Submissions:2021/What you see is what you get

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This submission is a draft and has not yet been submitted for review.

To the submission author: When you are ready to submit, edit the page and change status=Draft into status=Pending to submit.


What you see is what you get


Global & Local

Type of session:



By now, there have been plenty of presentations about how OpenStreetMap, the freely licensed map anyone can edit, pairs well with Wikidata. But OSM also has a robust yet less well-known relationship to Wikimedia Commons.

For over 15 years, Wikimedians have uploaded thousands of maps to Commons based on OSM data. Some are simply screenshots of the Standard map on, while others are far more specialized. Additionally, the OSM-based Wikimedia Maps service helps to orient Commons users with interactive maps in Wikidata-powered infoboxes on many category pages.

Commons is also an important resource for the OSM project. Since the project has an ambitious goal of mapping the world in maximal detail, it can be challenging for a mapper to choose the right tags to describe an object or place that they are mapping. OSM's tags are standardized on the sprawling, MediaWiki-powered OpenStreetMap Wiki. Each article describes a map feature or an aspect of a map feature and illustrates it using one or more Commons images.

Some OSM Wiki articles provide a gallery of a feature's appearance or sign in various countries around the world, helping mappers to align on a common ontology despite speaking different languages and living in different countries. Other articles serve as a picture dictionary, allowing mappers to contribute data about features they do not even have the vocabulary for. When editing OSM itself, a menu illustrated by logos on Commons allows a mapper to easily identify a location belonging to a retail chain, a bus stop served by a public transportation agency, or a flag flying on a flagpole. Freely licensed Commons images allow mappers to tag details about landmarks and more mundane structures that are visible on the ground but not in aerial imagery.

Commons editors perhaps unwittingly play a vital role in globalizing and countering systemic bias in the OSM project. When members of the OSM community propose new tags, they are naturally biased toward their own lived experiences. If you are a member of a topical or geographical WikiProject on Commons, consider how it can provide perspective and promote a more versatile, inclusive ontology.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Minh Nguyễn

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

Estimated time:

20 minutes

Special requests:

Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:


If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)