Wikivoyage talk:Map

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Creating a policy[edit]

We never needed a Map policy before, because, well maps are so obviously useful to travellers that it is has never been a bone of contention before.

Now we have contributors getting quite upset about the presence of dynamic maps. Can we define a short policy that states our policy towards maps, including how we handle static and dynamic versions? Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:22, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

Thanks, it is a good start. The sentence about static maps could be expanded. We should consider whether it is acceptable to have both a static and a dynamic map. I would suggest that any new static maps should use letters rather than numbers for POIs to avoid confusion with listing numbers / dynamic maps (maybe this should go elsewhere). AlasdairW (talk) 23:19, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
The thing with the numbering on static maps vs listing numbers is a issue that I have been thinking about. I just started a discussion on that: Wikivoyage_talk:How_to_draw_static_maps#Static_maps_numbering_and_numbering_of_markers_for_dynamic_map. I think it probably should go there, as that's where I assume people will look before creating static maps. Drat70 (talk) 01:57, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for starting this. Regarding replacing static maps with a dynamic one, when the static map is not necessarily outdated, but just utter rubbish (like the one here and in some of its sub-regions), I propose it should be policy to put a dynamic map in its place, until such a time when there is a decent static map that imparts any worthwhile knowledge. As for who gets to decide which maps fit the criteria "utter rubbish", that should be discussed on a case-by-case basis and implemented when there is a consensus. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 23:38, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Conversely, there are a couple of instances where it makes sense to use a static map instead of a dynamic one. One is article promotion to "Star" which still calls for "a tourist-style map, in Wikivoyage style with modifiable vector source, showing how to get around" a city. The other is an upper-level region (or country) where a static map is the clearest way to colour-code the individual subregions onto the land.
The same article having a static and a dynamic map existed at Adirondacks. I believe it was resolved by including the static map in-line but merely linking to the dynamic map. As far as I know, a parameter to "display this staticmap as alternate only where dynamic mapping breaks - such as printed hard copy, PDF, or web with Javascript disabled" used to be available before we switched to mw:extension:Kartographer but trying that now just displays both maps, cropping the static map if too wide instead of resizing it sensibly.
Removing a map entirely is reasonable if someone dropped a {{mapframe}} without providing any co-ordinates for any of the {{listing}}s. In that case, the dynamic map should be restored once we have any POI's to place on it. K7L (talk) 02:15, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Static maps should be favored over dynamic maps for all articles except bottom-level destinations (Huge City district articles and undistrictified cities), though dynamic maps are better than nothing in those cases. But in the case of bottom-level destinations, I would actually support proactively phasing out static maps in favor of dynamic ones, including in Star articles (whose prohibition on dynamic maps is long overdue for updating). Given the paucity of users who know how to edit static maps, and the propensity of businesses to open and close, for all intents and purposes a static map on a bottom-level destination article is outdated almost as soon as it's uploaded. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 03:02, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

The traveller comes first. A map may be included when it is clearly useful to the traveller. If adding another map is clearly more useful to the traveller, then another map may be included. Sometimes one scale may be useful for context, and another for detail, and if one of these is static and the other is dynamic, then both types can be used. Other times some of the information may only be available on one type, and the rest on another. The map of North Wales mentioned by Thundering Typhoons above is an example of a map which is of almost no practical use at all. it gives almost no useful context, and about the same amount of practical detail. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:48, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

And yet, North Wales is a top level region within Wales, so if we make compulsory static maps on such articles a policy reality, then we have to either get more people creating better static maps, or we'll be largely stuck with what we've got. While I accept the arguments made that dynamic maps are not that great for showing regional divisions, at the very least it could be policy to add a dynamic map in addition to a poor static map, if not replacing. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 09:24, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
With some effort a half-way decent dynamic map (could be simplified somewhat) for North Wales can be created - I created one and put it on North Wales talk page. -- Matroc (talk) 04:11, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Future changes and embellishments for our use of Kartographer extension has been sort of put on hold because of WMF funding limitations and future requests etc. may not be addressed right away if considered at all. -- Matroc (talk)

Should this even be a policy?[edit]

"This is a draft policy." Please, no. Making this "policy" leaves it cast in stone and allows it to be used to impose a specific position in edit disputes. That inflexibility could become problematic as the capabilities of the various mapping tools evolve. Currently, it's possible to generate a dynamic map for a region article but these capabilities are limited and leave much to be desired. We therefore are prone to favour static maps for upper-level regions and "star"-level articles.

