Category Archives: Wikimaps Nordic

Nordic open geodata gathering

The Nordic open geodata gathering will be arranged in the context of #Hack4NO in Hønefoss, Norway, on 27 October. Come with us to cross bridges between countries, communities and practices in open geodata! The program will touch working with historical maps, locations and photographs, humanitarian mapping and the new Wikimedia mapping technologies that make use of Wikidata and OpenStreetMap. You are also welcome to present your projects and collaboration ideas!

When: 27th October 2016
Where: Norwegian Mapping Authority (Kartverksveien 21, Hønefoss, Norway – one hour outside Oslo)
Sign up: Sign up using the #hack4NO registration form
Fee: Free of charge (lunch included)
Contact persons: Susanna Ånäs (, Miska Knapek (, Erno Mäkinen (, Zeljka Jakir (


8.30–9.00 Registration

9.00–10.15 Presentations
Why network in the Nordic countries (Miska Knapek)
Humanitarian mapping in Finland (Erno Mäkinen)
Interactive maps on Wikipedia – Why and how? (Albin Larsson)
Crowdsourced geotagging of images (Vahur Puik)
Combining aspects of humanitarian mapping and working with cultural heritage – humanitarian GLAM? (Susanna Ånäs)

10.15–11.45 Open ideas
Present or propose collaboration or a hack! If you are interested in presenting in the program, please contact the organizers. You may jot down your suggestion in this pad. This will also become the documentation of the event.

11.45–12.45 Lunch

12.45–13.45 Workshops 1 (parallel sessions)
Wikimedia maps and SparQL (Albin Larsson)
Working with historical maps (Lars Jynge Alvik, Lars Rogstad, Susanna Ånäs)

13.45–14.45 Workshops 2 (parallel sessions)
Humanitarian mapping via HOT tasking manager (Erno Mäkinen)
Geotagging old images (Vahur Puik, Vemund Olstad)

14.45–15.15 Coffee break

15.15–16.30 Discussion
Building networks for continued collaboration, projects and hacks. Find your soulmates!

18.00 Dinner in Hønefoss (own cost)

Bridging communities in the Nordic region

The various volunteered geographic information communities in the Nordic countries have nothing but to benefit from each other. Geolocation – also in the historical context – is becoming an essential part of the knowledge preserved in Wikimedia projects. Humanitarian mapping is more actual than ever, affected communities are everywhere, nearby, making it easy to step into action. Governmental open geodata is more advanced in the Nordic countries than anywhere in the world. We can make something unique with what we collectively can.

The meetup day hosts lightning talks to get to know what’s happening in the Nordic open geodata community and hands-on workshops to familiarize with tools and technologies. In the open part you can show your work and give a talk, or we can set up collaborations for the weekend or further on. We’ll end the day by discussing ways of working together.

#hack4no has also excellent data journalism mapping lectures and workshops running parallel with the meetup. You are welcome to mix between the Nordic open geodata meetup and the data journalism sessions freely.

See you in Hønefoss!

All of Wikimaps Nordic in a report

The latest historical map to Wikimedia Commons, Nova et aucta orbis terrae descriptio ad usum navigantium emendate accomodata by Gerhard Mercator, has been uploaded today. There are now 15 620 maps with the Map template in Wikimedia Commons!

Wikimaps Nordic project has now officially been completed. Nordic Culture Fund and Wikimedia Foundation have supported bringing mapping tools for historical maps to Wikimedia Commons, and creating maps activities especially in the Nordic countries. We welcome you to view the project report and to comment and propose new directions!

The work continues with the Wikimaps Warper 2.0 project, funded by the Wikimedia Foundation. There are many more directions to follow, and here are short teasers for some of the ideas. What do you think? Comment here, in the Facebook group, or in the Commons project page.

Historical place task force

We would like to invite all wikidatans and linked data buffs to discuss how data about historical places should be modelled in Wikidata.

