions have colors that are too similar (Northwest/Southwest, Southwest/Mexico, Mid-Atlantic/South, and maybe Mid-Atlantic/New England).
  4. I'm undecided on the highways. At this scale, I'm just not sure how useful it is to the traveler to have the basic road network.
  5. The Hawaiian islands are labeled in the same font and size as the states; they should be de-emphasized significantly.
  6. The labels on the two Russian cities are unreadable, even at the PNG's full resolution. I'd say either leave them off or make them at least the same size as the Canadian and Mexican cities' labels.
-- LtPowers 10:06, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
Agreed about state capitals — I think it would be OK to go over the 9 cities on the map, since the country is so big, but cutting back on the cities would definitely make the map more readable. I really like the highway map, though, and would keep it. I'm also glad you left off the railroads, since they are a much less common form of transport in the US and would crowd the map. As you can guess, I'd recommend really bumping up the size of the text labels for at least the nine listed cities. Fantastic work, though! --Peter Talk 10:41, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
Ok, round two to the right... I deleted some cities in the northeast due to overcrowding, but generally I think we should have more when they fit ok, it makes the map more useful for planning, in addition to just showing where the 9 highlighted cities are. I adjusted the palette a bit LtP, you were right on the west, but there's still several shades of purple going on, I kinda like it though and it's hard to not use multiple shades of 1 color once you go beyond 7 or 8 regions... are you liking this more or still hate it? I enlarged the 9 cities to stand out, and then IMO there was just way to much similarity between the various text elements so I capitalized the state names, I think it's a good way to break things up, is that agreeable?
And then is anyone else having the same ovelapping issue with text when you have 2 lines? See North Dakota – cacahuate talk 00:02, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm not a map maker, but as a map user one suggestion I'd make is to cut out more of Canada to shrink the height - I assume the extra height was to fit Edmonton, but I don't think that's necessary. Otherwise I like it a lot - the roads are helpful and the extra cities are a useful addition. The northeast is a bit crowded as you've pointed out, so if there was some way to make that more readable it would be good, but this map seems like a nice improvement/consolidation. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:15, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
The second map looks really good and I like the interstates and extra cities being on there. On the nit-piky side, the New England state capitals without city names look a bit strange -- do we need to include the city dots if we don't have the name? It might also be more useful in some states to have the biggest city instead of the capital (Portland instead of Salem in Oregon, Milwaukee instead of Madison in Wisconsin, etc.)
If you're using Inkscape, have you checked the line spacing of the text? That's the only thing I can think of, I've had to fiddle with it a couple of times to make two lines of text work. Shaund 01:32, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
Agreed with Shaund - also Orlando instead of Tallahassee, Niagara Falls instead of Albany, and possibly even Calgary instead of Edmonton. Also I'd add Kansas City and Albuquerque. As for colors, I agree it may be unavoidable to have multiple shades of purple -- but they don't have to be next to each other. A couple of color-swaps should resolve that. LtPowers 07:00, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
Also Fargo instead of Bismark, Twin Cities instead of St Paul, Orlando instead of Tallahassee, add Albuquerque (so we know which way to turn), Louisville not Frankfort (and move highway 65 from Frankfort to Louisville), add Kansas City.
Consider changing the other destinations to black. Those are linked destinations and should be obvious, but it took me 5 minutes of staring at the map before I even realized they were on there. And, while it's a major pain to do so, bolding the highway numbers would be a big improvement, since they're pretty illegible right now. Awesome work on culling the highway system to the most essential roads, btw. --Peter Talk 10:18, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
I knew there was something bugging me about the shields; if we're going to use the Interstate shield, we should use the proper font. SVGs for all Interstates (and U.S. Highways and most state routes) are available on Wikimedia Commons and are in the public domain. LtPowers 13:14, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

Ok, Revision B to the right... I got most things, but... Tried getting font for Interstate shields from commons, but the svgs don't use text, the #'s are an image... Found a version of Highway Gothic that would work here, but his license isn't fully compatible. What about bold Arial as a substitute for now? It's closer anyway... see highways 15 and 25 for example. I know there are separate shields for each and every highway on Commons, but that would be a royal pain in the ass to not be able to just alter the #, imagine trying to get the sizes to match of each one on a map like USA with such liberal use of them. Ryan I couldn't figure out how to crop out part of Canada without doing something sloppy like creating two different blueback layers... anyone have thoughts on that? Also blackened the OD's, liked having color for separation but you're right, hard to see – cacahuate talk 22:15, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

cacahuate: here are SVGs that can be used to generate new shields by typing new text. =) You'll need the roadgeek font, though. Typefaces are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States, but our position on the issue here at Wikitravel may go beyond "what's legal", and of course there's a difference between "typeface" and "font", as well as the ethical issues of using the font creator's work. If you still want to use an absolutely free typeface, Blue Highway is probably the closest available; it appears to be loosely based on the official FHWA Series fonts. LtPowers 10:52, 9 September 2008 (EDT)
I could try taking a whack at Canada, if you're not currently working on the SVG. --Peter Talk 11:52, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
Alright, I uploaded the new svg, I can't stare at the USA anymore! I've left the font for the shields as dejavu for now, it's a lot of work to change, so we should figure out first whether we're going to settle for Blue Highway, or pursue permission for Roadgeek. Didn't feel like bolding them tonight but agree it could be done, feel free if you like Peter – cacahuate talk 22:22, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
Could I ask why some cities' dots are different sizes? (Compare Niagara Falls with Chicago and Detroit, for example.) LtPowers 13:27, 11 September 2008 (EDT)
When Nick first created it he used larger dots for state capitols and smaller for other cities... our original map template had 2 dot sizes, 1 for "major cities" and one for "minor cities". On another note, have you seen my talk page? can you try opening that svg and see if you have the same problem as Peter, and let us know if you're on a pc or mac? – cacahuate talk 17:51, 11 September 2008 (EDT)

SHAZAM!

Wow! I've been watching maps appear throughout the site lately and must say that you guys are doing a ridiculously amazing job. Maps and regional breakdowns were previously the single greatest shortcoming of this site (IMHO) and in a matter of months you guys have made significant headway into making it one of the greatest strengths of this site - many of the maps are as good or significantly better than what are found in most print travel guides. Kudos all around on an amazingly well-done job! -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:04, 6 September 2008 (EDT)

Thanks! And it's only been one month ;) --Peter Talk 14:43, 6 September 2008 (EDT)

New sub-project

We're near to finishing the goal of having regions maps for all Continental Sections, which is great! These projects, of getting regions maps for a narrow category (i.e., narrower than countries), are easier to work on since there is a reachable end in sight. I'm going to reorganize both the country and US state lists by parent region (so countries by continent/continental section, US states by top-level region). That way we could start going after one parent region at a time and get the satisfaction of finishing smaller lists.

But what to do with the empty column being vacated by the continental sections in the near future? We could feature the regions of another country, preferably a large one that has well developed content and available regions map base material, but lacks good regions maps (so not the UK, which has good maps throughout). Australia and Canada come to mind immediately, although an obstacle would be that most of their provinces don't yet have a well-developed subregions structure. Maybe China or India? I don't know whether the base material is good enough for their regions, though. --Peter Talk 12:53, 9 February 2009 (EST)

I think we could pick two or three countries and see how it goes. The next level of regions down in China and India look well defined and hopefully Commons would have some decent maps that would help (but I haven't looked, so don't hold me to that!). The next level of regions in Canada is also pretty well defined, other than Quebec. If we move to individual provinces, it gets a bit messier though. France and Brazil also have a well-defined second tier of regions. Shaund 00:14, 14 February 2009 (EST)
India looks like a gargantuan task—lots of the states are subdivided by district, and there are a ton of states. It may be better to put that one off for a bit. China has 7 articles ready for region maps (the top-level regions), and that would be very easy to knock off quickly. By my count, Canada has 7 articles ready for regions maps as well (and it would be nice to clean up the region scheme for Quebec, and to create hierarchies for some of the others in the process). Australia has 2-3 regions that look like they are prime for regions maps, but the others look a bit convoluted. I lean towards featuring China first, Canada second. --Peter Talk 04:17, 12 March 2009 (EDT)
Cacahuate is likely busy enough where that Space map won't be done anytime soon. And since it's not so much a continental section, I'm going to call that sub-project finished, and put up China's top-tier regions in its place. --Peter Talk 21:40, 21 March 2009 (EDT)

Color examples

Our palette discussion died, so I thought we might try a different tack. Add maps to the gallery below that have in your opinion a good color scheme, then comment below the gallery on which color schemes work well/poorly and why. Rather than developing a master palette (which may be too difficult or even undesirable), this should give contributors a pool of palettes that have worked in the past. I've added a few with color schemes that I like (off the top of my head):

  • I'm a pretty big fan of the Mali color scheme, and will experiment with it more. --Peter Talk 14:40, 9 February 2009 (EST)
  • Added Australia, which I think turned out really well. --Peter Talk 00:17, 13 February 2009 (EST)

I agree Mali is nice. I don't think the Alberta or West Africa colors work well; the former is a little garish (but Shaun was only putting it up as a test, so it's ok), and the latter has colors that don't contrast well with the surrounding ocean.

Some ideas from me:

I should note that I like the selection of colors for Europe, but not their distribution. LtPowers 17:33, 9 February 2009 (EST)

  • Peter seems to prefer less saturated colors than I do. LtPowers 10:01, 13 February 2009 (EST)
I think that's because I'm putting a lot of small details on the maps that might not show up otherwise—I'll try using that Texas palette on my next map, and see whether that's the case. --Peter Talk 13:02, 13 February 2009 (EST)
That could be it. Note I had to use white for some of the city names on the New York map. LtPowers 14:23, 13 February 2009 (EST)
I really like our US map, which was what I was trying to emulate with the new map of Europe. LtPowers, could you try to explain what's wrong with the distribution? as I was again trying to emulate our US map on this aspect as well. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 20:52, 14 February 2009 (EST)
All of the warm colors are concentrated in the western part of the map, and the cooler colors used in the rest of the map don't have enough contrast with each other to make the boundaries distinct. I'd have to experiment to be sure, but something as simple as swapping the colors of Iberia and the Balkans might solve the problem -- it's mainly the Balkans that seem to blend in with Central Europe, Belarus-Ukraine, and Greece. LtPowers 10:01, 15 February 2009 (EST)

I like the Mali map too, as well as the Ohio and New York ones. But, I have to admit I have a pretty strong preference for saturated colours (hence the Alberta map, which does need some colour tweaking). Other maps I like are cacahuate's India map and my NZ map (although, it's dominated by two regions so it's not much help for maps with many regions). I think I'll work the Mali and Ohio colour schemes into maps I'm currently working on. I'd like to see if Ohio's colours hold up as well when the background is grey or blue instead of white. Shaund 21:47, 13 February 2009 (EST)

