Submissions:2014/Wiki Photo Trips

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Title of the submission

Wiki Photo Trips

Themes (Proposal Themes - Community, Tech, Outreach, GLAM, Education)

Community, Outreach, Technology

Type of submission (Presentation Types - Panel, Workshop, Presentation, etc)

Curated Talk

Author of the submission

John Phelan

E-mail address



US state or country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)


Personal homepage or blog

Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
Why take pictures to illustrate Wikipedia articles?

Taking pictures for Wikipedia can be a scavenger hunt. You get to see unexpected places. There’s a thrill to being the first person to photograph a place (at least where Wikipedia’s concerned). Wikipedia becomes a record of the places you’ve explored.

The pictures you take show up high on Google search results. Unlike articles, when your pictures are used outside of Wikipedia they are unambiguously attributed to you. Your pictures can be used in blogs, news articles, etc... It’s interesting to see where your pictures end up.

In many cases, there are many articles on the same location in other languages. This means you can contribute to Wikipedia’s in over 100 different languages.

For the rule benders/creative types, taking pictures lets you violate a few Wikipedia principles. It’s independent research, since you have to find and visit each place. It’s not neutral point of view (NPOV), since you’re probably trying to take an attractive picture of what may be an unattractive place. The pictures are rarely subject to editing, and replaced only infrequently. I think this last point should change. Improved photos should be posted much more often. Your photo may be the only one that documents a structure that later gets destroyed.

You get good exercise. I find pictures are best taken on foot or bicycle. If Driving a car, you have to worry about directions and parking too often. Also someone on foot or a bike is less threatening to police and locals. They’re actually friendly when you’re not in a car. And you can spread the word on Wikipedia when people are curious about what you’re doing. I’ve actually been invited in for house tours when the owner saw me taking pictures of their home.

What other groups might be interested in taking photos for Wikipedia?

Other groups might be enticed to take pictures for Wikipedia. Individuals that enjoy Geocaching, Waymarking and Trigpointing, which are very similar pursuits may enjoy taking pictures to post.

A tool for planning wiki photo expeditions.

I wrote an App called "Unvisited" for Android and iOS to plan Wikipedia photo trips. I was tired of having to plan ahead and print maps. The app let’s you change plans on the spot and helps you organize your tour. I'll do a demo.

There are many unexpected places that need a lot of pictures…

Kansas City MO - 4 walks - 18.5 miles - 79 places (4.2 places/mile)

Little Rock AR - 4 walks - 17.5 miles - 80 places (4.5 places/mile)

Kingman AZ - 2 walks - 6.7 miles - 40 places (5.9 places/mile)

Columbus GA - 3 walks - 7.9 miles - 60 places (7.6 places/mile)

And there are a couple of short walks nearby where you can photograph 38 places total.

Manhattan 10011 - 20 places - 1.3 miles

Manhattan 10021 - 18 places - 2.9 miles


Finally, if anyone would like to go out for drinks later, there are many cocktails that need pictures to accompany their description on Wikipedia, including... Champagne cocktail, Brass Monkey, Stinger, Lemon Lime and Bitters, Alexander, Baby Guinness, Tequila Slammer, Death in the Afternoon, Snakebite, Coquito, Four Horsemen, Matador, Alabama Slammer, Buck's Fizz, Pink Gin, Agent Orange, Amber Moon, Incredible Hulk and Staten Island Ferry. See current list at Faolin42/Cocktails. Drink responsibly!

Length of presentation/talk (see Presentation Types for lengths of different presentation types)

15 minutes

Will you attend WikiConference USA if your submission is not accepted?


Slides or further information (optional)
Special request as to time of presentations

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  1. Dgorsline (talk) 19:59, 19 April 2014 (EDT)
  2. Ktr101 (talk) 22:39, 19 April 2014 (EDT)
  3. Geraldshields11 (talk) 08:52, 27 May 2014 (EDT)