Enhancing the workflow from maps uploads to a world map of history

Facilitating uploading maps to Wikimedia Commons, linking maps and historical data about places, using the maps and data in Wikimedia projects and working together with OpenHistoricalMap to store the world map of history.

More tools, more stories

We wish we can work to bring more tools together to help finding and interpreting open historical documents. With the help of the tools it should be possible to enrich Wikimedia content, but also make original research that could be used in further research, hacks, apps, stories and more.

Imagine finding an old picture of a place or people and unfolding the story behind it with the help of thousands of volunteers interested in the same things. Imagine you could continue gathering context to the story with the help of maps, images and documents from museums and archives as well as pictures and letters in your own albums and shoeboxes. Let’s work together on making it possible in the open environments!

Finnmarkens amt nr 13- Wardøehuus Festning udi Grundritz, 1793“. – This file is digitized and shared in Wikimedia Commons by Kartverket. Licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Wikimaps Nordic kickoff

It was a great start for a journey into the maps and places of the 5 countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Estonia. The kickoff event had gathered representatives from all of the countries.

The support from the Nordic Culture Fund shows the willingness that there is to make cultural heritage widely digitally available in the participatory Commons. The Finnish Institute in London also showed continuing interest in activities of open culture, following the participation in the Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki in 2012.

The presentations

Our speaker guests showed examples of what can be done with maps, data and wikimedians:

Laurence Penney presents one of his strip-map tresure, the Tabula Peutingeriana before and after MapWarper.

Laurence Penney shows a strip-map treasure, the Tabula Peutingeriana, before and after MapWarper.

Tim Waters (UK), the creator of the MapWarper for New York Public Library, showed the many projects which the MapWarper has made possible. From rectifying maps for disaster relief mapping to making possible to trace the contours of New York buildings. The Wikimaps Warper has already been set up to work with the maps in Wikimedia Commons, and work will continue with more integration and interface design.

Old GLAMs meeting young Wikimedia. Which one is which?

Old GLAMs meeting young Wikimedia. Which one is which?

Hay Kranen (NL) reported about his experiences and thoughts as the first Dutch wikimedian-in-residence, working in the KB Library and National Archives in the Netherlands. He cited a research that showed that the most used information source is Wikipedia for 52% of the Dutch population, but the books and libraries are primary to only 1%! It makes sense to try to make available the riches of the libraries and archives in the world’s most visited encyclopedia.

Nordic wikimedians (Jan Ainali and André Costa from Sweden, Jon Harald Søby from Norway, Henrik Sørensen and Michael Andersen from Denmark and Vahur Puik and Raul Veede from Estonia) reported the work we have been preparing with the GLAMs in the partnering countries. We are expecting both volunteer projects and activities with many GLAM institutions.

Danmark set fra luften

Danmark set fra luften

We then had interesting presentations from our Finnish network:


Istvan Kecskemeti from the National Archives of Finland outlined how the treasures of the archive are unreachable without proper search mechanisms put into place and envisioned better services to find the materials. He also presented a browsing interface done by Leslie Kadish for the Senate Map collection.

Helsinki 1956 / Land Survey of FinlandHeli Laaksonen from the National Land Survey described their digitization project with historical aerial images. They, too, are unreferenced, and therefore cannot be searched and found.


Tomi Kauppinen from Aalto University showed SAPO, the Finnish spatiotemporal ontology, and the work that remains to be done to get full coverage of historical administrative borders. The National Linked Data Gazetteer of Historical Places project was announced a day earlier.

Helsinki ilmakuvina 1943–2012

Arend Oudman and Outi Hermans from the City of Helsinki showed how they have opened and processed maps and aerial images in the context of broader efforts by the City of Helsinki to work with open data. The image shows the Historical Aerial Images browser.

