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Amateur astronomyEdit

I would like to see more resources specifically for amateur astronomers on Wikivoyage. For example, if someone is traveling with a telescope, it can often be very difficult to find locations that are publicly accessible at night to set up a telescope at for astronomical observations, especially since most public parks close at sunset. Would the best way to do this be to add a new category on the county (or county-equivalent) level listing locations where members of the public can use telescopes at night? Locations good for amateur astronomy should be freely accessible at night, have vehicle access and parking available, not on private property, have low light pollution, and an unobstructed view of the sky. In my own county, there are only one or two spots in the entire county that match that. Lists of planetariums, astronomy shops, star parties, and craters should probably get their own pages as well. Nicole Sharp (talk) 23:27, 26 September 2018 (UTC)

Addington Highlands#Do had a designated spot near a conservation area for exactly this; there's another in North Frontenac. Napanee was lending telescopes at the county public library. All of this is hyperlocal, so I can't imagine a master list of these being useful outside the immediate local area. I suppose sticking "belvedère" or observation sites in the "Do" section of the city page makes sense, with shops in "Buy". ==Planetariums== might be a good section to add to astronomy as it looks not to already be there; the local listings would likely be "See" as museums are attractions. Star parties, if they're one-time events and only of local interest, aren't something we'd have any realistic chance of keeping up to date (although large, annually-recurring events like Bastille Day or the Québec winter carnival would be listed). Suggestions for article ideas, if you aren't ready to write the article today, can be posted in Wikivoyage:Requested articles#Do (or whichever page section fits the topic) until someone creates the article. K7L (talk) 00:37, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
There's some place in the Nowhere of Brandenburg or Mecklenburg Vorpommern that advertises its dark night sky. Sorry, forgot the name. In general our urban-skewing userbase hampers us a bit here, methinks... Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:28, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
I think there was a "dark sky preserve" somewhere near Lac-Mégantic, but that's an actual fixed observatory, not just a random park where starry-eyed amateurs plop down a telescope. Sending the voyager to some out-of-the-way place like Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!#See is more of the same. K7L (talk) 13:04, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
Sark advertises itself as the world's first Dark Sky Island. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 17:58, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
In the Nordic countries parks are usually open day and night (no fences), but where there are city parks there is usually too much light pollution for any serious stargazing (Ursa still has an observatory in Helsinki, with shows for the public a few times a week). There is plenty of sparsely populated countryside and the right to access means there is usually no concern about whether any suitable hill with a forest road leading by is private property (whether the view is obstructed can be guessed with a decent map, but some trial and error is needed here in the south). In the Turku region we have the Tuorla observatory, with planetarium. Some of the same concerns are handled in Northern lights. Few people will find Tuorla though, or this general information, if they are just looking for a planetary or for putting up their telescope somewhere in southern Finland. How would we best serve this group? --LPfi (talk) 08:01, 28 September 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps we could have separate astronomy-related travel topic articles for countries or regions. We have articles for hiking and cycling in specific regions, so why can't we do the same for astronomy? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 17:16, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
Maybe we should first add some more listings and content to the astronomy article we already have, and when it fills up, the content can be subdivided into local articles. ϒψιλον (talk) 19:26, 8 December 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Yeah, while the article is long enough for a travel topic, it could be longer. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 20:18, 8 December 2018 (UTC)


In light of the recent discussion on dual maps, I was hoping someone could answer some questions for me on all of the different facets of maps here.

  • The map button at the top of pages: what is it? How does it differ from the map you get when clicking on a marker? Why does it take you to a separate site? That site has some interesting features, like merging markers when they're on the same building. Why don't the dynamic maps here have that? Do we not want it? If that's the case, why does that site have it?
  • The {{geo}} template: what is it? I think it adds the above button, but why are the coordinates specified manually, instead of, say, Wikidata? What does zoom do?
  • The {{PoiMap2detail}} template: what is it? Why are the coordinates specified manually? How does it differ from {{geo}} and the map button? If it's just another link to the same, why does it need coordinates defined again?
  • {{Mapframe}}s: Is this just a window into the map you get when clicking on a marker? I've noticed it has a |staticmap= parameter. What is this intended to do, if the two maps are not supposed to coexist? Did it originally hide one or the other?
  • The fullscreen map you get when clicking on a map marker: It centers on the marker you click. Is there a way to open it so that it centers on the "page" coordinates, whatever those are (i.e. just a fullscreen mapframe). I know you can do this by clicking fullscreen on a mapframe, but what if the article has no mapframe?
  • Static maps: what was the process for ensuring they kept up with edits, especially edits by IPs who might not communicate their changes?
  • The German WV has a different map style, where they sometimes have icons on the POIs instead of just numbers in the dynamic map. (I could have sworn they were all over the place, but I'm having a hard time finding an example now. Their Paris article at least has some train icons). Do we have that capability, and, if so, did we decide against using it?

