Post by Lars Aronsson
The company Demis in the Netherlands sells software for a map
server and also runs a demo on their own site. The map data for
this demo have been collected from public domain sources, and the
company doesn't claim any copyright for the generated maps. The
maps are not the very best, but good enough for many purposes.
Some maps of this origin are already at Wikimedia Commons, e.g.
and have been used for further processing, e.g.
I developed a simple tool that makes it easier to find the right
map, and then I uploaded two dozens of them to
However, the people at Demis are concerned about a "Slashdot
effect" that might overburden their map server if everybody starts
to use this tool. They would prefer if somebody could buy the
Demis software and run their own server. Unfortunately, the map
server only runs on Microsoft Windows.
Does anybody have a Demis server running already, that I can use
for my tool? There are many WMS-compliant servers out there, but
most have very fuzzy or complicated copyright restrictions.
I'm currently setting up a mapserver ( http://mapserver.gis.umn.edu/ )
based WMS infrastructure, integrating it into MediaWiki's GIS extension. The
idea is to remove almost all of those "City in country" images like in
and generate those automatically from a <geo> tag within the article:
50 07 N
8 41 E
(Syntax will probably change)
If you click the auto-generated map, you will be sent to a mapbender
( http://www.mapbender.org/ ) based map application. There you can scroll
around, explore the world. If you click on a city, the wikipedia article
for that city will be shown. If you zoom in, smaller towns or even placemarks
within towns will show up.
Currently I use NASA's blue marble for fancy background and CIA's
political borders for more boring background. Demis' hillshading would
be a real improvement to this.
Data is stored in PostGIS, since it supports geospatial indices.
- On large scale maps, show also the locations of images from commons
- provide an interface to the community to also edit rivers, streets, etc
CIA data on these is quite crappy.
- collaboration with other data-generating GIS projects, e.g. with the
people that generate city maps from GPS tracks.
A first screenshot is available at http://jeluf.mormo.org/~jf/wikimaps3.pdf
(Yes, there are UTF-8 issues to solve. I know already how to do it. Yes,
I need help of a web designer. This still looks like an engineer-made web
* Compile two dozens of tools and libraries
* Store GIS data from wiki articles
* Show GIS data in mapbender
* autogenerate maps from coordinates in wikipages
* Integration of various sources for layers (Blue Marble, CIA data, some
* make cities clickable (50% done, needs some more filtering)
* make extent of autogenerated maps nicer. E.g. for "city in Germany",
show all of Germany.
* Web interface design. Not neccessarily monobook...
* Package everything, documentation
* First public testbed in 2 weeks.
* Release in 2 months.