I don’t remember how I found out about wikimapia but I thought it was cool at first when I randomly found it about a year ago. It’s sort of like wikipedia except that it’s a satellite map (or a regular map view, but I don’t really like wikimapia’s regular map view), and anybody can tag any part of the map. So people can tag neighborhoods, stores, specific points of interest, and so on. Usually it seems like neighborhoods mostly tagged and delineated.
One can click on the tagged place and find information about it. Sometimes there’s also other people who comment on it as well.
The site appears to actually be using Google’s maps for the actual map images themselves. Interestingly, the website allows you to also select from a variety of map displays. A couple are wikimapia’s map and satellite displays (which are still Google’s, I think), so one can see wikimapia’s content. However, one can also select Google’s map, Google’s hybrid map, and so on as one would see them on maps.google.com. Interestingly, looking at Google’s hybrid map seems to be much more detailed and informative than wikimapia – and it’s viewable from that site. Even neighborhood names are in Google’s own maps.
If I want to find more information about a place, wikimapia’s tags don’t offer much help. Very few of wikimapia’s entries have any description at all. On the other hand, clicking an entry on Google leads to a dedicated place page, and a lot of times that has more information.
For some reason I like the idea though, with having a map that is like a wiki. From what it looks like, perhaps the idea didn’t really gather a lot of momentum. In fact I don’t remember how I even found it, but when I did find it, I thought it was cool that it shows neighborhood names and the lines. Perhaps one thing wikimapia does is make neighborhood lines much more clear. Google has so much information in the map that it’s usually hard to see the neighborhood or area name. There are no really clear boundary lines for neighborhoods in Google Maps in the same sense that wikimapia has them.
I could imagine that in some cases, perhaps wikimapia could be very useful for finding out the boundary line of a neighborhood, since on Google Maps, while there are neighborhood names, there aren’t really neighborhood lines as clearly delineated as those on wikimapia.
Perhaps there is an alternative to wikimapia that isn’t just based on some people tagging it. Maybe people might be reluctant to rely on some sparse tagging and anyone being able to go and decide where the lines are. It also seems like wikimapia is not really used that much, but I don’t know, it looks kind of cool. I wonder – what did I look for when I hit the wikimapia site? Did wikimapia help me to find it? I’ll have to try and remember that…