What happens if some subsequent version of the dynamic map software addresses these issues, and produces a usable region map? We will be stuck with policy which precludes their use. Instruction creep is difficult to roll back once it's been enshrined in policy. K7L (talk) 17:00, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

What else would it be if not a policy? We don't just have random pages lying around in projectspace that don't describe either current, proposed, or outdated policies. Powers (talk) 19:54, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
A policy also makes it clear where there is flexibility and where there is not. I hope the current wording makes it clear that there is a good deal of discretion in how you can use any kind of map. Where there is a preference for static maps in a particular article type then that guidance is fine. It doesn't set in stone that a Dynamic map may never be used in that article. Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:41, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
WP tends to distinguish clearly between technical documentation and help pages (you can do something this way), essays (one person's opinion as to why to do it this way), jokes (we're only being sarcastic by saying to do it this way), guidelines (you should do it this way) and core policies (you must do it this way). The latter tend to be inflexible, and ignore core policy at your peril. Policy tends to be difficult to change once it's in place.
If we take a statement like "dynamic Maps allow you to specify an image to replace them with a static map when printing occurs" and enact it into binding core policy? That risks saying the editor must do things that particular way. Unfortunately, that statement is based on assumptions on the behaviour of the underlying software, which are wrong. The 'staticmap=' fallback does not display correctly so a policy requiring its use is creating issues, not resolving them. A help page at this point would be useful. A guideline? Depends on whether it's kept up to date. A binding policy? That could leave us bound to something which makes no sense as the mapping software evolves. At the moment, a dynamic map is enough for a small bottom-level region like Northern New York but not for something more complex like Atlantic Canada? If we make this "policy" today, will it still make sense tomorrow? K7L (talk) 12:44, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
That point is correct. I'd like to make this short as possible, so such text should be removed if it rather belongs in a help page. Andrewssi2 (talk) 19:19, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm aware of WP's distinctions between different types of projectspace pages, but I don't see the relevance. WV has always had an intentionally simpler structure and hierarchy. Technically, we don't have any guidelines; we lump all sorts of advice and best-practices under "policy" for simplicity's sake. If K7L is suggesting we introduce a different type of page (such as "guideline") that's a major change to the site's administration and should be discussed widely. Powers (talk) 20:36, 11 October 2017 (UTC)


Is there a good reason to capitalize "static map" and "dynamic map" in the article? I would say not, but I'm willing to consider counterarguments. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:47, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

There's certainly no grammatical reason. They're not proper nouns :-) --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 12:11, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that's my point of view, too. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:56, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
That must be the technical writer in me :) Static maps and dynamic maps are software components, therefore it made sense to me to capitalise. I don't have a problem to remove capitalisation though. Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:44, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Any other views on this? Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:27, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Not from me. Ibaman (talk) 23:02, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

"Dynamic map preferred"[edit]

I'm not comfortable stating that dynamic maps are preferred for districts and non-districted cities. I understand the limitations of static maps, but at the moment they are the only way to get an aesthetically pleasing map that meets our guidelines for our best articles. Powers (talk) 20:39, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

