FixWikiMaps projectWikipedia has become a great resource for people to learn about anything and everything, and its constant up-to-date database has become a reliable source for many individuals throughout the world. While the text is constantly getting updated and corrected, the maps and graphics leave something to be desired. The FixWikiMaps Project is here to fix that.

FixWikiMaps is a project started with the goal to update, correct, and beautify all the maps and visualizations throughout Wikipedia. In order to do this, FixWikiMaps teamed up with the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) to have the first ever MapLift, a week long event to find maps on Wikipedia and complete the FixWikiMaps mission. The event occurred from August 28th through September 4th, had over 180 signups, and the results were fantastic.

Louisiana Purchase – this map was updated and beautified by MapLift

Louisiana Purchase – this map was updated and beautified by MapLift

Louisiana Purchase map before the update

Louisiana Purchase map before the update

MapLift added over 132 new maps to the FixWikiMaps website and database, taking the total number available for lifting from 90 to 224. Of those 224 maps, 72 of them were completed and uploaded to Wikipedia. Some saw drastic updates while others need minor tweaks in labeling, color, or data in order to more closely follow the map guidelines of Wikipedia. Along with the online MapLift event, there were also in person events held around the US as well, including 4 Maptime chapters devoting their monthly meetings to MapLift.

Map of Lake Turkana – this map was newly created within the MapLift project

Map of Lake Turkana – this map was newly created within the MapLift project

MapLift also brought positives to FixWikiMaps and NACIS. FixWikiMaps created a new website (fixwikimaps.org) with more functionality and is still constantly expanding. As well as the new website for FixWikiMaps, both NACIS and FixWikiMaps received some great publicity on Twitter. Both accounts received a huge influx of followers and was a featured topic on the #geowebchat of September.

If you’d like to contribute to the FixWikiMaps Project, head over to fixwikimaps.org to see what maps are available and claim one. Be sure to also check out NACIS and their annual conference coming up this October 13th–October 17th in Minneapolis. It’s not too late to still sign up!

Guest author: Brian Davidson