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Friday, 8 February 2013

Wikivoyage - by travelers for travelers



Wikimedia Foundation's latest free online resource, a world-wide free online travel guide, Wikivoyage.org, was officially launched recently, on January 15th 2013. It currently features about 27,000 articles in English. Just like Wikipedia, it is collaboratively user edited.

Much of the content was pulled over from Wikitravel - a privately owned open-source travel guide based on the wiki model, following a legal battle [6],[7],[1]. Wikivoyage's format is inspired by Wikipedia, and the looks and feel are the same. While Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, Wikivoyage is traveller-focused. Articles in Wikivoyage are comprehensive references for travelers.

Travel guides on Wikivoyage are mostly arranged geographically. You generally won't find articles on attractions, hotels and restaurants, but you hopefully will find all that information and more in their destination guide articles for countries, cities, and towns.

Articles can cover different levels of geographic specificity, from continents to districts of a city. It also includes articles on travel-related topics, phrasebooks for travelers, and suggested itineraries.

For example, let us see the Udupi page. This page has the hierarchy as: Asia > South Asia > India > Southern India > Karnataka > Karavali > Udupi (district) > Udupi.
The page of the location "Udupi" contains contents or columns such as,
• Understand - Some information and significance of the place, its history, climate, etc.
• Get in – How to get to the place. Eg, By plane, by train, car, bus, etc.
• Get around - The means to go about the place, i.e., how you can possibly move around the place when you get there. For example, By bike, car, boat, etc.
• See - Things and must see places of interest in and around that place
• Do A variety of activities possible there, for example, outdoor activities possible there, etc.
• Buy - Information on things you can buy,
• Eat - Information on the food and delicacies of that place, hotels and restaurants, etc.
• Sleep - List of hotels, lodges, resorts and places you can stay.

And also, a respect column with valuable suggestions of your behaviour at the place. This column is really good, as it gives things like, for example, In the Udupi page respect column, it says, “Out of deference to the sacred nature of the site, do not consume drugs and alcohol in the area.”
And finally, a go next column, with a suggested nearby place worth visiting.
If you see the Karnataka page, or the district level page, it will show similar information on the state or district wise.

Most of the pages have similar content structure, and additional information about the place like - contact (options for contacting, like the internet cafes in that place, etc.), currency, scams, things to watch out for, etc.

Wikivoyage provides the Printable version of a page, the Download as PDF options, and the Book Creator feature, with which you can create a book containing wiki pages of your choice with an option to export the book in different formats, as in Wikipedia.

In short, this is a Wiki for travelling by the travelers, for the travelers. This could be a valuable travel planning tool.

External Links:
[1] Wikivoyage.org
[2] Hampi Page on Wikivoyage below.



External References and further reading:




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