I think that a weaker statement that says that a dynamic map is fine would be better. How about "Suitable for a dynamic map". Which sort of map is better for these articles depends on the quality of the static map, and of the dynamic maps for that particular city. Generally I find that dynamic maps are technically better and more likely to be up to date, but I have found locations where the base map is poor and the text is only in the local alphabet. In a policy, we are probably best not to get too deep into the preference for static versus dynamic maps, except for countries having static maps. AlasdairW (talk) 22:28, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Agree both of you. Please change text accordingly. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:13, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Strongly disagree. If anything, the original phrasing should be stronger, not weaker, and it's the "guidelines for our best articles" that need to be changed. See my comments above about static maps for bottom-level destinations being outdated as soon as uploaded. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:00, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
I also think that static maps are much better at the moment. From my experiences traveling and using WV articles, I find it very hard to get around the current dynamic maps as they don't really show transport lines very clearly. Even at the highest zoom level I have trouble deciphering which station belongs to which line etc. and even getting the station name can be tricky. (See Seoul/Jongno for illustration). I've tried manually adding train lines and stations to a few articles (See Singapore/Riverside) which helps a bit in my opinion, but the effort to do that is not much less than updating an outdated static map. So for dynamic maps to be on par with static maps, at the very minimum we should find a way of including this kind of vital information.
Of course the advantages of dynamic maps are undisputed, and if in the long term we can bring them visually closer to what the static maps look now, then this is definitely the way to go. But as of now, even a 10 year old static map is in most cases much more useful to me than a dynamic map at the current state. So for now I agree, we should change the text as mentioned above. Drat70 (talk) 01:07, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Maps are used for more than just navigating around a city by public transit, and anyway it's a perfectly ordinary thing for a single article to have a dynamic map showing listings as well as a static one showing transport lines. (And for that matter, Commons has static maps of most municipal transit networks that can be readily uploaded here.) -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 05:05, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
But navigating around a city by public transport is a very important and essential feature of a travel map. I my experience, in big cities I've visited (in Europe and Asia) most travelers don't drive and having a map illustrating public transportation in combination with at least the most important roads and sights in a certain area is really important. (Which doesn't work with a schematic map of the municipal transit network alone, as those rarely are to scale). If I have to use two maps, one with the listings and one of the transport system, that is really quite bothersome. In the above mentioned case of the Seoul map, I ended up getting so frustrated with trying to get around using the dynamic map that I discarded it and just mapped out the sights I wanted to see on a paper map before heading out in the morning. That is to me a sign that the map doesn't fulfil its purpose at all. Drat70 (talk) 05:36, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
I think we can agree that different maps are more useful for different purposes. The dynamic maps are useful for interactive browsing and quick location of points of interest. But in my experience, those functions are better served by commercial software like Google Maps (or Bing or Mapquest or Apple Maps), since the quality of their maps far exceeds ours. Where we excel is in creating tourist-style maps that show everything the traveler needs to see in one image, being able to move markers and labels around as needed to produce a useful, aesthetically pleasing map. A dynamic map with a swarm of overlapping pointer-labels that obscure important elements of the base map just isn't as useful for most purposes. Powers (talk) 21:00, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
For most cities I find that the dynamic map is fine. I like the way that I can zoom in on any street, and that it is much more likely to show current eat and sleep locations. I do use commercial maps, but I like that way that dynamic maps are integrated with the article. In a few cities we have good static maps which show the see and do listings well (as these don't change very often), but this is very much the exception. I have also found a few cities in China where I think it would be better to have a static map, as the openstreetmap coverage is poor. I would be happy to see articles having both static and dynamic maps, and in some cases these could be complimentary - a dynamic map which (initially) shows the whole city and a static map of the city centre (or other focus of interest). AlasdairW (talk) 22:46, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
I have a strong preference to Dynamic maps, but do respect the opinion the static map camp. I'm happy to just leave this ambiguous, or as AlasdairW suggests just allow both. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:54, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
I agree with you on the way to go forward. As we probably won't be able to agree on which one is better and as there are arguments for and against either option, I think we should leave it up for each article to decide on whether a dynamic map, a static map or both works best. This still means we should remove the statement "Dynamic map preferred" from this page and put something which leaves both possibilities on an equal standing, maybe "no guidance" like for the park article. Drat70 (talk) 00:59, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
I'd also like to add that I do use dynamic maps in region articles as well, e.g. Central_Coast_(New_South_Wales). A static map would work better, but until one is available it is a pretty good stop-gap. Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:28, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
I have added "Consider creating a static map which complements the dynamic map, for instance showing the main central sights and is placed below the dynamic map." to 'Should I replace a dynamic map with a static map?'. I think we should also say (not sure where) "Using multiple dynamic maps is technically complex and is best only done after discussion on the articles talk page.". An example of multiple dynamic maps is Roman Empire. AlasdairW (talk) 13:05, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
I think the way it has now changed to "suitable for a dynamic map" is good, that leaves it open to use static maps as well. Drat70 (talk) 13:55, 13 October 2017 (UTC)