LocalWiki Builds Out Pilot Communities, Updates Software

    by Philip Neustrom
    October 18, 2011

    Hey friends! It’s time for another LocalWiki update! What’s happened since our last update? Erg, a lot!


    The LocalWiki project is an ambitious effort to create community-owned, living information repositories that will provide much-needed context behind the people, places, and events that shape our communities. We’ve selected our very first few pilot communities.


    Folks in Denton, Texas, playing with the new LocalWiki software.

    So far, we’ve been working with folks in Denton, Texas; Sydney; and San Francisco. Do you (or did you) live in or near Sydney, Denton, or San Francisco? Shoot us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get you involved in the pilot buildout!

    Several more pilots are in the queue, and we’re looking to work with more folks now. We’ll be more aggressively reaching out to people who’ve contacted us, and our Kickstarter backers will soon get a chance to vote for the next set of pilot communities.


    Software stuff

    A bunch has been accomplished on the software front:

    • We made a slick diff scroll-through thing.
    • Implemented a dynamic, global overview map that lets you “dive” into different regions of the map.
    • Added generic files support.
    • Improved our file upload process.
    • Made a ton of editor fixes and tweaks.
    • Added the ability to use custom map base layers.
    • Refactored some code (“recent changes,” most notably).
    • Further improved copy/pasting in editor. This stuff is ridiculously complicated.
    • Initial version of spell-checking in editor.
    • Created custom maps for two pilots and in the process learned a metric ton about GIS and the open-source map stack.
    • Created a plugin system for the editor. Our first two plugins are “embed media” (videos, etc.) and “include page.”
    • Cleaned up the way edit conflicts and merging happen when editing pages.
    • Improved our deployment process.
    • Simplified install instructions a bit.
    • Conducted our first semi-formal usability test.
    • Fixed a bunch of too-boring-to-describe bugs.

    Overall, we’ve been improving functionality based on feedback from the initial pilots. Watching people interact with the software has been really helpful!

    We’re currently marching toward our next software milestone, due in October. Our primary focus between now and then is to improve the installation process, the documentation, and fix all technical issues that block the public launch of pilots.

    Programmer who wants to help?

    Are you a programmer-type? Want to help out? Check out our first little code overview screencast, then hop on over to our development site!

    Mike got hitched.

    On a more personal note, Mike recently married his girlfriend of 12 years!


    Philip & Mike

    A version of this post first appeared on LocalWiki’s blog.

    Tagged: base layers communities custom mapping denton GIS localwiki open source pilots programmers software sydney updates

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