Botswana.png
I've used some of the colours from the Ohio palette for the Botswana map. Some of the detail stuff needed to be adjusted so it looked OK, but overall I think it works. Except maybe the parks? Any thoughts? Shaund 02:18, 18 February 2009 (EST)
I think it works except for that olive color for the northern region. It's too close to green and too dark. Try something with less green and more red or blue in it. =) LtPowers 09:52, 18 February 2009 (EST)
I updated the Botswana map with a bit of pink/red for the olive green. Details are definitely more readable now. BTW, I've also updated the Alberta map based on the Mali colour scheme. I think the garishness has been toned down a few notches. Shaund 00:32, 11 March 2009 (EDT)
Both look nice :) – cacahuate talk 03:01, 11 March 2009 (EDT)
Botswana looks good, although it is a little hard to tell which region the central game reserve is in. =) Or is it its own region? For Alberta, I'd like to see a little more color -- you have several shades of low-saturation yellow and green in there. But that's just me; others have shown preference for lower saturation values. LtPowers 09:22, 11 March 2009 (EDT)
Baltimore districts map.png
Regarding saturation, I have played around with that more, and I do prefer the higher saturation colors for distinguishing regions. The popular USA/Europe color palette is especially nice. But I have found the low saturation palettes more or less necessary for very crowded country maps (and still attractive). Small size details show up much better on a low saturation regions palette.
For any map with details, I'd recommend experimenting with both to see which works better—my Baltimore districts map, for example, has a relatively high level of detail, but the higher saturation scheme still works quite well. I'll add that bolding small text on a higher saturation map helps a good deal with readability, although our preference for non-bolded text may tilt the balance back in favor of low saturation colors.
By the way, I tried to denote the two harbor tunnels on that Baltimore map by making the highway line densely dotted and by decreasing the opacity a little bit—was it a successful method? --Peter Talk 06:01, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
Reasonably so. =) I couldn't tell the line was dashed on the image description page; I had to view it full-size. But it still worked; it just looked like a lighter, thinner line. LtPowers 07:54, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
Agree on both counts. The dashes aren't really visible except at full-size, but it does look different from the regular highway lines on the smaller sized maps. I like the effect on the full-size map. Also agree on the low-saturation versus higher saturation. I like the higher saturation to make the regions distinct, but the low saturation colours make it easier to blend in the details, especially if there are a larger number of regions (above six or so). Shaund 23:15, 16 March 2009 (EDT)

Route icons

We should aim to use official(esque) route icons when marking roads on our maps that are best known by their number. Since those commons shields all use uneditable paths for their route numbers, I created an svg with the basic 4 route icons for US routes. It would be nice to have the same for other countries as well. --Peter Talk 16:24, 9 February 2009 (EST)

You may use the frames in wts:Category:Roads in Israel, which i created several month ago for template. -- Sergey kudryavtsev 10:14, 18 February 2009 (EST)

Map template 2

I've finally figured out why the template that we recommend is so disproportionately large—there was a ton of invisible "flowed text" objects in there. I have no idea what they are, or how they got there, but they're gone now. So if you want the template sans the extraneous 1MB, it's available now. --Peter Talk 02:40, 4 June 2009 (EDT)

"Flowed" text is, I believe, text that has been attached and shaped to an object. LtPowers 10:00, 4 June 2009 (EDT)
I have made a few additions to the template:
  • added dotted line for sea routes
  • added capitalised text for OTHER COUNTRY NAMES
  • created all the recommended layers. Important I think if standardisation is a goal. Otherwise, with the best will in the world, layers will rarely be the same. --Burmesedays 23:24, 19 November 2009 (EST)
Keep in mind, though, that having the layers in the template can really complicate things when building a map off of an existing SVG (almost always from Wikimedia Commons), as importing the template will cram all those layers into sublayers of the import layer... I don't care much either way, though, since I keep a slightly modified template for myself to accommodate any idiosyncrasies of how I deal with maps. --Peter Talk 12:36, 20 November 2009 (EST)
Yes indeed. I had an interesting experience along those lines the other day with an SVG created in Adobe Illustrator and then opened in Inkscape. Still, I think it is helpful for new mapmakers to have a regional template with the layers defined as standard by this expedition. --Burmesedays 12:42, 20 November 2009 (EST)
The layers seem to be inverted. Now background is at the top, while names are down below. This way you cannot read the text. Also, a "Base" or "Temp" layer is missing. --globe-trotter 19:52, 9 January 2010 (EST)
Please just go ahead and change it GT. That was probably me. My current thinking is that the layers a not really necessary anyway. --Burmesedays 23:23, 9 January 2010 (EST)
Oh, I already wrote about this before! :P OK, I'll just change them. --globe-trotter 13:58, 15 January 2010 (EST)

Low level sub-region maps

I have just created a low level sub-region map for East Bali here. Thanks are due to both Peter and Stefan for some pointers on a suitable format for a low (third) level region map. I think it works quite well. The only really negative comment I have is that the yellow secondary roads are fairly indistinct from the grey of the region when printing in greyscale. A distinct, strong darker colour would be better (purple came to mind) but that would go against the Wikitravel map standard for roads. Any thoughts? Or indeed any comments at all on this map before I start rolling out the other five Bali sub-region maps? --Burmesedays 03:42, 2 November 2009 (EST)

I don't see any reason the secondary roads have to be yellow, or even that particular shade of yellow. Feel free to find something suitable. =) For comparison, my attempts at subregion maps can be found at Finger Lakes, Niagara Frontier, and Southern Tier. LtPowers 10:10, 2 November 2009 (EST)
Thanks for the feedback. I am trying to get consistency in the Bali Region maps and I think it is working. Please have a look at the 3 completed so far:
The first one looks a little dark; I prefer the lighter gray used in the East and West maps. LtPowers 11:58, 3 November 2009 (EST)
Good spot. The darker grey in the Central Bali map is actually a mistake... will put that right tomorrow. Thanks for the feedback.--Burmesedays 12:08, 3 November 2009 (EST)

What's next?

I'm currently on a tear, and the US states are almost done. I'd like to next feature a single continental section in the middle column. I'm also inclined to pick one that we could knock off quickly, to generate a little motivating excitement among our Expedition members. We don't have a good Japan regions map, which is criminal considering how exceptional much our Japan content is, so I'm leaning towards East Asia. Other suggestions? --Peter Talk 05:12, 5 November 2009 (EST)

Well, I'd really like to see Europe finished off too, but too bad I can't really contribute at the moment. As for the column; East Asia seems reasonable, loads of regular work on Chinese destinations by Claus and Pashley, and Japan is second to none it term of content + the remaining maps seems pretty easy to do. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 05:52, 5 November 2009 (EST)
As soon as the Bali Map Project is finished (10 complete now, another 10-15 to go) I will very much be up for helping. East Asia seems good. --Burmesedays 08:40, 5 November 2009 (EST)
Getting all the US states finished is some achievement - very well done. --Burmesedays 03:39, 19 November 2009 (EST)
I will second that. If there is someone prepared to give a little coaching and suggest a source bitmap or whatever, I would like to have a go at producing a WT region map. Burmesedays, if you would like to subcontract one of your Bali map regions, let me know. -- Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:17, 19 November 2009 (EST)
I certainly would have Peter but I am right now finishing the 2nd last Bali map (phew, relief). I am more than happy to pass on some coaching though. My learning curve was steep and mostly thanks to excellent, patient advice from Peter. Although I still have a lot to learn, I can certainly try to pass that on - give me a few days as a little busy right now. I have found sources a big issue for detailed city maps but for the broader regional maps required by this expedition, OpenStreetMap ought to nearly always do the job.--Burmesedays 05:03, 19 November 2009 (EST)
Two other good sources for base files are the PD maps created by the U.S. Government at the Perry Castañeda Collection [3] and the assorted maps at Wikimedia Commons, e.g., wmc:Category:Maps of Taiwan. It would be great to have a new member to the Expedition! --Peter Talk 09:49, 19 November 2009 (EST)

Should Hong Kong really get a region map? The article uses the huge city template. LtPowers 11:40, 19 November 2009 (EST)

It should get a districts map, which is essentially the same thing, I think. --Peter Talk 12:54, 19 November 2009 (EST)
Very nice job done with Hong Kong. Might I suggest showing the major ferry routes? Only the major ones. --Burmesedays 23:19, 20 November 2009 (EST)
Done. --Peter Talk 12:58, 23 November 2009 (EST)

So what will be in the East Asia column? I suppose the regions of Japan?

Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu, Okinawa

Globe-trotter 08:11, 9 December 2009 (EST)

Apart from Japan, East Asia is now empty (Hong Kong, Taiwan and North Korea (at least)) were there when the current What's Next was decided. I am not sure whether specific internal region maps were intended to be covered now or not. If so, then the Japanese ones make sense. --Burmesedays 08:17, 9 December 2009 (EST)
Ah, in case that was not intended, then we can first work off the list of Europe, and maybe Southeast Asia. I'm working on Thailand at the moment, trying to improve my map-making skills ^^ Globe-trotter 08:19, 9 December 2009 (EST)
Lets do SE Asia then, since we have momentum. --Peter Talk 17:22, 26 December 2009 (EST)
Nice work on Japan! I already finished Thailand, but unfortunately I haven't been to the other listed countries there. Is it a problem? Globe-trotter 19:34, 26 December 2009 (EST)
It shouldn't be—I've made countless maps for places to which I haven't been... --Peter Talk 22:27, 26 December 2009 (EST)
Very nice job on Japan Peter. South East Asia is a good region to finish off. Malaysia will be an interesting problem given the enormous distance between Peninsular and East Malaysia. As I have already done Cambodia and Laos, I may as well do Vietnam. --Burmesedays 01:22, 27 December 2009 (EST)
For Malaysia, it may make sense to have three maps on one image—a small "zoomed-out" box showing the entire country, one box for Peninsular Malaysia, and another for East Malaysia. I'm sure it would become clearer whether this was the best approach when actually drawing up the map. --Peter Talk 21:30, 27 December 2009 (EST)
I'm not sure if that's even necessary. Indonesia also worked out fine, and it's much larger. And both parts of Malaysia are not that far off (and there are islands in between as well). But that's a choice for the mapper :) I just finished off Czech Republic, still working on Austria. Globe-trotter 00:49, 28 December 2009 (EST)

It was fun to see SE Asia knocked off in less than a week! Any ideas as to what we should feature in that column next? I'd suggest South Asia or South America, but I'd like to make sure that other expedition members are interested. --Peter Talk 17:38, 31 December 2009 (EST)

