Community Wishlist Survey 2022/Miscellaneous/Kartographer icon improvements

Kartographer icon improvements

Icons urgently needed for Wikimedia maps
Some icons currently available, but of little use to Wikimedia maps
Currently, a skyscraper is an office, a capitol building is a town hall, a hotel is a bed, a church is a cross, and banks are credit cards?
  • Problem: There is no one clear set of icons dedicated to Wikimedia maps. Three things need to happen – (1) an established set of icons particular to Wikimedia mapping needs, (2) the rewriting needed in order to add this set of icons, and (3) better support to more easily add and modify icons in the future.
  • Background: Kartographer-based Mapframe maps work wonders to easily show maps in Wikipedia infoboxes and beyond. However the mapping tool really suffers from a lack of identifying icons. Especially for maps that show numerous features, editors are having to be creative to come up with icons that just barely associate with their topics. This is because MediaWiki uses an obsolete version of Maki icons, but even that still wouldn't fix all the problems relevant to Wikimedia spaces. The Maki icon set was designed for maps, though not for Wikimedia. Therefore it has numerous icons useless to Wikimedia spaces, and lacks icons essential to mapping here. There are at least 11 unclear icons, and at least 47 missing icons key to mapping here.
Other problems include, for accessibility, making more options for legibility. Right now, icons only display white. Icons should be able to be at least colored black, if not more colors, for increased contrast when the marker color is set to a lighter color. Markers should also have options for shapes other than the default teardrop shape, to allow for differentiation when using grayscale maps and for people with low color recognition (see task T131618).
  • Who would benefit: Innumerous Wikimedia spaces, primarily Wikipedia and Wikivoyage, but including numerous unique projects like Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Earth, which need good mapping.
  • Proposed solution: Developing an additional entirely new set of icons, including many of the below missing or unclear examples:
Part one: coding
  • Code to allow for easy icon additions and improvements. This needs to happen now, and likely as Kartographer becomes more widespread on WMF projects, future changes will be necessary.
Part two: icon/marker formatting
  • Icons, currently only available in white, should be available at least in black as well, for increased contrast when marker-color is set to a light color
  • Markers should have more shape options behind the tear-drop shape.
Part three: fixing unclear icons
Part four: adding missing icons
  • More comments: The above set of icons proposed are only ones I have found immediately relevant; others in the current Maki set or elsewhere may prove to be as well. Careful care needs to be taken to ensure a non-Western view, as some instances of map icon bias have already been pointed out.
How this should best be solved needs investigation, whether it be adopting later Maki items, WMF or community creating new icons, utilizing existing free Commons files, or a combination of those options. Nevertheless, the technical function of adding and modifying icons needs to take place.


This would be a relatively easy service to build (and one I actually have on my very long term todo list), now that Kartotherian is no longer so strictly coupled with everything. The hardest parts are versioning and numbered poi's. My current design looks like:


Where default icons then maps a name to a more specifc icon of a styleset. Then from the geojson, you can refer to: tenniscourt for the default or "maki/v4/tenniscourt" for instance for another set. And you could refer to pog-red or wmf/v1/pog-red. It also needs a rewrite/update of the makizushi compositing library to put icons and marker images together. It would be relatively easy to do, but does take some time. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:30, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks, @TheDJ:. I hope this can move to a more short-term to-do list, because it's definitely been a barrier for many users. I've encountered a good amount of opposition to mapframe because of poor design - this would be a huge plus for many users to switch over. (talk) 04:07, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Can you link these four icon sets so I can see what is suggested but not in them? And what could be the process to add new icons? I can design new icons, but would need a way to add them in. (talk) 04:23, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
For mapframes, there are OpenStreetMap, which contains different information about the location. I agree with the icon that's not very good. Thingofme (talk) 02:53, 16 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Don't forget that Wikivoyage exists with comments like 'these can't be used for Wikimedia' ;). --Izno (talk) 22:34, 18 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Is this referencing my image caption? I use and edit Wikivoyage too, and don't see how those highlighted icons could be useful for that project. (talk) 03:39, 19 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Not sure if any multi-project nominations are divided up that way, have you found any or any rule for it? (talk) 03:39, 19 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Multimedia does not mean "images and video" and that's the part I think this falls under. Izno (talk) 04:41, 19 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
What about having POIs that show number above 99? This is one of most annoying thing on those icons. --Andyrom75 (talk) 20:10, 28 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]