WMDE Technical Wishes/Geoinformation/Nearby articles

We are working on an option to display nearby articles in a Kartographer map at an article page (phab:T304076)


Within the topic “Better support for Geoinformation” the Technical Wishes team aims to implement some improvements to Kartographer. To find out what kind of improvements are desired, a survey on international wikis using Kartographer and the German-speaking community was conducted in March 2022. The most popular request was the display of nearby articles on a map, next to the use of QIDs from Wikidata to add a marker to a map. The detailed results of the survey are published here. This feature was also requested in this year's Community Wishlist Survey 2022 run by the Wikimedia Foundation, where it also found numerous supporters.

This additional feature makes it possible to display geographically close articles on a Kartographer map. This creates an additional kind of reading of Wikipedia, where articles are geographically related to each other and may be explored as such.


"Show nearby articles" button

Each Kartographer generated map in full-screen mode is given a new “Show nearby articles” button at the bottom right (for left to right wikis). It can be used to show and hide up to 50 geographically close articles. The nearby articles are generated from the wiki the reader is currently at. They are displayed on the map with visually different markers than those that have been manually added by the creator of the map. So the latter are neither overwritten nor hidden. These and the nearby articles can be seen on the map at the same time and are clearly distinguishable from each other.

Clicking on the marker of a nearby article opens a pop-up containing the title, a brief description and an image of the article. Clicking on the title will take you from the map view to the article itself. If the article is linked to an entry on Wikidata, the pop-up displays a brief description from Wikidata. The image originates from the article itself and is provided by the MediaWiki extension PageImages, which also powers the images for the page preview pop-ups.

The search for the nearby articles is performed by CirrusSearch, combined with the "nearcoord:" search feature of the GeoData extension. While CirrusSearch prioritizes the articles according to their relevance, "nearcoord:" determines articles whose coordinates lie within the specified surrounding search radius. The coordinates of articles are defined with the help of the GeoData extension. This way, the top 50 relevant nearby articles are found and are given a marker on the map. As soon as you move the map with the mouse or zoom in and out, the map automatically updates new nearby articles.


In Kartographer maps on Wikivoyage, there is already a similar feature displaying nearby articles. It can be turned on with a button in the upper-left corner. Nearby articles are generated from an a priori defined list, this list is not updated automatically. The elements added by the authors such as geoshapes, lines and markers are hidden when the feature is turned on, so they are not visible at the same time as the nearby articles. While the feature on Wikivoyage can be turned on in both the small interactive preview map and the full-screen mode, the new feature is only available in full-screen mode. Due to performance limitations, interactive maps in the preview mode cannot be turned on for all Wikipedias.

This feature and the one developed by the Technical Wishes Team are technically not in conflict with each other and can exist in parallel for testing purposes. Eventually, however, the old feature will probably be replaced by the new one. Feedback on this is greatly appreciated.


This feature will initially only be made available in desktop mode. Whether it will also be made available for mobile remains open. This requires extensive technical research into how the feature can work with mobile data and what problems may arise.

At first glance, the new feature is somewhat resembling the Special: Nearby page, which displays articles that are geographically close to the reader's location. Here, too, the wish was repeatedly expressed that the articles should be displayed on a map instead of in a linear list. Since the special page and the new feature are different MediaWiki features, the new functionality of “Show nearby articles” in Kartographer generated maps cannot simply be transferred to the special page.


  •  Y October 12, 2022 the prototype deployed to a small group of wikis: German-language, Catalan and Hebrew Wikipedia and English Wikivoyage and on November 9, 2022 to the Russian-language Wikipedia
  •  Y October 27, 2022: German-language Wikivoyage

Taking into account the feedback we receive and in the further course of the project, the feature will be deployed to all other wikis most likely by the beginning of 2023.


Comments, questions and suggestions about this feature are welcome on the discussion page!