The hackathon: Commons to Wikidata to Open Street Maps

Research and Innovation2 Comments

From left: Leigh Blackall, Alex Lum, Cathy Leahy, Zainaindira Nehme and Jane McGlashan

We held a hackathon at the Learning and Teaching Conference this year, here’s what we made:

A map of public art within 500m of the RMIT Campus

After photographing instances of public art around the RMIT Melbourne City campus, uploading them to Wikimedia Commons and creating entries for each instance of public art on Wikidata, we then used Query to visualise the Wikidata entries and discussed next steps into Open Street Maps and more.

Here’s the map (link above) embedded below. Click the red dots to reveal content:

Our map uses live, open, user generated, linked Wikidata, including media loaded to Wikimedia Commons, visualised with the Wikidata Query tool. From this foundation we’re aiming develop the presentation, exploring various functional and aesthetic dimensions.

Since hearing about the Wikidata project from Andrew Mabbett earlier this year, we’ve been looking for a time we could spend getting hands on, working with an expert, to quickly learn about creating and using Wikidata. Thanks to Alex Lum joining the Hackathon we hosted in October, we had our Wikidata expert on hand for the two days, generously showing us what he knows.

I wholeheartedly recommend Alex for workshops on anything Wikimedia related, especially Wikidata, as well as Open Street Maps. He is a modest, approachable and very patient teacher with a passion for Commons based open data. For the entire 2 days he patiently taught us everything from how to structure Wikidata through to how to visualise it in Query and Open Street Maps.

We documented our work over the two days in this Google Doc. There you’ll find much more detail.

Other projects were proposed for the Hackathon too, but the Wikidata project won the most interest this time. Please refer to the planning and notes document for more information about those proposals. We have also copied this document into Wikiversity, to help build a knowledge base there around Wikidata.

What next?

First of all, we hope to show this as a proof of concept to the College and the University. We think of it as a potential Student as Producer curriculum project, perhaps in the School of Art most obviously, but any number of other subject areas could consider this.

This map will update as more and more people create Wikidata entries that use the genre property “public art” as well as the coordinate location with a well formed longitude and latitude. To see an example of such a Wikidata entry, click any of the red dots on the above map, and then click the link that begins with “wd…” In that example. The resulting page is a Wikidata entry with a range of property statements.

We will keep building this map, first using it as a professional development activity with our colleagues to inform them on Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons and Open Street Maps. We will spend a few hours walking around Melbourne’s CBD photographing instances of public art and uploading to Wikimedia Commons using the Category: Public art in Melbourne, Victoria. We will then create Wikidata entries for each instance we document, making sure to include “genre” and “coordinate locations” to ensure the map grows.

Cathy Leahy is experimenting with more advanced visualisations of the data, and hopefully we can forge a collaboration with people in ICT or students learning programming, and will follow this post with another detailing her perspectives.

More detailed notes and resources

Please refer to the notes made during the hackathon for more details on what we create and what we used to create it.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] How did it go? Two days working on questions relating to teaching, learning, education, data and data visualisation. […]

Howard Errey
4 years ago