The workshop

After hearing the introductions, we focused on a set of themes during the afternoon workshop:

  • MapWarper & iD development & map search
    Developing the tools to be easier to use while maintaining complexity. We are creating a toolset to communicate with both Wikimedia Commons and Open Historical Map. The key features will be search, warping and vectorizing, with a seamless user experience switching between the tasks. We are starting a structured work process for development.
  • The Pan-Nordic map project
    We found out that instead of a unique map covering all Nordic countries we will get interesting insight by looking into individual areas, especially cities. Focusing on places on a human scale will allow narrating with more materials, such as images. The work will be administered by chapters.
    If you are interested in participating, please be in contact with the Wikimedia chapter in your country.
  • Aerial images case study
    Together with the Aerial Images archives at the Land Survey of Finland and other participants we will select a suitable set of material for a case study. We will research different workflows and look at open tools to use with aerial images. It will make sense to support the Nordic map project with the aerial images.
  • Gazetteer
    We will further collaboration with place name projects, such as Pelagios 3 and the National Linked Data Gazetteer of Historical Places (SeCo), and work actively in the creation of place attributes in Wikidata. The Swedish volunteer project gathers municipality border data for a practical demonstration. We may develop mechanisms for allowing volunteer participation in gathering and interpreting the place names together with the Finnish gazetteer service. Susanna and Tomi Kauppinen have been included in a workshop proposal by the GeoHumanities SIG for a workshop Place and Period in an Emerging Global Gazetteer: a proposed DH2014 workshop.

Additionally we will be working with at least the following topics:

  • Wiki Loves maps – the hackathon
    A hackathon event is being planned for the Autumn. An idea about informal hacking events more regularly was presented.
  • Maps in Wikimedia Commons
    This development will include work to define map metadata for storing maps in Wikimedia, applying that to the map template and the GWToolset.
MapWarper concept mock-up integrating with the OpenStreetMap iD experience.

MapWarper concept mock-up integrating with the OpenStreetMap iD editor experience.

More information!

You will find the speakers, presentations and video coverage at

There are follow-ups written by Jessica Parland-von Essen and Laura Sillanpää for AvoinGLAM.

If you are interested in joining, contact your local Wikimedia for the local projects, or the Wikimaps project. Join one of the groups on this site or follow discussion in Facebook. Next hangouts are on Tuesday, and again in a month!

Announcing the Wikimaps Nordic kick-off workshop

Welcome to the Wikimaps Nordic kick-off workshop!

We invite all Nordic partners of the Wikimaps Nordic event to get together in Helsinki. This is the first time we gather around the same table. Let’s learn from each other what challenges we have with old maps and aerial images and set out to solve them together. The National Archives of Finland will host the workshop day.

28 February 2014, 09:00 – 16:00
National Archives of Finland, Siltavuorenranta 16 – Helsinki


Morning programme

free of charge, open for all interested

9.00 Coffee
9.30 Welcome. Presentation of the Wikimaps project by Susanna Ånäs and Tim Waters.
10.00 Presentations of map related challenges by Nordic GLAM representatives
11.30 Presentation by the wikimedian-in-residence Hay Kranen, working in Koninklijke Bibliotheek and Nationaal Archief in the Netherlands.
12.00–12.30 Discussion, opportunity to present in a lightning talk, conclusion.

Afternoon programme

for Wikimaps Nordic partners, free of charge

12.30 Lunch
13.30–16.00 Workshop for the Wikimaps Nordic partners

Dinner & drinks

at participants’ own expense

Register for the event!


January Hangouts: Nordic

The Nordic Wikimaps community met for the first time online. We had participants from 3 of the 5 countries involved in the project.

Our goal was to get to know each other and familiarize with the Wikimaps project, but we ended up also scouting many interesting repositories.


Istvan Kecskemeti, Reko Etelävuori and Tomi Ahoranta (National Archives of Finland)

The National Archives of Finland hosts an impressive amount of 2 million digitized and openly licensed maps. Their interest in finding an open source and free tool for georeferencing maps as a crowdsourced process has been a spark for the Wikimaps project.