Yes indeed, great to see South East Asia knocked off so quickly. Some of those maps were quite complex. Burma took me ages as the regionalisation work had to be done as well as the map. And well done Peter for doing Malaysia... as ever, it was sat there as the ugly duckling of the region. South Asia is very staightforward, so maybe stick that up next. The regionalisation is already done for Bhutan and Nepal and I do not think that Maldives needs a regional structure; rather just a map. --Burmesedays 23:50, 31 December 2009 (EST)
Wow that went really fast. I also thought about South Asia :) --globe-trotter 12:38, 1 January 2010 (EST)
As an aside, unusually strong colours for you in that Malaysia map Peter :). And in case it gets lost, please see my comment about Labuan being a top level region here. --Burmesedays 13:00, 1 January 2010 (EST)
Yeah, initially we wanted to have a standard palette for these maps, but each map really has different color needs. I've switched to South Asia, which only has three, so lets finish it! --Peter Talk 13:27, 1 January 2010 (EST)
Done with Nepal :) Was a lot of work to sort those regions out, and getting the breadcrumb trail back in order. —globe-trotter 20:26, 2 January 2010 (EST)
Very well done. Doing the regionalisation as well as the map is always a chore. Might I politely suggest you take the region names off the map as these make it look very cluttered? --Burmesedays 01:51, 3 January 2010 (EST)
(IMO better to just reduce their font size, and keep them.) --Peter Talk 10:47, 3 January 2010 (EST)
Maldives, unfortunately, is turning out to be a disaster for tracing (there are no available SVGs), particularly because of the ambiguity regarding what is land and what is not... I'll eventually complete this in a way that satisfies me, but I'd recommend that for now that our expedition members focus on other regions—this could take a little while. --Peter Talk 23:08, 2 January 2010 (EST)
Good luck with that :). The lack of existing SVGs is easily overcome (I rarely use them anyway, preferring to draw my own trace with more detailed lines) but not sure what you will do with the ambiguities over what is actually land (especially as these are changing almost as I write.... ). --Burmesedays 01:51, 3 January 2010 (EST)
I think it would be cool if we could actually finish off Asia, we only have some countries in Central Asia and the Middle East (many of which have already been created, but just need proper regions). --globe-trotter 18:02, 5 January 2010 (EST)
So where is it to be? Finish Asia or off to Europe or South America? In the meantime I am working on some sub-region maps of areas that especially interest me. --Burmesedays 04:05, 9 January 2010 (EST)
Finishing Asia would be a great feeling, and we're moving rapidly in that direction, so lets stick to it. The Middle East is a bigger mental hurdle from my perspective, so why don't we tackle it next. (I'm actually really looking forward to doing Central Asia, and incline towards saving the best for last.) --Peter Talk 16:32, 9 January 2010 (EST)
Done Bahrain and will do UAE (groan). Please see comment on the Bahrain talk page re regions. It really should not have any. A lump of dusty rock less than 40 miles end to end. I know that anyone who has been to Bahrain will find some humour in the thought of it being regionalised :) --Burmesedays 02:54, 10 January 2010 (EST)
UAE done. In case anyone wonders if I have made mistakes, the minor northern emirates really are disconnected like that. It makes no sense when you are there either. Indeed you may well be in a different country (Oman) without knowing it. A bizarre map for a bizarre nation. Very good work on Iraq Peter. --Burmesedays 05:58, 11 January 2010 (EST)

So Asia is done excluding Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It would make sense to me if those four were all done from one master map. And given his enthusiasm for this region, I suspect Peter would like to do that? If so, can we please confirm that it is South America next after Asia? I will then get going with drawing a few country outlines at least.--Burmesedays 02:25, 14 January 2010 (EST)

Ah yeah, I forgot that I had already done the bulk of the SVG work for all the countries in Image:Kazakhstan regions map.svg—I suppose it will make life easier if I just go ahead and create maps straight from that one. There aren't all that many countries in the Americas, so lets do South America next. Of course, if people want to make more dents in the Europe list while I finish off CA, it would be nice to see that list shrink too. --Peter Talk 10:34, 14 January 2010 (EST)

Taiwan

I have just added my first regional expedition map and really would appreciate any comments. I realise the route markers are not there yet (see Talk:Taiwan). Have I neglected anything else? Any style issues? Cheers. --Burmesedays 10:34, 20 November 2009 (EST)

I believe you've matched the predominant style perfectly. Great work. LtPowers 12:58, 20 November 2009 (EST)

Regions maps and the U.S. states

swept in from the pub

Time for a bit of bragging on behalf of the Wikitravel:Regions Map Expedition. We've just finished regioning and mapping every last of the fifty states of America! Go ahead, click on any U.S. state, and you'll see a pretty map and a well organized set of regions. (If you'd just like to see a crazy one, click here.)

This is a huge milestone for the expedition, and arguably for the site, so I'm breaking out a little bottle of champagne:

                *
                 *
*       *       []
 _*    *_       ||
|*|    |*|     |* |
|_|    |_|     |__|
\*/    \*/     | *|
_|_    _|_     |__|

The next goal, and perhaps the biggest fish in the sea, will be all the countries in the world! --Peter Talk 23:52, 18 November 2009 (EST)

What was the last one? Rastapopulous 00:07, 19 November 2009 (EST)
Kentucky#Regions --Peter Talk 00:27, 19 November 2009 (EST)
A very, very big kudos to you and the rest of the map-making team. Having well defined regions and these amazing maps is probably the single most valuable contribution that anyone could make towards pushing Wikitravel forward, so a HUGE and hearty thanks from this sadly Inkscape-illiterate admirer of what has been accomplished. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:02, 19 November 2009 (EST)
Fantastic job. That is some achievement. Large thanks and huge congratulations to everyone involved. --Burmesedays 04:27, 19 November 2009 (EST)
Congrats! Now all we need is the rest of the world :P Jpatokal 05:24, 22 November 2009 (EST)

Tennessee

Given the generally excellent standard of our US state region maps, I think somebody should look at doing a proper map for Tennessee. --Burmesedays 11:29, 23 November 2009 (EST)

I'd call that a "usable" map—far from the level of perfectionism of a "star" quality map, but it fulfills the basic criteria that we want from a regions map—it makes the regional division clear as day. It would be great to see existing maps improved, but personally I tend towards spending time on maps for regions that are in more dire need of them. --Peter Talk 12:20, 23 November 2009 (EST)
Fair comments and point taken. I did actually think it was a corrupted file when I first opened the page :). That though, speak volumes for the extremely high standard of maps I have become used to seeing here. --Burmesedays 12:27, 23 November 2009 (EST)
Ohio and Texas have similar maps, and they've been up for years. In fact, they're what many of our color schemes are based on, as well as my guide in coming up with an aesthetic for New York and Florida. LtPowers 12:28, 23 November 2009 (EST)

Israel

Israel map.png

No surprise this would become a pickle.. Anyway, the regions are hard already, but what about the actual territories covered? I now did it as shown on the map, any ideas on how to improve it? --globe-trotter 20:13, 12 January 2010 (EST)

I've been worried about this one, and was hoping someone else would sign up for it ;) We should jump start the discussion at Talk:Israel#Regions.2C_again, and try to finally put this long open question to rest.
As for how you've shown the borders & realities for travelers, I think that looks great. --Peter Talk 20:50, 12 January 2010 (EST)
Why do you think I studiously ignored this one while taking on the insignificant boredom of Bahrain? :) :). A map of Israel is a poison chalice. In the meantime, well done GT. --Burmesedays 22:14, 12 January 2010 (EST)

Template

Aren't the layers in the template wrong? I see them as exactly being the wrong way around. Background is up top, while key is all the way down below. I feel they have to be the other way around? --globe-trotter 20:53, 14 January 2010 (EST)

They are not wrong, but are probably in the wrong order. I replied to your point about this in Templates2 section above. :) --Burmesedays 21:57, 14 January 2010 (EST)

UN Maps

Peter is dead right that they are very useful - I think the PDFs have been created using an SVG compatible tool and therefore have editable paths. Howewer, I am worried about copyright [4]:

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:
  • Unless otherwise noted, the maps included on this web site are produced by the Cartographic Section and are copyrighted by the United Nations. Reproduction of any part without the permission of the copyright owner is unlawful. Reproduction of any part without the permission of the copyright owner is unlawful. Please contact us for any questions regarding publication permissions. --Burmesedays 00:22, 15 January 2010 (EST)
I guess that the "unless otherwise noted" bit is key. I am trying to find where such notices are though? --Burmesedays 02:15, 15 January 2010 (EST)
Heh, trust that I would not have invested so much time and energy into derivative works of UN maps if I wasn't sure of what I was doing. See wikipedia:User_talk:ChrisO/Archive_6#UN_works_as_PD.3F—the UN cartographic section has given permission to use their maps basically as copyrighted free-use, with very limited restrictions. Wikimedia has taken to calling them PD, but I'm not sure that's quite right—wts:Template:UN-derived is I think a little closer to what Mr. Bessarabov was stipulating. --Peter Talk 02:22, 15 January 2010 (EST)
I was sure you must have dug further and thanks for that:). Not trying to stir things up, but are we happy to take the word of one Wikipedia user to over-rule the copyright statement on the UN website?Wikipedia seem happy enough and have a template quoting the UN Cartographer as well as OTRS verfication (I think, can't be bothered to open a special account to check that!). --Burmesedays 02:38, 15 January 2010 (EST)
Not just any old wp user too—a 6-year-old admin. I think this is very much a safe source, and that Wikimedia would have at some point over the past 5 years unearthed the scandal if there was one. --Peter Talk 03:28, 15 January 2010 (EST)
I would say that is dead right. Very useful source this for countries where the UN is suitably active. A lot of Africa maps there which will certainly prove helpful.--Burmesedays 03:37, 15 January 2010 (EST)

Low level sub region maps

Map of East Java

I have just finished an interesting sub-region map which I kind of like, and think that it could reasonably be put forward as our desired standard look for such maps. It is a similar format to the Bali sub-region maps, but rather more developed. The only slightly non-standard thing is that I took off the national park patterns, as they both looked messy and the boundaries are very tough to pin down. It works quite well I think. --Burmesedays 11:56, 15 January 2010 (EST)

Map of Barkly Tableland
I think it's hard to make lowest-level regions as there are no region-colors used (and the grey maybe looks a bit flat and boring). I tried the following for Barkly Tableland. --globe-trotter 12:30, 15 January 2010 (EST)
Gray is boring. Check out Finger Lakes, although it will be subdivided sooner rather than later. I based the color on the corresponding color from the New York (state) map. LtPowers 14:19, 15 January 2010 (EST)
The light grey color is planned out to print well in black & white with regards to the other colors and patterns we use. No harm in using a less boring color, but it would be good to do a practice print to see how it looks. And yes, I realize this is a problem with our colored regions maps generally, but the higher level maps are more important on-site than off (for navigation), while a bottom-level region map, like the ones to the left, is going to be really handy for travelers to print out and stick in their pocket. (And color printing is often a rare commodity in internet cafes around the world.) --Peter Talk 14:47, 15 January 2010 (EST)
I personally like the green colour I adapted the US region map template, and used on the Far Eastern Russia maps (Sakhalin, Karbarovsk Krai and Primorsky Krai), but I don't have a printer to check with, they're a bit darker, so it could spell trouble for black and white prints. But if they don't work, maybe we could experiment a bit, I think some shade of green is a nice colour for such maps, "green for land - blue for water" is a pretty widespread practice. Maybe the green used for North Balitimore or Northern Territories, they are bit lighter, and still look good. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 15:26, 15 January 2010 (EST)
East Java Region map pale green.png

Green is a nice idea. I do think as a matter of principle and consistency we should stick to out of region areas being dark grey, as we do with country regions map. Readability when printed in black and white should be a key objective. I actually do like the grey as per the East Java and Barkly maps, but that might be a personal thing. Undeniably though, the pale grey gives very good definition to the maps in both colour and black and white. Here is an example using green that does work in grey tone.--Burmesedays 21:23, 15 January 2010 (EST)