ARR8 (talk) 16:08, 2 October 2018 (UTC)

I’ll try to answer at least some of your questions. When it comes to static maps, they are updated by hand, basically, and are not too easy to update. This has been discussed recently in the pub. Otherwise, the maps are generally based on OpenStreetMaps so your questions would be related to their functionality. --Comment by Selfie City (talk about my contributions) 00:46, 3 October 2018 (UTC)
There look to be two different pieces of mapping software in use; the old version (poimap2) is linked from the map button at the top of pages and the new version (mw:extension:Kartographer) is linked from the individual markers. Both use OpenStreetMap as their base map, but there are some differences in appearance - the poimap2 displayed icons (a hotel marker was shaped like a house, a train station icon like a suitcase) where Kartographer would just display nondescript circle pointers for everything. Clicking on an individual marker gives a map zoomed close in to that specific POI, while clicking on the map icon gives a map centred on the {{geo}} co-ordinates at the zoom level specified in that template. There's also an annoying Kartographer bug where the numbered icons stop at 99, 99, 99... a geographic destination page doesn't usually hit that limit, but the occasional itinerary or travel topic might.
I believe there is a poimap2 layer called "destinations" (which is 'off' by default) which shows markers for each city with an article (instead of each POI within one city); that layer uses the {{geo}} co-ordinates. The poimap2 relies on an external server; the numbers need to be in the article for that server's scripts to extract them.
I suspect that poimap2 had one limitation which Kartographer did not; it didn't allow two dynamic maps on the same page. That's a problem for articles like Trans-Canada Highway where it's desirable to break an 8050km journey into smaller sections with a mapframe for each. The {{PoiMap2detail}} template generated not an in-line map on the page, but a templated link to a map. It also appears on Adirondacks, which has a static map on-page and a templated link to a dynamic map using PoiMap2detail; special:whatlinkshere/template:PoiMap2detail finds a half-dozen or so other example pages.
The {{mapframe}} displays the same map (Kartographer) which is linked from the {{marker}}s. There's also a {{mapshape}} which attempts to import the city limits from Wikidata and grey out everything outside the line; that's awkward for some destinations (like Promontory Summit) where WV's article boundaries don't match the official city limits used by Wikipedia (for small places, our articles include suburbs and a fair chunk of surrounding countryside to have each end where the next place with an article starts, and to generate articles of reasonable length by grouping many small points together while splitting huge Manhattan-sized cities into districts).
The "staticmap=" parameter worked on the old poimap2 but is badly broken in Kartographer. For articles where we had access to both a static and dynamic map (such as Trans-Labrador Highway) {mapframe|staticmap-=...} would display the dynamic map and merely provide a clickable link to the static map. If the dynamic map couldn't be displayed (most likely, on a print/hard-copy version) the static map would automatically take its place. The switch to Kartographer broke this in such a way that the dynamic map appeared properly, but with the static map (at 1:1 scale and cropped to be the same width as the dynamic map) appeared directly under it - always. I don't believe this parameter, in its current state, to be useful.
To get a map centred on the article co-ordinates (instead of on a single marker) click the map icon at the upper-right corner of the page.
Static maps were updated rarely; only a few long-time, experienced users were doing this as it required manually editing the file off-line in Inkscape or a similar programme - see Wikivoyage:How to draw static maps. This was OK for country or other upper-level regional maps which change infrequently, but didn't work well for lower-level articles (such as individual city districts) where individual venues (restaurants, activities and attractions) come and go frequently. I'm not sure what the German version is doing; what information we have documented is in Wikivoyage:How to use dynamic maps but much of what's there was written for poimap2 and merely updated to try to address Kartographer. There used to be a Wikimedia Foundation maps team, but I think they've been disbanded and Kartographer isn't being actively improved at the moment. Handling of GPX tracks, for instance, differs between the two mapping products - in Kartographer, the {{GPX}} icon at the upper-right of the page downloads just POI's (not tracks), as the tracks are now GeoJSON. That's an issue for articles like Oregon Trail, where it might be useful to download the GPX track for the national historic trail (as designated by the National Park Service) and load it onto a GPS device before hitching the wagons and heading Donner Party-style into the sunset. K7L (talk) 15:11, 3 October 2018 (UTC)
Thank you very much for the explanation. It sounds like there's a lot of room for improvement with the current system, but also a lot of interacting parts. Follow-up questions: do the poimap2 links get much use, and, other than the "destinations" layer and trail export, and bugs with Kartographer, is there anything else that poimap2 is better at than Kartographer? (i.e. why haven't we "retired" poi2map?) ARR8 (talk) 02:06, 4 October 2018 (UTC)