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W's from Google mapsWikipedia fans and Google maps users may have heard recently that Google has unveiled a handsome new feature for its ubiquitous mapping system.
Alongside the familiar ‘satellite’ and ‘terrain’ viewing options for maps, you can know click on ‘more’ then click the Wikipedia check box. In a flash the big serif W you know and love blankets mother earth, offering thousands of links to articles with geographic coordinates.
A great feature, and another novel way to explore the depths of Wikipedia’s millions and millions of articles.
Jay Walsh, Head of Communications

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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This is great news and it gives Wikipedia some serious cachet in being the only other website being directly used in their default interface. Not only does it put our content ‘out there’ in a new form but facilitates the use of our content in new ways. Although geo-tagged WP articles is not new, this is a new order of magnitude in their prominence.
Well done.

Can we get the Common’s image overlay (see e.g. [http://maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=http:%2F%2Ftools.wikimedia.de%2F~para%2FGeoCommons%2FGeoCommons-simple.kml&ie=UTF8&ll=37.746693,-119.542236&spn=0.041196,0.060511&z=14 here for images around Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, U.S.]) integrated into their “Photo” checkbox, too?

The striking thing about this feature is how when I explore my immediately surrounding area I discover articles on so many things that I have direct experience with or could easily visit, many of which I either didn’t know much about more or didn’t expect to have articles. This is a great tool for building the encyclopedia, by helping people find local topics to expand (and in particular, to photograph).

Does this work for all languages? I don’t see anything with the interface language at Google set to anything else but English. (It also appears that the Commons overlay only works with hl=en.)