Don't know what it is, but I like it on the Barly map (and some of our good South African maps, like this one), but I think green looks better on the Bali map, hmmmm, maybe it's the wave pattern that makes the difference. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 21:30, 15 January 2010 (EST)
I am very anti fluoro colours (dont get me going on that pink used for the poor old Philippines here :) ), so not really keen on the bright lime green. I might be the wrong person to be doing this as I am very enamoured with desaturated, soft colours. Importantly though, they do print well. Black text out of soft, desaturated pastels is a tried and tested graphic design principle (as well as looking very nice!). Harder, darker colours might be OK if you are not showing much detail, but not for a map with the level of detail of the East Java example. --Burmesedays 21:39, 15 January 2010 (EST)
OK, get ready for some big images below the following whitespace:


Image3554.png
Image3555.png


#9 is our standard grey, several of the others are taken from other maps on our site (LtPowers' #2, Burmesedays' #3, Big Bend NP #4, Stefan's #5)—the rest I just made up on the spot. I think the ones that manage to preserve a good contrast with the other colors, but are not so bright as to make white paths hard to read, (and which are not simply ugly in color), are #s 2, 3, 4, & 8. Of those four, I think the best in B&W is 4/8 (very similar) or 3/6 (ditto). Of those, I prefer 4/8 when in color. They are both a fairly natural green, not too bright—yellow paths don't look like they show up well on #3. If I had to pick a personal favorite, it would probably be #4, as it is quite distinctive but unoffensive, and eminently readable in both B&W and color, as its duller color makes other colors (like yellow paths) more distinct. (Try to find the yellow paths in B&W on the other maps.) --Peter Talk 16:34, 16 January 2010 (EST)
I prefer #5 in colour and #8 in B&W, but #4 would be my second choice in both. As Peter said, it's readable in both so I think it makes it a good choice.
I was wondering if anyone else found it difficult to distinguish between the road and the river on the B&W map? If the river name is nearby, it helps. Maybe rivers could be a narrower width than the road? Shaund 21:24, 16 January 2010 (EST)
Thanks for that large effort Peter. #9 is still my favourite - the grey is definitely the most elegant to my eyes. Of the coloured ones, 4 would be my favourite and it also works best in greyscale.--Burmesedays 01:24, 17 January 2010 (EST)

Macau

We still need a map of Macau, but I cannot find a good source=(. I found this [5] map of the area, but it's hopelessly out of date (two bridges are missing, the airport is missing and the entire neighborhood of Cotai was not there yet at that time). The 2008 edition is freakishly small and undetailed [6]. OpenStreetMap.org barely shows Macau as well, so I don't really know a good source. Anyone knows any other options I could try? --globe-trotter 20:50, 17 January 2010 (EST)

The good news is that there are quite lot of Macau maps at Wikimedia Commons. I do not think any one of these in isolation will do the job but in combination, maybe. Also, it might be worth searching government sources more deeply as Macau govt publications are apparently not protected. However, the Macau Govt Tourist Office site completely contradicts that [7]! --Burmesedays 21:11, 17 January 2010 (EST)
Macau done :) Now East Asia is totally done. --globe-trotter 15:34, 31 January 2010 (EST)

Africa

It is no secret that producing region maps for the 32 remaining African countries (virtually all of which have yet to be regionalised), is going to be quite some task. With that in mind, I have tried to elicit some help from AHeneen with the regionalisation. --Burmesedays 11:19, 20 January 2010 (EST)

After Burmesedays invited my help with Africa, I've gone ahead and created schemes to divide a couple African countries which I had a notion of where to start into regions(sorry they aren't big ones). See my suggestions on the talk pages of the Seychelles, Somalia, & DRC. I didn't find mapmaking easy when I tried about a year ago and have since ruined my laptop so that I am currently using an 8 year old desktop...so I don't think making maps will be easy for me with this sluggish dinosaur, sorry. The three countries I've started with are quite straightforward and Somalia & the DRC have large maps showing region boundaries which you can use. I have a good idea for regions a few more countries should be divided into (incl. Niger & Nigeria), but I am trying to figure out exactly where boundaries for these regions should lie and a map or other way of conveying what I think to you. AHeneen 00:15, 21 January 2010 (EST)

On top of those three Equatorial Guinea [8] [9] is very straightforward: Bioko Island, Annobón Island, & Rio Muni (the mainland, includes a couple tiny islands/islets in Corsico Bay). São Tomé and Príncipe [10] is just two islands (can you guess their names?) with a couple negligible islets off each. So there's five countries you can get started on! AHeneen 00:25, 21 January 2010 (EST)
You are a star. You have no idea how helpful advance work like this will be.! --Burmesedays 00:44, 21 January 2010 (EST)
Alright, I've carved up one of the big ones...Nigeria! See its talk page. That's now six African countries now ready for maps. AHeneen 04:50, 21 January 2010 (EST)

After discussion on Talk:Africa, I've moved some countries to different regions and need the maps updated.

The listings to the left of the maps have already been updated, with additions colored black. Also, the Saharan Africa map will need to be updated pending a name change (likely The Sahel). AHeneen 11:43, 29 January 2010 (EST)

I've moved Saharan Africa to Sahel and updated the map accordingly, in addition to updating the Central and East Africa maps. That's all for today though, so if someone else would like to do the Southern Africa map, please go ahead. --Peter Talk 17:14, 29 January 2010 (EST)

Where next (2)?

So Asia is done, with the final few maps under discussion (Jordan and Syria by the way have been hanging out there for 7 months; time to implement I think).

Peter is doing Paraguay, I am doing Uruguay, and that is South America done.

I believe we should tackle Africa next. Huge job. How do mapmakers feel about that? --Burmesedays 21:23, 20 January 2010 (EST)

Other good possibilities would be to finally finish Europe or to go on with Central America to finish off the Americas. I'll admit, though, that I would indeed be a little more excited to get to work on big African countries about which I know less. --Peter Talk 22:20, 20 January 2010 (EST)
Africa is vast and it's going to take a long time before it is done (it has the most countries of any continent). I'd rather finish off at least Europe and maybe Central America first, I think they are more important. Finishing off the Americas will be hard, I think the Caribbean is also a part of it? --globe-trotter 04:27, 21 January 2010 (EST)
I know what you mean. Selfishly though, I am much keener to tackle interesting African countries and educate myself along the way, than I am small Caribbean islands (most of which do not need regionalising) and the few remainders of Europe. You could also argue that African maps are more important as few (or any) travel maps exist for some of these countries.--Burmesedays 04:55, 21 January 2010 (EST)
Central Africa looks to have legs, so I'm happy to put it in the central column, and let the last three Asian countries solve themselves (since I think we're just waiting for more comments at Talk:Turkmenistan#Regions and for the SVGs for Jordan & Syria to be uploaded). I've done this, let it be reverted if people want to discuss this further first. --Peter Talk 18:53, 22 January 2010 (EST)
Good move I think. Apart from anything else, Africa seems to have motivated others and we are getting some invaluable assistance. --Burmesedays 21:55, 22 January 2010 (EST)
We seem to have momentum with Africa which definitely is a good thing. I don't know much of the continent though, so I might just continue on some other maps. I just finished Macau. --globe-trotter 12:03, 23 January 2010 (EST)
Yes, nothing wrong with concentrating efforts elsewhere also. I am right into Africa at the moment. The fact that I know so little about most of these countries is actually motivating me more! Tiny Gambia is the only African country I have been to south of the Sahara and that was longer ago than I care to admit. --Burmesedays 12:38, 23 January 2010 (EST)
Central Africa done! I hardly thought that would be possible. Probably the toughest region anywhere in the world for this purpose. I see AHeneen has already promoted West Africa to the centre column. Discussion is well advanced for 6 of those countries, so probably a good idea. --Burmesedays 11:29, 27 January 2010 (EST)
In five days no less (10 countries)! For the first time, it's starting to look like the finish line (for country maps) may be on the horizon. --Peter Talk 11:54, 27 January 2010 (EST)
Seven, actually. I thought about puting N & Saharan Africa there to finish those regions, but none were ready to map like WA is. AHeneen 13:55, 27 January 2010 (EST)
Hmm, now I get nine [11]. This is why I'm not active on WikiAccounting. --Peter Talk 14:01, 27 January 2010 (EST)
I was refering to Burmesedays' comment "Discussion is well advanced for 6 of those countries", which was why my comment had been indented just one from his (and in line with your comment, not further indented as if I was referring to your's). Now that I've got you confused, I've since broken up Cameroon so there are 8 countries ready for a map (and you can get started on Cameroon). AHeneen 15:02, 27 January 2010 (EST)
After a fairly prolific run, I have been quiet on the region maps front. This is mostly as I am having a very serious 2nd go at the Bali articles, and that is consuming my Wikitravel time. When that job is finished I will definitely be back onto Africa and its very interesting maps. --Burmesedays 09:44, 22 February 2010 (EST)
No worries, it's clear we've hit a fresh round of burnout (although I'm getting back into it after a break). That last run was clearly the most productive in the history of the expedition! I'm thinking we should burn through the nearly-done African regions next, as a little reward for finishing the two hardest, before tackling East Africa ;) --Peter Talk 17:19, 22 February 2010 (EST)
I've also worked less on the maps due to my work on Thailand's hierarchy and Bangkok. I did finish Syria though, so that means we've done all of the Middle East! Not just Turkmenistan and all of Asia is completed! --globe-trotter 21:03, 22 February 2010 (EST)
Yeah, I've been distracted by the Olympics and visitors (there's a party going on here in Vancouver, you know!). Company is gone now, so I should be able to squeeze a few maps in once I finish Senegal. Shaund 00:53, 24 February 2010 (EST)

I agree with Peter's edit comment - let's deal with The Sahel next. Should be quite quick and they are very interesting countries. The list of outstanding African maps is looking way more manageable with the end in sight!--Burmesedays 02:42, 3 March 2010 (EST)

With The Sahel polished off very quickly, how about we tackle the remnants of North Africa and Southern Africa next? Just four countries to do. Then on to West Africa and the whole continent will be finished. Amazing really in such short time.--Burmesedays 02:41, 6 March 2010 (EST)

Should we create region articles or not?

This came up at Talk:Burundi and should really be discussed here I think. Two posts from that talk page:

That brings up a point which should probably be discussed elsewhere. Do you not think we should create region articles as a matter of course when we do the regionalisation? I do. A map which meticulously shows regions that do not exist seems a bit odd. --Burmesedays 12:00, 23 January 2010 (EST)
Agree with Burmesedays, I think we don't just create maps, but that after making the map we should also get the regional division in place. The purpose of the map is to illustrate the travel regions. --globe-trotter 12:36, 23 January 2010 (EST)

I think it would be useful to have a policy on this. I make a point of creating region articles when the map and regionlist table is posted. A redlinked regionlist table and a map showing a bunch of regions that do not exist on WT, slightly weakens the superb work undertaken in this expedition. --Burmesedays 21:10, 25 January 2010 (EST)

It makes sense to mention this on the expedition page. I update the regions and try to update the breadcrumbs and check the intro paragraph of the city/other destination articles whenever I add/update a region map. I'm not sure how far down that list we should go as policy though. Depending on the number of regions and linked destinations, it can take a while to completely do the job (sometimes more than one sitting from my experience). Perhaps we should say any new region pages should be created, appropriate destinations listed and the breadcrumbs updated. If it looks like it will take a while, a to do list should be created in the Talk page. Shaund 21:42, 25 January 2010 (EST)
In the cases of Israel and Nepal it took me pretty much half a day =P Maybe it doesnt have to be completely re-arranged, but at least the regions should be there I think. Otherwise the map doesn't make sense. --globe-trotter 21:55, 25 January 2010 (EST)
Yes, countries with developed tourism are a lot of work in this respect. I seem to remember that the region articles and breadcrumbing for both Vietnam and Burma took me as long as actually drawing the maps. I quite like Shaun's proposal.--Burmesedays 22:11, 25 January 2010 (EST)
We should not be mapping regions or countries that have yet to be regionalized. If you wish to devise a regionalization scheme explicitly so that you can map it, then yes, of course that scheme ought to be implemented. (In other words, I agree with you that we should not have maps that specify regions for which we don't have articles, but we should keep the focus on the maps; not all mapmakers are adept at regionalizing, and it shouldn't be expected that they do so.) LtPowers 22:01, 25 January 2010 (EST)
Yes of course. That is one of the reasons I have tried to enlist help with regionalising the African nations for example. And the help has been forthcoming in a spectacularly impressive fashion. That was not my point though. Rather, if a map is drawn, with regions on it, should the region articles be created? I think your answer to that is yes. --Burmesedays 22:11, 25 January 2010 (EST)
Basically, but my point was more that the region articles ought to be created before we even start on a map. =) LtPowers 06:58, 26 January 2010 (EST)
Ideally yes. In my short experience here though, the two usually go hand-in-hand. The current collaboration between regionalising and map-making for the difficult African countries is though going very well indeed. --Burmesedays 07:23, 26 January 2010 (EST)

French Guiana

We marked South America as all done, but I am a little unsure about French Guiana. There is no discussion on the country talk page but we do have a nice map which seems to show three regions. I am not sure if this is intended for illustrative purposes and that the country is not being regionalised or that we should regionalise along those lines? Also, I guess the pale apple green areas are national parks? Could we please clarify the intention of this map. --Burmesedays 00:12, 4 February 2010 (EST)

It was more of an experiment from my early days, not sure if it's applicable. FG is officially split into two arrondissements (East and West). With the insights to our regionalization I've gained since I drew that map; I'm thinking we should either drop the regions altogether, or make a Coastal and Interior region instead.
Though if content is not a concern, I still like the concept, The coast are connected by roads, and inland transportation is mainly done by rivers flowing along the East and West borders, so the 3 way division would make perfect sense if the articles were more developed.
In a nut-shell, it could probably use some discussion, and yes, the green area's are forest preserves. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 09:36, 15 February 2010 (EST)
We probably ought to decide one way or the other about this. And, I have just noticed that the Falkland Islands has no map, so South America definitely is not done!--Burmesedays 11:15, 2 March 2010 (EST)
I say we reduce it to two regions, coastal & inland, since it is a country of the size of Austria (which is fairly small, but not so small that it can't have regions). And despite its tiny population, we do have seven cities/towns on the map to give the inland article an acceptable skeletal structure.
I'll take care of the Falklands map—should be very easy. --Peter Talk 01:53, 3 March 2010 (EST)
Whoa! The Falklands have regions! Great map Peter. Not what I was expecting at all. --Burmesedays 04:59, 3 March 2010 (EST)
That map of the Falkland Islands is really amazing! --globe-trotter 15:08, 6 March 2010 (EST)

Regions with island chains

There are a good number of nations/territories where regions will be groupings of very small islands, e.g., Seychelles, Maldives, etc. I have been handling these maps by creating inoffensively light and transparent shapes enveloping the islands of a region (see Image:Seychelles regions map.png or Maldives#Regions for examples). I've tried putting the shape under or over the island objects, and I'm not sure which I like more.

There is an optical illusion problem though: the light region colors look quite different when surrounded by our water color than when surrounded by white (as they are when displayed online via the regionlist template). In this example [12] the regionlist colors and the colors used on the map are identical, as I eyedropped them straight from the map, but they don't look the same. I then tried to play around with the colors so that the ones on white background would align with those on the map, and came up with this [13]. The second example looks better, despite the fact that the colors do not in reality match with those on the map.

It was a pain to get these colors to match, so I have created a template, Image:Island chain colors.svg, which contains the ten translucent colors I used on the Maldives map, as well as a skeletal copy of the regionlist template with the altered colors that match when displayed online. That way, you can use the existing colors on the map, and then paste the regionlist form into the article, and avoid any time-consuming experimentation.

I hope this rambling post isn't too confusing.

This will all be pretty relevant when we get to Oceania ;)

On a separate but related note, please take a look at Talk:Seychelles#Regions, as the options being discussed for the Inner Seychelles breakdown will set another important precedent for island chain breakdowns. --Peter Talk 21:32, 12 March 2010 (EST)

If I may, I have to admit I found the Maldives map confusing until I looked at the Seychelles map and saw what you were doing. I thought the colored areas on the Maldives map were the islands, and I was wondering what all those little spots were. Well, of course they're the islands; I know that now, but not then. I see what you were trying to do, but I wonder if perhaps more polygonal shapes would make it clearer than the organic curves you have there now. LtPowers 23:21, 12 March 2010 (EST)
Excellent idea and technique Peter. It will be so important when we finally get to Oceania. It might be worth trying with polygonal shapes as LtPowers suggests. I did get it first time with the Maldives, but I can see why there might be some confusion. I am also wondering whether setting a heavy(ish) dotted stroke on the translucent shape might help? All-in-all, a very good idea I must say. As an aside, I also think we should show long/lat lines on island group maps when there is no major land mass visible. You did this with the Falklands, and it struck me then as a smart move. For Oceania, it would be relevant for almost every map. --Burmesedays 23:36, 12 March 2010 (EST)
Oops, I should have mentioned the big difference between those two maps. I'm using color regions to group clusters of atolls/islands for the Seychelles, whereas the color regions for the Maldives are very much representative of the individual physical atolls, which are partially submerged, depending on the day, season, etc. This map [14] makes it clearer. --Peter Talk 23:39, 12 March 2010 (EST)

I have uploaded a version with polygonal color regions for comparison:

I'm not sure which I prefer. The polygonal color regions look a bit better aesthetically, but the organic shapes make it a bit clearer where there are islands and where there are not (since the islands are all so small on the map). Stroking the color regions does make it look better, but only when kept extremely faint, for the same reason: darker lines overwhelm the visual presence of those tiny islands. I prefer a very light solid line to a dashed one, because dashes appear marginally more similar to islands. --Peter Talk 13:27, 13 March 2010 (EST)

I think the rectangles look remarkably better. But what about a circle around the islands? Could that work out or would it look bad? --globe-trotter 14:44, 13 March 2010 (EST)
Symmetric circles are hard to fit on the rectangular map, but oblongs are certainly possible. They're a little harder to work, though, and I think the rounded rectangles look better.
For the heck of it, I tried adding radial gradients, to the atolls at least—take a look and tell me what you think. --Peter Talk 17:06, 13 March 2010 (EST)
I like the rounded rectangles, but I can see how that might not work for the atolls of the Maldives. The gradient is fine but doesn't really add much; it would just make me wonder why it was there, I think. Maybe use a border of some sort as Burmesedays suggested? I don't know. LtPowers 22:17, 13 March 2010 (EST)
I like the rectangles too. FYI re: Oceania, I once had a cruder version of the idea before we redid that areas hierarchy – cacahuate talk 22:46, 13 March 2010 (EST)
Another vote for rounded corner rectangles. Looks clean. As an aside, I assume you drew those rectangles with the square/rectangle tool? Where is the setting to round off the corners? Instinctively I right click the tool, and up comes a settings box....... or not (of course). Inkscape is never instinctive :).--Burmesedays 03:49, 15 March 2010 (EDT)
Select the rectangle object with the node selector tool (F2); click the circular handle in the top right (I think top right), and drag it to round the corners. --Peter Talk 05:22, 15 March 2010 (EDT)
Thanks Peter. So you have not discovered a setting to make the rectangle tool actually draw that way? There must be one. I will dig into the manual. --Burmesedays 05:32, 15 March 2010 (EDT)
Ah.. got it. You do that just once and then it remembers to draw all rectangles in that fashion until you change it again. Not bad. --Burmesedays 05:35, 15 March 2010 (EDT)
Looks like I'm in the minority here... I prefer the curves (and I think they'd look better with the gradient), but the boxes look fine too. Shaund 00:00, 16 March 2010 (EDT)

Just remembered (a month later) that I wanted to make sure that everyone understood that I used the gradient emphasize the atoll nature of the Maldives, as the "land portion" of an atoll exludes the lagoon in the center. Not sure if that was clear. --Peter Talk 13:36, 21 April 2010 (EDT)

Amazing progress

Peter has the remaining Horn of Africa countries in hand, I have just finished Kenya and Uganda, and will do Libya. That leaves just one African map left to do (Tunisia). Amazing progress - on January 20th 2010 there were 32 African maps outstanding! Even more impressive when you realise how tough some of these countries are to regionalise. The regionalisation has gone hand-in-hand with the map making. --Burmesedays 03:37, 15 March 2010 (EDT)

Tidying up Africa

I am in the midst of the large task of adding all city and OD descriptions as well as detail on the regionlist tables, for all of the top level African regions. This has highlighted a few issues related to the African maps, and I will list those here:

  • Cameroon is marked as done by this expedition but it isn't. We have a great map, but the regions are all redlinks. Stands out like a sore thumb here. This job could be finished by anyone with an hour to spare - create the region articles, add all the destinations as appropriate and sort out the breadcrumb trail.
  • Cape Verde. I know island groups present unique problems, but so we really need all those regions for a country of 400,000 people? Could they be consolidated a little, or even have no regions at all, and each island using a city template? Also, two of the regions are red links. --Burmesedays 00:59, 27 March 2010 (EDT)
In a technical sense, Cape Verde actually only has one region article, for Santiago. All the rest of the islands are covered with unitary articles using the standard small-city article template.
I see you added all the sub-country regions to the regionlist template at West Africa. I actually would recommend against doing that per Wikitravel talk:Geographical hierarchy#Listing sub-regions?, as it clutters up the section with potentially confusing information—the context given at Côte d'Ivoire#Regions is necessary to understand what Eastern Plantations means. All this additional information subverts our goal of having our lists of 7±2 being a quick, simple, navigational tool.
The regionitems field really should only be used to clarify what the regionname means. For example, showing the U.S. states under the U.S. regions helps clarify what is meant when we say "Midwest" or "Great Plains," as the states are a better understood unit than our own region designations. --Peter Talk 03:22, 27 March 2010 (EDT)
Ah. So all those articles we have listing region items are wrong? Apologies for assuming the regionlist had that function. Before I remove all the ones I have added (from many articles, not just West Africa), please confirm! Thanks. --Burmesedays 03:28, 27 March 2010 (EDT)
Which ones? The USA one is in line with the answers provided by that discussion. Other articles use the regionlistitems to show small additional bits that you might not realize are included under the regionlistname, like the islands mentioned in the items for Sumatra at Indonesia#Regions.
I don't want to quite say that this is a general rule, but more times than not it's fine to just leave the items section blank. It's there mostly to define/clarify what the region is precisely (Maldives#Regions does this by providing the alternate names). It can also be useful as a way to "jump" past one layer of the hierarchy to the level that the reader knows he/she is looking for. So someone looking for Colorado can bypass Rocky Mountains (United States of America) from USA#Regions. It's far less likely that a casual reader of the West Africa page will want to bypass Senegal to reach Tambacounda Region!
Sorry to be catching this after you have no doubt spent good time working on these lists—I've become unexpectedly busy! --Peter Talk 03:44, 27 March 2010 (EDT)
OK, I get the principle. Yeah it was a bit of work as a side task of adding city and OD descriptions, but not to worry.--Burmesedays 04:01, 27 March 2010 (EDT)

Cameroon now done.--Burmesedays 23:59, 2 April 2010 (EDT)

Where next (3)?

To all intents and purposes Africa is done. So where do we fancy next? I pitch for finishing off Europe before moving on to tackle all those island states (they won't be very interesting maps!).--Burmesedays 22:09, 10 April 2010 (EDT)

Agree with finishing Europe. I made a start with Montenegro. I also added a map and regions to Serbia, but it is a "usable" map, not the kind we're used to making. --globe-trotter 12:37, 15 April 2010 (EDT)
OK.. let's have a go at Europe then. I have recently done a couple of microstates (Malta and Monaco).--Burmesedays 12:50, 15 April 2010 (EDT)
I have fairly rattled through the Balkans and Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia are all done. Kosovo will be a simple extract from the Serbia map, and Moldova is in hand. That leaves just Bosnia and Herzegovina. This one is far from straightforward and there is a lengthy discussion here which has been dormant for a year. Input certainly required to get that one finished off. --Burmesedays 03:01, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
The Caucasus is partly weak covered with maps. Disputed territories like Abkhazia have no map or like South Ossetia have non-standard maps. I don't know if i simply add them on the article list or shall we discuss first on how to approach them because it is likely that this rise some tensions... Especially Abkhazia is sensitive as the current location map was uploaded by the administration and it implies that Abkhazia is not part of Georgia (country). jan 11:25, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
What matters to me is whether WT treats a disputed territory as a country. If we do, then it should have a proper map and should be on our list to tackle. And vice versa. On that basis, Abkhazia should be part of this expedition and have a proper WT map. Whilst it would be nice to have a South Ossetia map, it is not vital as part of this expedition. --Burmesedays 11:41, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
It would be good to create an Abkhazia map (ditto N-K), but what is wrong with the S Ossetia map? It's old, but it's pretty clearly in line with our basic standards, I think—it does the job fine. My old Azerbaijan and Armenia maps are terribly ugly and could use a facelift, but our strategy in this Expedition has been to focus only on regions that currently lack regions maps. Once we finish all the world's countries, it might be nice to go and identify which maps really need to be redone, but I'd prefer that we finish that big goal first.
And I am inclined to agree with Burmesedays, as disputed territories tend to be a lot less travel-important than countries (better to finish the countries first). Although I recognize that we haven't followed this advice to a tee—we put Western Sahara on the list. Doing "territories and dependencies," as well as "de facto states" might be a good list to follow our countries goal. --Peter Talk 11:46, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
Yep. Good idea. Once we have "conquered the world", I was thinking we could have a tidying up expedition: improving some of the older maps and checking we have actually covered all countries (I found the Faroe Islands had been forgotten the other day), amongst other things. Disputed territories could become part of that. Talking of finishing, it is really not too far off now is it?--Burmesedays 12:05, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
Yeah, amazingly it does look like the grandiose task of "conquering the world" may be finished in just a few months. I wouldn't have thought that possible at all when I started this! The one pitfall will be to keep up momentum for the island nations. I'm actually really looking forward to them, but am not sure if they appeal to the rest of our mapmakers. --Peter Talk 13:40, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
I must admit that the prospect of mapping little specks of rock surrounded by ocean does not fill me with joy. The upside is that they should not take long. --Burmesedays 20:38, 21 April 2010 (EDT)
I agree with the points above and will add Abkhazia on the list. S-O has a general map but no regions. As it is tiny we might not need some but i just wanted to discuss both points before i add them. jan 12:08, 21 April 2010 (EDT)

Transnistria has appeared on the list and I do not think it should be there as we do not treat it as a separate entity from Moldova. I think it is well covered by the Moldova map. Thoughts?--Burmesedays 11:36, 23 April 2010 (EDT)

Took me 10 mins ;) --Peter Talk 12:39, 23 April 2010 (EDT)
I do think, though, that for now we should be sticking to actual countries. Lets worry about the rest for once we hit our big milestone. If we keep adding stuff to the current lists, that will move us further from the milestone, and that will be discouraging. --Peter Talk 12:41, 23 April 2010 (EDT)

Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Stefan's name has been on both of these maps for more than a year. As he is "currently not participating in this wiki", I have plonked my name on Croatia (not wishing to upset anyone, but it needs doing).--Burmesedays 13:23, 15 April 2010 (EDT)

More on island groups and starting to tackle Oceania

Palau Regions map.png
Babelthuap
Koror
Rock Islands
Peleliu
Angaur
Sonsorol Islands

Given that the "speck of rock" Oceania countries have to be tackled eventually, I had a go at Palau, knowing it would present issues with 20,000 inhabitants spread across about 500 miles of small islands and tiny atolls. I was though pleasantly surprised to discover a UN map, and I really like the way their cartographer dealt with the scale problems, and kept everything on one map. I have shamelessly copied that format, and tried to blend Peter's excellent approach to the Seychelles which is discussed above. The map is not yet finished, but I think it works quite nicely and could provide some inspiration for the other tricky Oceania island group nations. What do folks think? --Burmesedays 11:28, 4 May 2010 (EDT)

Nothing to add, it looks great I think! --globe-trotter 07:59, 10 May 2010 (EDT)
Thanks G-t. I have had a bit of a run at these Oceania maps and got a few done, but I must say I am a bit burned out. They are not the most exciting maps to produce.--Burmesedays 09:56, 10 May 2010 (EDT)

Oceania maps are awful quick to do if you use the SVG files at wmc:Category:SVG_locator_maps_of_countries_of_Oceania_(16:9_regional_location_map_scheme)! --Peter Talk 22:44, 25 July 2011 (EDT)

Caribbean nations

Is there a reason why so many Caribbean nations have been left off the list of maps to do? Am I missing something or is the omission of Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Aruba, Saint-Barthelemy and so on, just an error? --Burmesedays 11:13, 11 May 2010 (EDT)

Because they are not nations ;) --Peter Talk 21:21, 11 May 2010 (EDT)
In theory that is true, but in practice they are "countries" and certainly so from the traveller's point of view. If we are treating say Martinique as a region of France, then something is wrong :) I have taken the liberty of adding a list of overseas territories etc. I hate making the list longer, but we should not pretend these places do not exist. --Burmesedays 01:09, 12 May 2010 (EDT)

Actually, given previous discussions, it probably makes more sense to keep that list here for now. These must not be forgotten. Here it is the list:

--Burmesedays 07:16, 12 May 2010 (EDT)

Aruba is considered a country and so are the Netherlands Antilles (though they remain a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands). However, the Netherlands Antilles will be disbanded by October 2010, and will turn into 2 autonomous countries (Curacao and Sint-Maarten) and three special municipalities of the Netherlands proper (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba). So it seems like we have a lot more maps to create. --globe-trotter 07:38, 12 May 2010 (EDT)
A handful of these may resemble nations from a travelers' perspective, but the rest really don't. What they do have in common, though, is that they are second-level regions, as are nearly all countries on Wikitravel. I'm all for adding them to the list, and actually looking forward to join in on the islands effort, provided I have any time to do so! --Peter Talk 17:15, 12 May 2010 (EDT)

Improving US states

There are already maps for all these states, but I think they could be improved:

Need more information

These do not have any information (besides regional divisons)

Need to be changed to Wikitravel style

Need to be color coded

–sumone10154 00:15, 23 March 2011 (EDT)

More on Russian maps

Copied from User talk:Peterfitzgerald#More on Russian maps

Hi, Peter! I have a question to the same point. You could have noticed that I outlined the maps for Vladimir Oblast (and also Tula Oblast as well as subregions for the Russian version), but the style I used is a bit different from what you chose for Novgorod Oblast and Moscow Oblast and probably other regions as well. Should we arrive at a common style for these maps? Personally, I am not very happy with the "translucent" maps (from OpenStreetMaps?) that are not well readable. I also have a problem with their manner of drawing secondary roads with very faint lines. Well, it does take more time to draw the roads by hand, but isn't it worth the effort? What's your opinion? Atsirlin 15:32, 12 July 2011 (EDT)

The approach towards creating region colors for the Moscow Oblast map was very rushed and unprofessional on my part ;) and I think that's what you are referring to when you say "translucent maps". Every style on that map, though, is my own—I chose the size and colors of the secondary road lines, trying to achieve a balance between the roads and the other details being shown, and basing all of this on our ever-evolving standards at the Wikitravel:Regions map Expedition. I'm still trying to come up with a way to re-do the regions layer well for that one particular map, but do you think these are readable: Image:Moscow_Oblast_map_(ru).png and Image:Novgorod Oblast map.png? The main difference between what I have done in the past and what I am doing with these latest maps is including all the public lands/forests and also the urban districts that come in the OSM maps. Is this just a sensory overload? --Peter Talk 15:58, 12 July 2011 (EDT)
OK, now I get it. The forests and urban areas are indeed masking the roads and other stuff, especially when you put colored subregions on top. In Russia, forests are (nearly) everywhere, so they are, to my opinion, less important than roads and rivers. Honestly, I still opt for the "former" style with uniform colors and gray background highlighting the region.
PS. Without colored subregions, Moscow oblast looks better indeed. Atsirlin 17:46, 12 July 2011 (EDT)
I've of the opinion that at city-scale or larger, "green areas" should only be parks (public greenspaces, not just forest or swamp). At district-level, or very small villages (like Childs, which I just did), then you can show forests. I found the green spaces on the Oblast maps above to be very busy and to distract from the useful content of the maps. LtPowers 18:58, 12 July 2011 (EDT)
I like the *idea* of including forests on the maps, but it looks pretty busy in the Moscow Oblast and Novgorod Oblast maps (maybe it's the three different shades of forest/parks that were distracting). For region maps, my thought is we should focus on what the subregions are, major roads, etc., so I also prefer the uniform colours and gray background.
I do like the urban areas, especially on the Novgorod Oblast map. I think it looks more professional than the circles we usually use and it helps convey a sense of how big the cities are. I'm not sure if it would work in all situations though (like a high-level region map that has subregions -- it might get too busy again). Shaund 01:04, 13 July 2011 (EDT)
Sounds like a developing consensus against the forests—I still like them, but the point that it distracts from more useful content (especially, I think, in the Moscow Oblast example) is valid. For point of comparison, here is a unforested Novgorod Oblast map. --Peter Talk 10:53, 13 July 2011 (EDT)
I think this is a decision that can sensibly be left to the individual map-maker. Personally, I like the forests as well, and they convey information I am interested in. If though, the presence of a forest pattern completely distracted from other important information on any map, I would probably choose not to show them. I am not sure we need a policy as such on this.--Burmesedays 11:05, 13 July 2011 (EDT)
Yes, I strongly prefer the unforested map. I agree with Burmesedays that one should not make a strict rule about the forests, but let's avoid them for (most of) Russian regions, where we have many other things to show. Atsirlin 12:17, 13 July 2011 (EDT)
I agree with Alex. Arkhangelsk Oblast has taiga forest totally. And huge forests intresting for mushroom's seekers or hunters, but no for turist. Digr 09:25, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
Recently I've made maps of Arkhangelsk Oblast and railroads of Sochi. Planning to make Sochi city map and maps of other Russian regions. Can I continue, or this work is already somehow centralized? Andrey Selskiy 03:19, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
Very good and thank you! All efforts to make maps are highly valued. You might want to look at the contents of this talk page and the main expedition article about the way in which we have tried to standardise Wikitiravel region maps (colours, fonts, patterns etc). Thanks again. --Burmesedays 04:24, 15 July 2011 (EDT)


A reprise of where we stand and what might be next

After an enormous burst of new maps in 2009 and early 2010, this expedition has come to something of a standstill. I thought it would be helpful to have a quick assessment of what remains to be completed on the original list, and what we might tackle next.

Three large and quite important travel countries remain outstanding:

  • Portugal. The key hold up here was the regionalisation plan. That was agreed in February 2011 and Peter is onto it. This map ought to appear soon I fancy :).
  • Panama. After a long impasse, Vidimian proposed a region structure. Would be great if interested members could comment on that here.
  • Papua New Guinea. Long discussions about this at Talk:Papua New Guinea. I have had the map ready (in a least 3 different forms!) for about 15 months, but there is no agreement on what the region spilt should be. This is a bit frustrating to say the least.

The other outstanding maps are tiny islands (easy but very uninspiring to draw) and Haiti. I will certainly knock off as many of the island maps as I have time for. Does Haiti need travel regions or will a country map suffice?

Finally what might we tackle next? I would like to see a project to Wikitravelise some of the less standard looking maps - we can make a list. Any other ideas? --Burmesedays 09:17, 19 July 2011 (EDT)

Yeah, this Expedition will go from white hot to dead cold every now and then, and has done so for years. I'm feeling another big round coming up, though. If you are up to it, I'm up for it, and if we can get just one or two more people working on finishing the countries, we'll have them done in no time.
At some point the probably unfair and emphatically subjective notion got into my head that Portugal is irredeemably boring (I'm not a huge Western European travel fan anyway), and for that reason I have not been making any progress. I'd be happy to upload what I have if someone else would like to carry it for the final yards?
Fixing up older maps seems like a fine next major goal. --Peter Talk 22:55, 19 July 2011 (EDT)
I am definitely up for it :). --Burmesedays 07:10, 20 July 2011 (EDT)
I can finish the Portugal map. Is the SVG file at Shared the most recent version or do you have a better one to use that hasn't been uploaded yet? I'm going to be away for a bit during August but I'll try to chip in on some of the island maps. We're awfully close... although I think we're missing Bermuda on the list too.
Fixing up older maps is a fine idea to me as well. Shaund 00:42, 20 July 2011 (EDT)
Yes, wts:Image:Portugal regions map.svg was the last time I worked on this. *feeling sheepish* --Peter Talk 18:46, 22 July 2011 (EDT)
After finalising the country maps, a next step could be to make maps for all top level regions with further subdivision. This is of course a huge task but would be great fun. I might start out preparing a list (which in itself would take some time), --ClausHansen 04:36, 20 July 2011 (EDT)
Great to see many of "old gang" re-emerging :). I very much hoped that would happen.
On Bermuda Shaun - it is another of those overseas territory type places which is not actually a country but may as well be from a travel point of view. There is a list of those above to which Bermuda should be added. I think we need to tackle these as part of the expedition. Otherwise, Bermuda ends up being a region of the UK and that will not do :). I suspect there are more of these anomalies to clear up and that the Caribbean does not have a monopoly.--Burmesedays 04:56, 20 July 2011 (EDT)
I agree with ClausHansen, would be good to select some countries which we could make subdivision maps for. We've already had the US, but there are many countries left. --globe-trotter 08:07, 20 July 2011 (EDT)

Top regions

If we decide to work on top level regions with further subdivision, this table could be a basis:

Africa

South Africa

Asia

Bhutan

China

India

Indonesia

Japan

Malaysia


Philippines

Russia

Taiwan

Thailand

Turkey

Oceania

Australia

New Zealand

Europe


Belgium

Denmark

Finland

France

Georgia

Germany

Greece

Iceland

Ireland

Italy

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

United Kingdom


Americas

Argentina

Bolivia

Brazil

Canada

Chile

Colombia

Cuba

Mexico

USA

Venezuela



--ClausHansen 15:53, 21 July 2011 (EDT)

Woah, that's a big list! I think it'd be better if we'd single out some countries we'd feel have more priority. --globe-trotter 12:01, 24 July 2011 (EDT)
Agreed. And first I think we ought to finish off the list of countries and overseas territories. There are a number of (admittedly uninteresting) maps left to do. Great work in preparing this ref list though Claus. Thank you. --Burmesedays 12:08, 24 July 2011 (EDT)
Below is a shorter list (leaving out countries done, countries where the subregional plan does not appear to be fully developed yet, and also some smaller countries where the subdivision does appear to be less needed), --ClausHansen 18:35, 25 July 2011 (EDT)

Africa

South Africa

Asia

India

Indonesia

Malaysia

Philippines

Taiwan

Thailand

Turkey

Oceania

Australia

New Zealand

Europe


Belgium

Finland

France

Italy

Netherlands

Norway

Portugal

Spain

Sweden


Americas

Argentina

Bolivia

Brazil

Chile

Colombia

Mexico

Venezuela


--ClausHansen 18:35, 25 July 2011 (EDT)

Thanks Claus, this will be a great list to go on. Makes me feel like the ridiculous goal I put on my user page of "having region maps for every last region article on Wikitravel" may actually be a distant possibility! --Peter Talk 17:34, 30 July 2011 (EDT)

Territories, dependencies, and de facto states

I forgot another bit I was hoping to see done after we finish with the sovereign states of the world: major territories and dependencies, and de facto states. Here are the ones without maps:


Oceania


Eurasia

Americas

Africa

--Peter Talk 16:07, 31 July 2011 (EDT)

I see that the Crown Dependencies of Jersey and Guernsey have been added. If we are going to that level of detail then so should Alderney and Sark. I think better would be one map of the Channel Islands covering all of those. Something along the lines of this. Any objections to that approach? --Burmesedays 01:41, 3 August 2011 (EDT)

Oceania again

Just an FYI, I'm working on a new map of Oceania, from which it would be easy to create sub-region maps. --Peter Talk 16:07, 31 July 2011 (EDT)

And it's now done. Let me know what you think! --Peter Talk 17:36, 31 July 2011 (EDT)
I hate to be critical of such a well-crafted map, but I wonder if the region borders might not look better with more organic shapes rather than squared-off. Might not be practical, though... LtPowers 20:37, 31 July 2011 (EDT)
Marvellous job Peter.--Burmesedays 20:45, 31 July 2011 (EDT)
I went with the rectangular shapes in part because of the discussion above, but also after trying circular/freeform shapes and rectangles with rounded edges. The former got messy and the latter was just too hard to work when they bounce up against each other. --Peter Talk 00:52, 1 August 2011 (EDT)
Fair enough (and I can see how I seem to have contradicted myself. In my defense, my prior comment was about atolls, and the shapes are tightly bounded to the edges of the atolls, which made them look like islands. For grouping large groups of items, I was hoping splines and such would produce a more pleasing map, but if it's not practical, then so be it.) LtPowers 09:42, 1 August 2011 (EDT)

What is a region?

I would like to raise a discussion about what a region article can be (this might not be the right place so please move if needed)

I have noticed that for some articles we have in the region section references to articles that are not really regions in the sense that these articles do not contain links to citites and/or other destinations but do contain listings. One example is Fiji, where we both have "real" regions like Viti Levu and Vanua Levu but also have the other kind of regions like Kadavu. Another example is Barbados, which is so small that it has been decided not to split it in regions, but the four lowest level articles are presented as regions and not as cities/other destinations

I do appriciate that our policies on this are not very clear, but I think they should be. This might so far primarily be an issue for some small countries, but will soon also be for many subregions as we move on to subregionalise further, therefore I believe it is important to take the discussion now

My suggestion is that we only use region articles for (and only put references from the region section to) articles containing links to cities and/or other destinations, implying that lowest level articles for eg small islands should be linked from other destinations and not from regions. That would for Fiji imply that some of the smaller islands would have to be grouped in a new region and linked from there (and from the country article) from the other destinations section. And for Barbados it would imply that the four links in regions should be moved to cities/other destinations sections. However, these are only examples and my purpose here is not to argue that these articles should be changed

Examples of lower level region articles following the principle suggested above are North Zealand and Montgomery County (Maryland) where we have links from cities and other destinations to articles covering an area rather than just one city

--ClausHansen 18:26, 3 August 2011 (EDT)

Yes, I have also been wondering about this lately. I used regions in the same sense as you have applied it, and as is shown in North Zealand, but I've seen others taking a different direction. This also seems to have troubled up the Papua New Guinea discussion, as I said Bougainville "is not a region" (as it is just one article), while Burmesedays thinks its a region. The discussion is not so much about being a region or not, but about how we present the lowest level regions: about whether we use the cities/OD category or the regions category. I have always applied it in the first sense, as I've done at Gooi and Vecht Region. --globe-trotter 18:54, 3 August 2011 (EDT)
This is a good question, and the time is ripe to answer it. For Montgomery County, MD, my intent has been to put all such articles under "Cities," by putting "Northern Montgomery County" under "Outer suburbs." But for Barbados, listing Western Barbados as a "city" would seem ludicrous, and listing Bridgetown as a "region" seems odd. Part of the problem is that I would want to keep the OD list at Montgomery County separate, since that is useful information and a different kind of information. Meanwhile, I would prefer the the essential divisions shown on the map are under one header, not spread across two or even three sections.
Maybe we need a new header title at the bottom level? Occasionally we relax the rules and allow "Towns" instead of "Cities" when the latter would seem ridiculous. Maybe the "Regions" header was a bad idea from the start, and we should use "Divisions" in all country/region articles? Hopefully someone else has a better answer to this question ;) --Peter Talk 20:41, 3 August 2011 (EDT)
Lots of good points. I suspect that the issue lies with the nomenclature. "Divisions" or "travel divisions" might solve it. Having a bottom level article as a region does not really irk me in the way that in seems to others. Indeed, having regionalised a number of countries which are dispersed island groupings, the bottom level region method has proved invaluable. But I do understand the objections.
Bougainville, which G-t mentions, is a good example. This was very much driven by the traveler-comes-first principle, rather than by our own administrative conventions. Yes it is a region with only one article (for now), but very much functions as a top level region. It is culturally and ethnically different from the rest of PNG, and it is a semi-autonomous region which is soon likely to be fully independent. Also a rather good very OtBP article, if I do say so myself :).
Claus and Peter give another type of example with Barbados. There was simply no other way to deal with that issue which I could think of. Pleas were made on the talk page for input on this.
By dealing with those specific examples in the way we did, we have avoided unnecessary extra layers of articles, and that has to be a good thing.--Burmesedays 21:45, 3 August 2011 (EDT)
I certainly do not argue for any extra layers of articles. I see now where we do not agree: I see no reason to insist on having the division shown on the map under one header, if the division consists of both cities and other destinations why not allow them to spread across two sections? In a number of huge city articles we even introduce new subsections (eg inner city, suburbs) which works fine. I am working on a more detailed colour coded map for North Zealand and I would not like to have to put all destinations under one header, which would mean that some cities would have to be in other destinations (or regions) or areas like Øresund Coast would have to be in cities, which both seems odd to me. To me, this is not a question of administrative conventions but about putting links to destinations in the section where the traveller would expect to find it. Changing the name of the section from region to eg division could be a solution for Barbados (and I guess could be for North Zealand if it is considered important to keep the colour coded division in one section). What bothers me about having a bottom level article as a region is that we then use regions for two very different things, which I expect will confuse the traveller. For eg Fiji this could be avoided by changing the regional structure, but for other bottom level regions I see no other solution than to allow the colour coded division to spread across two sections
I find the way we use regions and subregions to organise our destination fantastic, so I would not like to see it confused by using regions for other purposes than to split countries or higher level regions with too many cities/other destinations into subregions. Please reconsider if it is really important to keep colour coded division in one section as this to me seems to be the reason for all the problems here, --ClausHansen 01:53, 4 August 2011 (EDT)
For North Zealand, why not try what you are proposing and then we can see it in place? I think I am in agreement with what you suggest, but would love to see a working example before being sure.
For Fiji, I think the map is great, very clear, and the region plan is fine and immediately understandable. The alternative for island groups like this (and there are lot of them), is broader top level region articles which then feed to individual island sets, or (please God no) more sub-region articles before the traveller gets to what he is really interested in. That's similar to the issue which has held up regionalising PNG for so long. Whichever way you look at it, that approach involves a layer of region articles which the current Fiji plan (for example, there are many others) does not require.--Burmesedays 02:29, 4 August 2011 (EDT)

