Mapping Wikipedia in Europe & North America

The five videos here all show the mapping of English and French Wikipedia Articles in North America and Europe.

At this zoom level it is possible to observe geographical features like cities, transport infrastructures – roads and railways, and natural features like rivers and mountains described by the data.

Wikipedia Articles in North America

In the following video of English in North America, mapped by density, you can see the accumulation of geo-referenced wikipedia articles subtly describe features in the landscape. The articles appear to emanate from the cities and centres of population over time.

The video above shows English in North America again, but this time the metric shows ‘article creation date’ over a moving date range of 4 months. Mapping article density highlights where large clusters of articles are present whereas using the ‘article creation date’ metric and the small date range make it is possible to pick out fine grain geographical features. The Winnipeg and Churchill – Train line appears at the end of 2009, and the mountain peaks on the British Columbia–Alberta border appears around 2010 (see 0.54 seconds in the video).

English Language Wikipedia in Europe

Unlike the US density map above, the English map of Europe is so densely packed with articles in places like the UK, Israel and the Palestinian Territories that it is impossible to pick out cities. The mapped territory has definite edges to it, the area beyond these boundaries have much sparser articles, east of Poland and Romania is a virtual Terra Incognita to English speaking Wikipedia.

English and French Wikipedia Word Count

In the English and French maps of Europe below, mapping ‘article word count’ over a moving date range of 4 months, enables us to see the rapid production of regional stubs, especially after 2006. The brighter light coloured dots indicate articles with a word count of >1000, whilst the darker red coloured dots a word count less than 250. This word count data is for the articles at the present time, so those darker red articles still remain as stubs.

It’s possible to compare these maps and see how the different languages shape the way that places are defined and imagined.
These geo-lingustic contours can be seen temporally as they play out across the maps.
In the French map – the pilgrims route westwards to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, appears from 2011 (see 0.46 seconds in the video), but doesn’t appear in the English map.

You can see the project here:
Mapping Wikipedia Timeline Interactive →
Mapping Wikipedia Timeline on Vimeo →

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