Heli Laaksonen (National Land Survey Finland)

Heli sent her greetings to the meeting while not being able to attend herself.

The Land Survey has around 700 000 old aerial images from 1930 on, of which 200 000 are scanned. Currently there is no platform for publicizing the scanned items. Georeferencing is a challenge as well. With current resources it would take 30 years to finish the work.

The Wikimaps project could be a channel for georeferencing the image indexes and the images. Georeferencing data could be used for calculating the orthophotos.

Pekka Sarkola (OpenStreetMap and GIS activist)

203406_1961Pekka has a history at the National Land Survey of Finland. He is the contact for the Finnish OpenStreetMap community and active in the open knowledge domain.

The Finnish Land Survey has recently opened old base maps (1949-1991), which are of a great interest to the open data community. Wikimaps could offer a working environment for that.

Jessica Parland-von Essen

Jessica runs Brages Pressarkiv, a Swedish newspaper archive with extensive amounts of clippings related to personalities and locations in Finland. The project is creating Linked Open Data between Swedish web resources in Finland. While not directly affiliated with maps, the use of the Finnish spatiotemporal ontology SAPO is of great interest to the network. She is a member of the GLAM team in Wikimedia Finland.

Jyrki Lehtinen

Jyrki has a background in historical GIS, and he has worked with georeferencing and vectorizing historical maps, some of which can be found at the Lounaispaikka geoportal. He is a member of the board of Wikimedia Finland.

John Erling Blad (Arts Council Norway)

John works currently in the Norwegian Arts Council and he is involved in the Norvegiana dataset. He has a history in Wikimedia, having worked in the Wikidata project in Wikimedia Deutschland. Both old maps and aerial images are of interest, such as the Widerøe photo archive of 315 000 aerial photos.

Tettstedet Feda i Kvinesdal kommune / Vilhelm Skappel

Tettstedet Feda i Kvinesdal kommune / Vilhelm Skappel

Harald Groven (Wikimedia Norway)

Harald has a long standing interest in historical GIS. In Wikimaps, he is the country contact for Norway.

Harald pointed out the maps repositories of The Norwegian Mapping Authority (no:Kartverket) with nearly all digital vector maps on Norway released under CC-BY.
It would be possible to integrate historical census data, vector maps from Kartverket and a gazetteer of 700 000 place names. In Norway there will be 18 000 historical maps in the National Library and National archives digitized soon and a project creating historical maps of changing administrative boundaries.

Another project of interest are the digitized historical maps of Finnish/Sámi/Norwegian speaking population in Northern Norway 1861


Jan Ainali and André Costa (Wikimedia Sweden)

Jan is the CEO of Wikimedia Sweden and the country contact for the Wikimaps project. André Costa is a GLAM technician and project manager, and will be involved in the Wikimaps project.

There is great interest in the Swedish Wikimedia community to work with historical maps on parishes and municipalities. Wikimedia Sweden has been supporting the Swedish OSM community with a server for development.

Common pilot covering all Nordic area

We agreed to aim for a common map of a point in time, covering all Nordic area. A dive into the past quickly revealed that centenaries have marked changes across the Nordic countries. 100 years ago, the First World War reshaped the borders in Finland and Estonia, marking the end of Russian rule and the beginning of independence. Rewinding another 100 years, the Napoleonic wars changed all of the Nordic countries, starting the Russian rule in Finland. Let’s craft our common pilot proposal here.

A brief discussion on copyright

John mentioned that a lot of institutions may be interested in imposing new copyrights if they digitize new previously unavailable materials, and that we must make sure the results will be open.

Harald pointed out the adoption of the PSI directive is going to help even more maps to be free. This European legislation is intended to oblige the public sector to open documents held by the public institutions. Since the amendment in June 2013, it now covers the library, museum and archive sectors.

We came to the conclusion that we will start with materials that are already digitized and open. That will pave the way for opening locked materials further along our quest.

Thank you all for participating in the Hangout!