Yes, please see North Zealand when it is done. For Fiji and other, I do not suggest more layers of regions, rather less as some of the island groups could be handled in one article by group. Broader top level regions feeding to other destination articles is what I suggest to avoid the confusion of having the regions mixed up with links to other destination articles, and this will not increase the number of layers, --ClausHansen 03:50, 4 August 2011 (EDT)

After the Bahamas discussion, I think I now understand what you are proposing Claus. My apologies if I have been a bit slow on the uptake. It is really is just a question of nomenclature it seems. If your concern is purely that something termed a region should link to a region- templated article, and that others should be termed differently (eg division, area or whatever), I don't think I have an issue with that in principle, as long as all the sensibly divided travel areas are shown on the same country (region) map. --Burmesedays 10:09, 4 August 2011 (EDT)

I don't think this is the best place for this discussion. It is more than just mapmakers who will be interested in providing input. LtPowers 13:44, 4 August 2011 (EDT)

While true, the barn-raising work we do on the expedition has made us much more effective at trying to understand each other's point of view and coming quickly to new consensuses in a pragmatic fashion than found in policy discussions around the site ;P (We should move this discussion, but I'd like to get through just a few more points before moving to Wikitravel talk:Geographical hierarchy, since we're making so much progress).
I don't really agree that having articles listed under "regions" that actually use a city template will confuse casual readers, who honestly don't pay that much attention to our formats, since they are just looking for information. It only tends to confuse the editors actually working on the hierarchy, and I'm confident we can get more comfortable with this as we gain more experience. (For example, we no longer blink at using small city templates for small islands.) At the bottom level, we may need to allow a bit more flexibility. If the Bougainville article benefits from having a "cities" section, even if it does not have sub-destination city articles yet created, I see no reason to limit our options in handling it on a case-by-case basis.
I don't really have a problem with allowing the colour coded divisions to spread across two sections. My worry is summed up by Claus' comment, the confusion of having the regions mixed up with links to other destination articles. I'm not sure what the solution would be; perhaps I didn't understand? --Peter Talk 16:30, 4 August 2011 (EDT)
My point is that I see the way we use regions to split countries/higher level regions into subregions to be so fundamental for how we organise our destinations, that we should not use the region section for anything else. Or in other words: the region articles are so different from city/other destination articles that they should not be mixed in the same section. I do not see what the problem would be to insist on keeping the lowest level articles (with listings and stuff) in the city or other destination sections. I agree that we should not limit our options in handling these issues case-by-case, but I have not seen any cases yet, where it benefits contributors, map-makers or readers to mix regions with non-regions in the regions section. I have no problem with the use of city templates for small islands. And I find it acceptable to change the section names for cities and other destinations if it appears reasonable for any specific articles. I have no problems with allowing the Bougainville article to have a cities section, even if it does not have sub-destination city articles yet created, but I do not see why it has to be listed with the regions as long as it is not a region article. To sum it up, I am not against flexibility, but I do not see which problems linking to non-region articles from the region section solves, --ClausHansen 18:12, 4 August 2011 (EDT)
The problem with the way we've used regions is that they are in fact one article. Which doesn't make them regions, but makes them destinations. While it is all a bit a matter of linguistics, it is true that a traveller would expect multiple destinations to appear after clicking on a region link. Thus, when clicking Viti Levu under the regions section, an article appears that shows all the cities and destinations on that island. But under Viti Levu is Taveuni, another island, but it does not give any destination to choose as it is a bottom-level article. In that sense, it would be more coherent if all those bottom-level articles were grouped into 1 region that consists of not more than 9 island destinations.
The same thing came up in PNG, where clicking on Bougainville would not give the traveller any destinations to choose, while the Highlands give plenty of options. This doesn't seem to make for a coherent regional structure. For the countries in Africa I saw this as less of a problem, as only a few regions were created per country and eventually they would be filled up with new articles. --globe-trotter 21:24, 4 August 2011 (EDT)
Correct on Bougainville. There are other examples as well. With Bougainville, my desire was to write one full article which would be helpful to the traveller, and not an empty region article and then a series of half empty city articles. Works very well I think.
I do not think we should change country maps that make sense for the traveler purely for reasons of our desire for administrative tidiness. But, if the change merely involves nomenclature, then I am OK with that in principle as stated above. Peter brings up a good point though, and I do wonder whether any such changes of nomenclature will make our tidy minds happy, but may actually confuse the casual user even more? Will the user care if it XXX is termed a region or division or area?--Burmesedays 22:01, 4 August 2011 (EDT)

Agree that the user will not care much if the section is called region or division, and I do not think that we should ever change the name of the region section. I am just saying that we should not put anything in the region section which are not regions, and I still do not see how it helps the traveller that we do so when we have the perfectly suited sections cities and other destinations to list destinations (and those two sections I think we should rename when need be). And for Bougainville, I agree that the article works fine and that it would be a mistake to split it on a number of articles, but why do we need to link to it from the regions section when it is not a region?, --ClausHansen 02:21, 5 August 2011 (EDT)

I think we should debate Bougainville on the Bougainville page, but the reality remains - it is a region; completely autonomous, ethnically and culturally divorced from the rest of PNG, and likely to be an independent nation soon. The fact that it works best without a Wikitravel region template only offends our administrative sensibilities, and nothing else.
As far as changing nomenclature is concerned, I think Barbados is a much better example. I would suggest the four "regions" there could be renamed divisions (for example).
At Solomon Islands I already applied a similar approach using "Islands" terminology rather than "Regions". Guadalcanal is in fact a Wikitravel region, but the distinction would just cause confusion. --Burmesedays 03:15, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
I think I may not have gotten my concern across very well—here's a clear example (you may need to refresh to get the current maps to display...). I have divided Montgomery County MD up according to exact census boundaries, creating a comprehensive scheme with 13 divisions (that's a lot, but it would not make sense to add yet another layer of regions). The divisions consist of 12 cities and 1 large rural region comprised of countryside, farms, parklands, and small towns. The cities clearly all fit well in the "Cities" section; Rural Montgomery County less so. The ways to handle this that I see are:
1) List Rural MC under "Regions" and then the rest of the cities under "Cities." Pro: Rural MC is a region, regardless of the technical usage of that term on Wikitravel by a few dozen editors. Con: It would give the impression of an extra layer of hierarchy that does not exist.
2) List Rural MC under "Cities." Pro: This keeps all the divisions within one section; in fairness, Rural MC does cover a good number of what we call on Wikitravel "cities" (towns, really). Con: Rural MC is straightforwardly not "a city."
3) List Rural MC under "Other destinations." Pro: Avoids the confusion of putting it under "Regions" and the awkwardness of calling it a "city." Con: There are several valid, traditional Other destinations in that list, which will not be displayed on the map as divisions (they are represented as usual with the little blue squares), and this jars with the image of one lone color coded division in the middle of the list.
4) Rename the whole section as "Divisions," "Subdivisions," or something better (hopefully), and do away with the "Regions" and "Cities" headers. Pro: All cons listed above are avoided. Con: The header names suck.
Between the four options, it seems like the other participants in this discussion prefer #3, but my order of preference would be 2,4,3,1—I think the muddling of the actual other destinations with what is effectively a "rural district/bottom-level region" is pretty undesirable, both for purposes of intuitiveness and aesthetics. If we could come up with a better subheader title for this case (like "Islands" for, say, the Bahamas), I would then prefer 4. --Peter Talk 01:38, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
I quite like the idea of 4. Divisions is a bit dull, but it is a neutral word that seems to cover most eventualities. At Montgomery County (Maryland) for example, it would certainly work without any jarring.
For the Bahamas (lovely map by the way), Islands works perfectly, just as it does at Solomon Islands, and I am sure elsewhere. Some of those islands might be WT regions, some not, but they are certainly all islands.--Burmesedays 02:07, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
So we have four kind of articles (regions, cities, rural areas/islands/bottom-level areas, national parks) but only three sections (regions, cities, other destinations). One aspect of what we are discussing here is where to put in the areas, which do not seem to fit in anywhere. None of the possibilities appears perfect, I prefer 3 as other destinations intuitively can be expected to include different kind of articles, 2 could be ok too, 4 could work at times but has the further con that the list of citites will disappear, 1 appears undesirable. But why not get around this by introducing a new section for areas (or whatever we prefer to call it)? The other aspect is whether to accept mix of WT regions with WT non-regions in the same section, which I still think we should avoid whenever possible, as it makes it difficult to understand the regional structure for a certain country/region, --ClausHansen 07:03, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
Huh; I've never seen a bottom-level region treated like that before. See Orleans County (New York) for a bottom-level region that fits better with how I see them. Montgomery County (Maryland) looks more like a mid-level region with the coloring the way it is; it strikes me as unusual to use the regionlist template for a list of cities. LtPowers 10:03, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
It is probably the first time I have come across a colour coded bottom level region as well. But it does work well I think. Showing city boundaries can't be unhelpful.--Burmesedays 10:10, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
If we can come up with a good name for 4, that would be my preferred option. I thought "Destinations" could work (i.e., combining Regions, Cities and Other Destinations), although I could see it creating long lists. After that, my preferred options are 3, then 2, and then 1. Shaund 12:01, 6 August 2011 (EDT)

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