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The Corfu Projector

I recently spent a week on Corfu. I was amazed by the history, the culture, the traditions, and, of course, the food. I was, however, appalled by the low coverage of Corfu localities on Wikidata. While I might be biased, living in the UK where every postbox is a historic monument, a dozen or so items for Corfu’s capital still seemed a bit thin. So I thought a bit about how to change this. Not just for Corfu, but in general for a geographic entity. I know I can’t do this all by myself, even for “just” Corfu, but I can make it easier and more appealing for anyone who might have an interest in helping out.

An important first step is to get an idea of what items there are. For a locality, this can be done in two ways: by coordinates, or by administrative unit. Ideally, relevant items should have both, which makes a neat first to-do-list (items with coordinates but without administrative unit, and vice versa). Missing images are also a low-hanging fruit, to use the forbidden management term. But there are more items that relate to a locality, besides geographical objects. People are born, live, work, and die there. A region has typical, local food, dresses, traditions, and events. Works are written about it, paintings are painted, and songs are sung. Plants and animals can be specific to the place. The list goes on.

All this does not sound like just a list of buildings; it sounds like its own project. A WikiProject. And so I wrote a tool specifically to support WikiProjects on Wikidata that deal with a locality. I created a new one for Corfu, and added some configuration data as a sub-page. Based on that data, the Projector tool can generate a map and a series of lists with items related to the project (Corfu example).

The map shows all items with coordinates (duh), either via the “administrative unit” property tree, or via coordinates within pre-defined areas. You can draw new areas on the map, and then copy the area definition into the configuration page. Items without an administrative unit will have a thick border, and items without an image will be red.

There are also lists of items, including the locations from the map (plus the ones in the administrative unit, but without coordinates), people related to these locations, creative works (books, paintings etc.), and “things” (food, organizations, events, you name it). All of this is generated on page load via SPARQL. The lists can be filtered (e.g. only items without image), and the items in the list can be opened in other tools, including WD-FIST to find images, Terminator to find missing labels, Recent Changes within these items over the last week, PetScan (all items or just the filtered ones), and Tablernacle. And, of course, WikiShootMe for the entire region. I probably forgot a few tools, suggestions are (as always) welcome.

Adopting this should be straightforward for other WikiProjects; just copy my Corfu example configuration (without the areas), adapt the “root regions”, and it should work (using “X” for “WikiProject X”). I am looking forward to grow this tool in functionality, and maybe to other, not location-based projects.

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