is an online map
combines Google Maps
with a wiki
system, allowing users to add information, in the
form of a note, to any location on Earth
Inspired by the success of Google Maps
, two Russian Internet
entrepreneurs Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev launched the
website on May 24, 2006. Its aim is to describe the whole
. It now has over 11,047,360 places marked. Although
registration is not required to edit or add to WikiMapia, over
533,000 users from around the world currently are registered.All
content uploaded by users becomes the intellectual property of
Tag a location
WikiMapia allows any contributor to add a "tag" (placemark) to any
location by marking out a polygon
location and then providing a default language, title, description
and one or more categories. An optional note can be provided, as
well as images and embedded YouTube
which all appear on the place's information window.
Multiple categories can be added to any placemark by clicking the
link and either selecting from a list of
common categories, or by typing in the first few letters of the
word to search for a category. The numbers displayed in parentheses
next to each category indicate the number of placemarks belonging
to that category. Basic functions also allow users to link to a
article, add an
address, or specify whether a polygon outlines a building (as
opposed to a parcel of land).
Users also can add up to seven pictures to each tag by selecting
from the placetag's menu. This opens a
dialog box, allowing the user to upload a photo from their computer
or the internet.
Location tagging is fully multi-lingual, meaning that there is no
need to create separate tags for different languages. If a place is
described in multiple languages, the user can navigate to other
language pages by clicking on the link at the bottom of the window.
Currently a total of 101 languages are supported, and 100% of the
interface has been translated into 56 languages. Most of the
languages (except Chinese) use ISO 639-1
naming conventions. Registered users can help translate the
WikiMapia interface at a special page
Wikimapia also allows users to add so-called "linear features",
meaning roads, railroads, ferry lines, and rivers. The interface
allows users to specify the size of the road (major highway, side
street, dirt road, etc.), to indicate one-way streets, and to
provide a brief description. It also allows users to describe
intersections and tunnels.
The railroad and ferry line interfaces are similar to the one used
for roads. The river marking tool is somewhat more complex, as
there are secondary lines that can be used to define the river's
The roads feature is also used to populate a dropdown list of
nearby street names in a tag's address box.
WikiMapia also allows registered users to set up watchlists to
monitor changes on certain areas of the map. Users can define the
size and location of each watched region and save it under a unique
In addition to the Messaging system, which runs from the map
screen, WikiMapia also operates a forum, which was launched in
October 2007. Although a separate wiki User Guide exists, most of
WikiMapia's policy discussions take place at the forum.
Voting and user statistics
Users can vote in favor of or against other users' contributions,
thereby allowing users to rise in status among the community. There
also is a user statistics and ranking board which automatically
ranks users based on their contributions. However, vote tallies and
user statistics have no impact on a user's user-level.
User accounts and levels
Optional user accounts were introduced in October 2006. User levels
and permissions have evolved over time in response to the need to
control vandalism or abuse. As explained in the WikiMapia FAQ,
there are three user-levels.
- User Level 0 (UL0): Level 0 is the default
user level assigned to all new users. UL0 are able to add places,
edit existing places, and use the personal messaging system. New
users are temporarily prevented from posting in the forum.
- User Level 1 (UL1): Users are automatically
upgraded to UL1 after a few days. In addition to the regular UL0
functions, UL1 users are able to change polygons (place outlines),
delete places, and contribute to the forum. The vast majority of
Wikimapia contributors fall into this category.
- User Level 2 (UL2): A few hundred registered
WikiMapia users have been granted Level 2 access. UL2 permissions
include functions which are vital to maintaining site security
(such as the ability to initiate ban proceedings on vandals) and
anti-vandalism efforts on the map itself (such as the ability to
delete a greater number of tags, to protect tags against editing by
unregistered users, and to quick-delete certain tags).
UL2 status and strike
UL2 status may be one of the most misunderstood aspects of
WikiMapia's hierarchy, in part, because the process of promotion
remains mysterious to most new users. Level 2 permissions are
granted solely at the discretion of WikiMapia Administrators (or
site owners), and have been revoked in a few instances. Although
Wikimapia Administrators have historically taken recommendations by
senior users into account when promoting new users, they have also
occasionally acted unilaterally to demote UL2 users. In July 2009,
the unannounced demotion of several users who had vocally objected
to changes to the project was met with strident resistance by many
of the project's senior users. This resistance took the form of a
, broadly defined as
the cessation of all "advanced" user level functions by
participating UL2s.. The answer of Administrators has consisted in
deleting some of the threads, which has been described as
In October 2008, a Beta
version was made
accessible to registered users for testing. The new interface adds
new features such as "terrain patches" and a new layer, called
"WikiMapia Map". The WikiMapia Map layer shows only information
that is made by WikiMapia users, such as polygons and roads — and
the polygons are in different colors depending on the category of
the tag, e.g., blue for a lake or reservoir, or green for a park.
Users can also filter what places are displayed by category. A
WikiMapia wiki was started for documentation and to help with
Wikimapia Beta is now the official version of WikiMapia (since July
3, 2009), although some users have shown their discontent with this
decision. It has been criticized that area measurement is not
available anymore. It can, however, be initialized by executing a
java script by writing
into the URL line of the browser.
Clutter and filtering
areas of the world with out-of-date or very expensive mapping, such
as India, WikiMapia
growth has been phenomenally rapid.
This rapid growth
brought problems of its own, however. Urban areas became covered
with thousands of overlapping rectangles marking the positions of
private residences, but there was no provision in the WikiMapia
interface for distinguishing those residences from places of public
interest. Recently, however, category browsing has been introduced,
allowing users to select what category or categories of features
they want displayed.
Unlike Wikipedia, all user content on WikiMapia is licensed
exclusively to WikiMapia. WikiMapia does not use a GFDL
license, so royalties and many usage rights are
forfeited to WikiMapia upon submission. According to the site's
Terms of Service, user submissions are available for personal or
educational non-commercial purposes through the website.
The site generates some income using Google
. In July 2007, the founders of WikiMapia decided to start
looking for an investor to accomplish their plans.
A GPS receiver
can be connected to WikiMapia using a
plug-in program (beta, download for Windows OS from WikiMapia site
Limited WikiMapia functionality is available on: