Writing from the sea: Mapping wikipedia

When I first saw the Mapping Wikipedia project by TraceMedia (via FastCompany) I asked myself, “How are they writing from the sea?” I must have asked out loud because my partner responded, “Maybe they are in boats.” Maybe.

In all seriousness, this is an incredibly beautiful visualization that highlights Wikipedia activity across the world, filtered through seven languages and all countries, under the context of the Middle East and North Africa (it was designed as part of a project which studies those regions, so you’ll see right away that the language filters all relate to this geography–e.g., French and no Spanish).

I have to admit that I spent an inordinately long amount of time trying to recreate all the authors in boats scenario that I saw in the Fast Company screenshot (below). I couldn’t, but I had fun trying. All joking aside, the apparent simplicity bely the richness of the data underneath–this project was built using OpenLayers and GoogleMaps and is yet another example of the capabilities of HTML5. And FastCompany does a nice job of hinting at the myriad possibilities that something like this could open up. Take some time to select a few troubled spots in the world and you’ll see what I mean.

Wikipedia in Europe