Wikitravel Press: Open Content printed travel guidebooks using OpenStreetMap


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Presentation at OpenStreetMap's State of the Map 2008, Limerick, Ireland.

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Wikitravel Press: Open Content printed travel guidebooks using OpenStreetMap

  1. 1. Open content printed travelguidebooks using OpenStreetMap Jani Patokallio
  2. 2. Overview● Whats Wikitravel?● A Brief History of Mapping on Wikitravel● Integrating Wikitravel and OSM● Future plans
  3. 3. Website● "Wikipedia meets Lonely Planet"● Launched in July 2003● Almost 50,000 articles in 20 languages – ~19,000 in English version alone● 10,000+ edits/week● Webby Award for Travel in 2007
  4. 4. Printed guides and Wikitravel Press● Addresses an obvious need – Internet is good, but sometimes paper is better – Current guides are 3-10 years out of date● A design goal since day one – Long, comprehensive articles > short stubs – "Can you sleep?" test for creating a page● The key: Print on demand – Book is printed after you order – Information in the guide is up-to-date
  5. 5. Flow betweenwebsite andbook:1) Edit guide2) Publish guide3) Deliver guide4) Read guide5) Edit guide...
  6. 6. State of the Map, 2003● Virtually no usable open map data when Wikitravel was founded in 2003● OpenStreetMap? – Didnt exist● Wikipedia? – Maps vary wildly in appearance and licensing – Only rarely street-level● So we had to roll our own...
  7. 7. The First Map:Montreal, 2003
  8. 8. Mapping with DEMIS● DEMIS Web Map Server ( – Semi-commercial software, free web demo● Generates nicely shaded maps of any spot on the planet – Output is GIF only – No street data – Minimal, often faulty city, road, rail data● License is almost-but-not-quite PD● Usable "region" maps with a little work
  9. 9. DEMIS:Iriomote, Japan
  10. 10. Mapmaking Expedition● Standardize appearance – Listing icons● Document mapmaking process – Trace over satellite imagery – SVG format, so relatively easy to edit
  11. 11. Homemade:Helsinki, Finland
  12. 12. But nevertheless...● Intimidating barrier of entry – A number of prospective editors for WTP guides screamed and ran for the door● Time-consuming to create – More time spent drawing than editing● Painful to maintain – Bars and restaurants go bust, hotels change name – No link between guide data and map
  13. 13. OpenStreetMap to the rescue!● Vast treasure trove of detailed, CC- licensed map data● World map is improving continually● Web interface and tools being developed● Output can be customized by editing XML "style sheet"● How does Wikitravel fit into all this?
  14. 14. OSM v1:Helsinki, Finland
  15. 15. Step 1: Listings in OSM● Listings (attractions, restaurants, nightspots, hotels and whatnot) added as nodes to OSM● Verify that names are identical – either name or name:en used to match● The beauty of it: – No Wikitravel-specific tags needed for OSM – No geodata needed in Wikitravel itself
  16. 16. Step 2: Export and merge● Wikitravel listings are also XML <see name=”Foo” address=”8 Bar St”>Great place!</see>● Mashing the two together just requires a little XSLT magic● End result: – OSM data dump with Wikitravel-listed nodes changed to use icons and the rest removed – Dump of matched and unmatched listings
  17. 17. Step 3: Generate SVG● SVG output customized for printability – Large fonts – Contrasty colors (even in grayscale) – Unnecessary stuff removed● Main file has the map and icons● Second file has an automatically generated key to the listings● Put them together and you get...
  18. 18. OSM v2:Helsinki, Finland
  19. 19. Problems (1/2)● OSM not very friendly for adding listings – Current: Need to add "nodes", "tags" etc – Wanted: Drag-and-drop little restaurant, bar, hotel etc icons into the map – Ideal: Drag-and-drop from Wikitravel page into the map (so name etc are automatic)● Matching can be a little hit-or-miss – If two places have exactly the same name, Wikitravel cant tell them apart – Solution: Add OSM IDs to Wikitravel?
  20. 20. Problems (2/2)● Osmarender SVGs and Inkscape – Can edit and export, but corrupts when saved● No “Recent changes” – Who changed what and why? – Example: We added boundaries for Paris arrondissements, but they were removed – After lots of detective work, it turned out that boundaries should be done as relations...
  21. 21. Future plans● User-friendly icons into Potlatch● A slippy map server for Wikitravel – Sights, restaurants, hotels etc as layers that can be turned on and off● ...
  22. 22. Thank you