Historical Objects: How I stopped fearing and learned how to contribute cultural heritage to OpenStreetMap


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Historic Place - Splash screen
Historic Place – Splash screen

I was aware that a cool OpenStreetMap based project called Historical Objects/Historic Place existed, and I had used it earlier, but it wasn’t until I got a comment on the blog that I realised the power of the project, and that it augmented the power of my guide How to share cultural heritage on Wikimedia Commons and OpenStreetMap | opennordics.org.

The first thing I did was to contribute a Danish translation of the project, I urge you to do the same, it’s as easy as editing a Wiki-page, something that is a requirement for a 21st century citizen.

Here’s my translation from German to Danish: DE:Historical Objects/Translations/table.da – OpenStreetMap Wiki

Start your own by simply copying the page for a translation that you’re able to do, and change the two character language code into the one for your language, and add your language to the list of translations.

Historical Objects/Translations – OpenStreetMap Wiki

It took me just a few hours to contribute the Danish translation, and it’s already live.

Historic Place - Zoom level 1 - UNESCO World Heritage
Historic Place – Zoom level 1 – UNESCO World Heritage

At the zoomed level 1, “Historic Place” shows only UNESCO World Heritage sites, this makes perfect sense, and it’s easy to spot missing sites.

As you zoom in, more and more objects shows up, I decided to zoom in on Denmark, and noticed a castle that didn’t have a name.

Historic Place - Castle without a name
Historic Place – Castle without a name

Strange, which one could that be? I pressed the Objekt ( Punkt ) (English: Object/Point) link and was taken to the object.

OpenStreetMap - Castle without a name
OpenStreetMap – Castle without a name

That looked somehow familiar, but I had to zoom out, and it’s Vordingborg Castle Ruin, one of the largest medievial castle ruins in Denmark.

OpenStreetMap - It's Vordingborg Caste Ruin
OpenStreetMap – It’s Vordingborg Caste Ruin
.

So I want to add a name to OpenStreetMap. That’s easy, just select the link to the OpenStreetMap editor of choice by selecting it. I selected “Redigér med iD” (“Edit with iD”), the web based editor build into OpenStreetMap.

OpenStreetMap - iD Editor - Vordingborg Castle Ruin
OpenStreetMap – iD Editor – Vordingborg Castle Ruin

So I added some relevant meta data to OpenStreetMap: Name, Danish Wikipedia article and Wikidata-object.

OpenStreetMap - added meta data to Vordingborg Castle Ruin
OpenStreetMap – added meta data to Vordingborg Castle Ruin

That looks good, so I select “Gem” (English: “Save”) and summarise my changes.

OpenStreetMap - save changes to Vordingborg Castle Ruin
OpenStreetMap – save changes to Vordingborg Castle Ruin
.

Select “Gem” (English: “Save”) again, and the changes are saved, if you then select “Vis på OSM” (Show on OSM”) to see your changes.

OpenStreetMap - Vordingborg Castle Ruin updated
OpenStreetMap – Vordingborg Castle Ruin updated

That’s it, there’s really nothing to it.

HAPPY MAPPING!

ps. My partner in crime, @neografen, kindly brought to my attention, that it takes up to 24 hours before the changes go live on Historic Places.

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